By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes.
Macbeth Act 4, scene 1
There is an oft-told story of a clever fox who sold fat, juicy worms to a bird. The cost was only a feather. At the beginning, it wasn't difficult for the bird to find a loose, unimportant feather to give in payment. Over time, however, the desire to find worms for himself lessened. He eventually lost the keen knack of treading lightly upon the ground and cocking his head just right, in order to see and hear the slight movement which revealed the presence of a worm. Instead, he continued to pay the price to the fox. Eventually, the bird ended up looking molted, with only primary flying feathers remaining. Upon pulling out a particularly painful and necessary feather, the bird lost the ability to fly. Then, the fox proceeded to eat him.
There is a similar situation in our society today, and its name is pornography. It's a pernicious, nefarious activity with deadly consequences, offering simple pleasure with just a mouse click or two and existing under the guise of not really harming anyone.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.” Truly, sitting just under the surface of pornographic pleasure lie many deadly hooks and barbs waiting to ensnare those who dare to enter its temping allure. Below are some of the consequences exacted by those who delve into the fetid arena of pornography.
Loss of Self-esteem
The overall appraisal of self and the resulting feelings of worth are called self-esteem. Becoming involved in a degrading behavior that elicits secretive conduct and runs counter to one's moral compass causes self-confidence to wane. Low self-esteem will show its effects in multiple areas of life. A common symptom is depression and feelings of worthlessness.
Loss of Sensitivity to Lovely Things
Just as hard physical labor can cause calluses to form on the hands, a constant bombardment of pornographic material will create spiritual calluses. This is a result of selfishness. The ability to look upon innocence is dulled as the mind surrenders to more vulgar appetites.
Loss of Compassion for Others
Another direct result of pornography is the practice of thinking more of personal wants and desires than the needs of others, even loved ones. Engaging in this practice too long creates a hard personality wherein satisfying one's appetite is all important.
Loss of Patience
As self-esteem declines, an individual involved in pornography becomes overly sensitive to perceived criticism and is easily irritated. Attitudes take on a paranoid flavor and there is increasingly less time and concern for others. Even innocent comments made in jest by family members are met with a harsh over-reaction. This explosion of temper causes undeserved, hurt feelings for family and friends.
Loss of Trust
The great keystone of any relationship is trust. It has been rightly said that it is better to be trusted than to be loved. Someone who is trusted is loved, but it is sadly true that it is possible to love someone that can't be trusted. When a peruser of pornography is caught, it marks the destruction of confidence and reliance in that individual. From that point on, all actions become suspect. The process of re-establishing trust is a long and difficult task. It can be done, but it is significantly better to not destroy the confidence of a spouse and family members.
Loss of Family
The ultimate tragedy is the dissolution of the family. Sometimes the loss of trust, coupled with the other symptomatic responses to involvement with pornography, result in divorce and the end of the family. Also, viewing pornography naturally leads one to fantasizing about sexual dalliances, and what the mind thinks on, the body acts upon. How many people would play Russian roulette with a spouse or child? None that have any common sense! Yet, exposure to this evil is just as deadly and carries consequences which may affect future generations.
Is pornography really a victimless endeavor? It is not. The list of those injured is long. It is a modern day plague upon our society and especially upon families. The old saying of playing with fire doesn’t quite seem adequate. Perhaps it truly is more like playing Russian roulette, only with a fully loaded gun!
Just as the witches in Macbeth were able to see "something wicked this way comes," it's easy to see that the wicked vice consuming our society is pornography. The question often asked is, "What can those who are ensnared do to free themselves?" The road isn't easy, but it can be done, and I'll discuss a few thoughts on that in an upcoming article.
Until then …
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