April 2, 2014

For Men Only


Awhile ago I was asked to speak at a gathering of men. I left the crowd with a very unpopular conclusion: We are ineffective and broken people due to our addictions and compulsions, abdication of our responsibilities, and how we disrespect each other.


Addressing the men, I was pretty direct. Pornography and masturbation are destructive for married men and damaging to their relationships. It doesn't take rocket science or a degree in theology to understand this. If a man is busy pleasing himself and viewing other women in the process, certainly his own wife becomes less necessary and less attractive in his eyes. No real woman can compare to the airbrushed images found on line or in magazines. Additionally, very few wives are willing subjects to a game where every fantasy is fulfilled for her spouse while she disregards her own desires or dignity.


Instead of the focus on building a good and healthy relationship, many men take the easy way out instead of being truthful with their spouse about their needs. Preferring immediate pleasure all the while creating a prison of their own making, men become ensnared without intending to do so. No man I know wants to admit this, yet privately in my office, many have spoken of this trap they cannot seem to break free from. Ultimately this self destructive cycle creates hopelessness, bondage, and a sense of being of little worth.


In a case of "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?", many men begin to abdicate responsibilities at home. The current state of our communities verifies this to be true. There is an epidemic of single and divorced mothers with children, sometimes from multiple men, who have abandoned them. While many men hold firm to the commitments made at the marriage altar, just as many are choosing lives of selfishness, succumbing to the desire to remain teenagers forever. Affairs, addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, and many other things show that a life of self-centeredness and ambition is replacing the sacrifice needed for enduring marriages and healthy families. We must break free and change the cycle!


Here's the rub: Jesus promised freedom- but only to those who were willing to give up their lives for His purposes. This means serving the people around them by reflecting God heart and doing so from a heart that realizes its state of being lost without its creator as focus.


Marriage is the ultimate expression of God's love for his true followers. Jesus himself said he would never leave us or forsake us. In the book to the Ephesians in chapter five, the Apostle Paul clearly explains marriage is the real life expression of the bond between Jesus and those who are devoted to loving and pursuing Him. No wonder the American Christian church is weak! We look just like the world around us, mirroring patterns of selfishness, abuse, bondage and unforgiveness- especially in our marriages.


Is there hope? Of course. Yet the first step is admitting there is a problem. Then, what next? So I ask you, where will you go to get help? The God of the universe who made you and who knows how you are designed is waiting for you to call out to Him. And Jesus will never refuse those who call on His name.

6 comments:

Chaddy said...

Let me get this straight, if someone views pornography, then it means they are selfishly demeaning the sanctity of their relationship, and they don't really love their mate? (I say mate because women view pornography too, you know)

Just a thought, would you approve if the wife enjoyed viewing the pornography WITH her husband? Is it still selfish and self-serving then?

In all seriousness, speaking from experience, I grew up in a strongly religious household.. I heard many a lecture like the one you just submitted. You're heart is in the right place, but your facts are all mixed up.

Human sexuality is far more complicated than you grasp. Every couple has their own unique circumstances and biological make-ups and for you to place a-one-size-fits-all approach to the matter isn't helpful, in fact it's harmful.. Shaming people for their natural desires does not result in healthier, happier human beings, and unhappy human beings create unhappy human relationships, be they marriages or otherwise. It certainly didn't help me or my relationships. Not until I matured and learned more about the reality of human desire was I able to fully ditch the selfish attitude of trying to control my mates desires, and to let the person I love freely love me. Jealousy and insecurity are all things of the past for us. Your approach would never had worked for us as it is unrealistic, and not very practical for 99% of the human family.

And lastly, I have to ask, since you brought up Jesus and his designing of human sexuality, since he is all powerful, why not design humans to only have sexual attraction to their mate once they have bonded? Wouldn't that have made things easier for everybody? Why did Jesus design humans to be so horny all the time? What purpose would that serve?

Mark Taft said...

Chaddy, thanks for the feedback and the great questions. I promise I will respond- but it will have to be in the next few days. Long story, but I won;t forget, I promise.

David Logan said...

Mark, I appreciate your willingness to bring up this issue!

Chaddy, I'm pretty young and naive, but I think a person can still love their mate if they look at porn. It only shows that there is some problem in the relationship. To your last questions, I really don't know. God designed us in ways that we can still barely comprehend. I don't think that God wants us to understand everything In the universe. If we did, then would we really need God? Maybe the ability to be horny allows us to have greater pleasure in sex. I really don't know.

-David L

David Logan said...

Mark, I appreciate your willingness to bring up this issue!

Chaddy, I'm pretty young and naive, but I think a person can still love their mate if they look at porn. It only shows that there is some problem in the relationship. To your last questions, I really don't know. God designed us in ways that we can still barely comprehend. I don't think that God wants us to understand everything In the universe. If we did, then would we really need God? Maybe the ability to be horny allows us to have greater pleasure in sex. I really don't know.

-David L

Mark Taft said...

Hi Chaddy, I finally have some time, so I want to start by answering your comments. Thanks for your patience.

I'd like to start with your last paragraph as it raises the most important questions.

From all my years of studying the Bible and trying to live out the Christian life- and it is hard at times- I can see some common threads as I read.

1- God gives every man and woman the power of choice. He wants the people He created to love Him as a decision. He didn't create humans to be robotic or all the same.

2- He created us not only for our pleasure but that we would bring Him glory- meaning we would be used to reveal His nature, His goodness and all His qualities to other humans. And this includes the greatest gift He gave- the gift of Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice and the only perfect sacrifice for our sins. This sacrifice, if received from God, taken with thankfulness, and choosing to live life for Him, is the only way to eternal life in heaven. (Jesus said I am THE way THE truth, and THE life- no one comes to the Father any other way.) Jesus said, If you love me, you will obey what I command... love the LORD with all of you and love your neighbor.

The actions of love include displaying his character to our spouse. And I'd say- Especially in the bedroom! ;)

3- There is evil in the world. I believe the Bible shows that the devil is real, just as temptation is real. And his easiest work is when he gets folks to do things their ways instead of God's.

Now, with those thoughts in mind- if God decided that humans only had an attraction to their mate, there would be no choice involved and therefore no chance to show God's love to a spouse in difficult times. I wish he had designed us differently, but He did not. And perhaps the sin in the garden of Eden opened the door to all sorts of things God never intended.

My point in the masturbation discussion is not to bring shame, but it is to bring healing and wholeness. Too many couples have been ruined by the porn addiction. Even if the spouse puts up with it, Or engages in it.

Imagine taking the time and energy for porn and instead using it to build your relationship with your spouse. The end result is a healthier bond between the two, a more powerful union.

Viewing porn doesn't mean you don't love your mate- it means you make yourself the first priority over your spouse. Or if you are a follower of Jesus, it means you place your desires over His- that's common in many areas, by the way.

I get the horniness question too. :)

Sex is enjoyable and its designed to be. That is also God's heart. But even the best things become a problem when used in ways that God never intends.

Human sexuality is very complicated no doubt. ..

Mark Taft said...

Logan, Thanks for your comments as well. Being young doesn't mean you can't be wise! Just look at King Josiah.

You make an excellent point about having to understand everything about God and the universe. Too many people feel like they must know everything about Him before ether believe, but the problem is then God becomes subjected to our own limited human knowledge of who we think He is. As for me, I'd rather love and serve and believe in a God that is way bigger than me.

And I like your take on the horniness factor. :)