On a recent Sunday, Jamie preached from 2 Samuel 11–12 about great King David’s great fall. The sin of Eden repeated, recapitulated, as David sees, desires, and takes Bathsheba.
Now 3000 years removed from David’s rooftop, not only is the human heart exactly the same, but we each carry proverbial rooftops in our pockets. The internet is swarming with sexualised media—a market built on you seeing, desiring, and taking. Today 8% of emails, 25% of all search requests and 35% of all downloads on the internet involve porn.
But without going into more statistics about usage or addiction, data about forming neurological pathways, or horrors of those involved, let’s take a simple look at your experience with porn.
Whatever interaction you have had with porn as a Christian person I'm sure it hasn't been a helpful one. Whether you grieve its existence or actively pursue it, it has not contributed in any way to your love for the Lord, your intimacy of relationships, your contentment, or your holiness.
And for those who seek it, as with any sin, it promises to give but it only takes away. The archetypal sin of Eden was framed as fruit that was: good to eat, pleasing to the eye, desirable for gaining wisdom, and so easily attainable with seemingly no consequences.
It's worth being honest that no matter how enjoyable that fruit may have been, you could not accurately say that it was a good decision.
Then, as with all sins, or particularly this one, it is probably not something you immediately wanted to tell anyone about. The shame of sin drives Adam and Eve to hide, and our sin produces secrecy and dishonesty in us too.
David’s chief concern in 2 Samuel 11 is not with his sin, but it is that his sin will become known. He goes to extreme lengths to hide its consequences, manipulating, deceiving, and eventually even killing.
Sin, sexual sin, secret sexual sin drives us away from honest fellowship with brothers and sisters because we just don’t want to talk about it.
We can believe porn to be ‘consequence free’ only if the consequences are measured by people finding out, by its impact on how I’m perceived on a horizontal level with other people. But not only does porn offend and dishonour our heavenly Father; it also does damage to our relationships and our fellowship.
And the key danger here is that in all our secrecy we never come to a point of truly repenting. If we would rather conceal our sin for the sake of saving face, then we are just prioritising ‘self’ in a new way. When Jesus says that discipleship is worth losing a hand or an eye, I take it that our ‘Christian image’ is not immune to amputation either.
As a church of sinful people, we all struggle and fail in different ways. Our goal is not to simply seem holy to one another, but it is to be holy and to please the Lord.
Painful as it can be, we need a Christian friend like Nathan in 2 Samuel 12, someone to speak with openly and honestly about our failings.
Perhaps we each need to spend time with Psalm 51 this week, echoing David’s confession to the Lord. But equally, we may need to take a step to cut through the secrecy of sin and start a conversation with a friend about it.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”