2 Mar 2006

Guarding your eyes on the 'net

Dan 'not a wierd lemur' Phillips sometimes mentions Buffy the vampire Slayer. Not that he's watched it. *cough*

I'll make a confession here. I did go through a period of near obssession, watching the repeats on Sky One. Oh, how glad I am that we don't have cable telly anymore.
It is an astonishingly well made programme. It asks so much more of the viewer than so many serials churned out to fill schedules. It was a guilty pleasure that I had to completely remove myself from - and this is the reason why.

It took me back to places I just shouldn't go unless the Lord leads me there.

It made me feel all the excitement, uncertainty and pain of adolescence. Time and again, happiness was underscored as fleeting and just out of reach. The realities of death and loss are displayed unflinchingly, and evil seems much more tangible than goodness.

I would find myself crying afterwards, half thinking about a painful storyline, half thinking about moments in my life that were similar. It was self-harming on many levels, and just not good. Anything that consumes that much internal space and isn't Jesus, is way out of line.

However, I need to 'fess up some more. It wasn't just the empathy and pathos that tied me in knots. It was lust.

There's a vague understanding floating about that men are visual creatures, buttons pressed by what they take in through the eye-gate. It's one of the reasons women should be loving enough not to wear a bikini to church.
But there's a rather strange counter-assumption that women don't have so much of a struggle. I don't really know where that comes from, because I know I do.
The reason I bring this up is that Sky are promoting a new serial starring David Boreanaz, who was 'Angel'. Everytime I click onto a new aol screen, there's a good chance I'll be confronted with him gazing out at me like a young James Garner, and it's really not good.

So apart from asking for prayers for that, I'm going to ask a question. How do you deal with that? Do any of my female readers identify with what I'm saying here, or am I just flying out on a limb as usual? Do any of my male readers have handy tips to share that they teach you in Christian bloke training?


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

That men are far greater consumers of pornography does suggest that men tend to have a bigger problem in this area.

God Bless


Jennifer said...

I disagree with Matthew. I think women have as much or very near as much difficulty in this area as men do. Perhaps it is easier for men to view porn because it is more tolerated by society? However, it has been my experience that men are not viewing this alone all the time and many women view porn secretly.

Men and women obviously have different physical reactions to visual stimuli and maybe men are, again, more obvious about it.
I know that I must be careful when viewing anything with Viggo Mortensen or Joaquin Phoenix. For that matter, I must also be careful when viewing scantily women.

In a previous relationship, all intimacy revolved around viewing porn. Over time, the images became more graphic and bordered on violent. I got caught up in it as much as the man did and have struggled since to keep myself from it. The images pop up in my mind from time to time and it pains me that I let that in at all.
I have had to avoid both soft- and hard-core like the plague in order to have any level of victory over the desire to look at it. But every grocery store checkout line is dripping in seductively dressed men and women.

One thing my husband and I've done is cancel cable. TV feeds into and off of the visual and it is directed to both men and women. To make this a man-only issue denies the basic sexual drive that is present in both genders.
The myth that it's the men who pressure girls for sex, view porn, masturbate, etc. lends to the concept that women are inherently more holy or pure. That's rubbish.
We struggle. Thank you Libbie for bringing this up.

ThirstyDavid said...

Since you asked, here is my opinion:

Worry less about guarding your eyes, and more about the sanctification of your mind. Sure, you can cover your eyes and never see anything tempting, but I won't ride in a car with you. The fact is you will always be faced with tempting sights, and if your only solution is to run and hide, you will never have victory over your lust.

The challenge is to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12)" so that when you see something potentially tempting, you don't desire it. I get very weary of men complaining about immodest women causing them to stumble (I'm not excusing immodesty, but that's another issue). I've said before, to great objections, that seeing a woman nude should not, in fact does not, cause any Christian man to sin. "...[E]very man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust... (James 1)" When I sin, it is always because I want to, because I obey my own lust. That lust is what must be destroyed, and it can only be destryed by delighting in the Lord, who will then give me the desire of your heart (Psalm 37).

I'm not suuggesting that you seek out tempting sights in order to learn discipline. Of course there are places and things you should avoid, that serve no purpose but to feed your lust. But, while the world you live in is filled with potential temptations, the real problem is your sinful mind. Deal with that.

ThirstyDavid said...

Um, that should be "it can only be destroyed by delighting in the Lord, who will then give me the desire of my heart."

It would be rather odd if he have me the desire of your heart.

blestwithsons said...

I soooooo understand. More than I'm willing to expose on the world wide web actually. But if you would like to discuss offline - feel free to email me!

Miss Tresninos said...

I had to laugh just because I am a recovering Buff-a-holic. We loved the first two seasons. It really was a good show then. (We couldn't stand anything after that however.) But I thought you were going to talk about 'Giles.' I guess I'm a bit older than you. hehe.

As for advice...I like David's. It really is about your mind and heart being transformed.

And, no, you are not the only one who struggles with things like this. Everyone does. It's just that most of us aren't honest enough to admit it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a lurker from across the pond who's struggled w/ this, too. To put David's comments in simpler terms: Do avoid tempting things but also pray constantly that the Lord would change your feelings towards that which you are tempted. I had a big issue w/ Bruce Boxleitner on Babylon 5. I stopped watching and prayed about it until the feelings stopped. Eventually I was able to watch again but it took a while. For men, it's a lot harder to find a scantily-clad woman attractive if they think she looks sleazy instead of sexy.

Susan said...

It would also be odd if "he have me the desire of your heart [instead of 'gave']."
Just teasin' ya.
I read this entry cuz Libbie encouraged readers to go back and read whatcha wrote.
So I did.
And I'm glad for it.
I wonder, though, does that mean that one can truly reach a point where one wouldn't lust when seeing such a temptation (which obviously varies per individual)? I wonder if that can actually be. Of course, one would need to delight daily in the Lord. Can we do this - in our sinful state? Walking daily in the Spirit, yes. (I'm just thinking out loud here.)
The real question is, will we?
This have given me much food for thought. Thank you, Libbie and David.
ps - I think each of us on earth deals with lust in some form or another. David, you've given me food (meat) for thought and prayer, when as I avert my eyes, P must pray and seek Him, in addition to the averting.

Susan said...

Um, that would be
*I* must pray and seek Him.
(as opposed to P must pray...)
So much for correcting the typos of others. Must be that log in my eye.

MrsBaptist said...

Maybe I am just a little odd , I have never lusted over a television star or even when younger over a singer/pop group.
I have to agree though Television can eat away your time without you even batting a eyelid. Also what now is shown reflects the world today , lack of morality and accepting it as if it was normal.
I am looking forward to getting rid of the cable package we have.
My time then will be more focused on more important matters. Time management is the key for me.

Amy DeBurgh said...

Movies and books are manipulative and can show us only a side of the world we think we want to stay in forever. We are enraptured by "of all this I could have been mistress." And not enraptured by our husbands who don't answer us the first time because they are reading a theology book. Satan likes us pretending that pretend would satisfy us forever. And to him I say. Phil. 4:8

Amy DeBurgh

John said...

Can I open up your two year old thread?

I had no idea that women struggled with this.

In the checkout line, look at the gum and tictacs.


prayer and repentance are the only things I have really found to help. And trying to have my mind on spiritual things. Each morning I try to pray this: "Let me view all women as sisters and mothers in Christ."

Shatterfocus said...

Hi! So glad to hear I'm not the only one. Actually, I know that I'm definitely not the only one. I have had a huge struggle with this.

I just asked God, prayed, confessed, and repented. Now, it wasn't as easy as all that. I still had to remove a lot of things from my life- certain movies, etc. These images get stuck in my head. They never leave.

I pray you'll find freedom from this, and I hope you'll pray for me too!