In an instant I knew that I had passed the same horrific legacy of horrible images on to my son that my unchurched and unsaved Dad had to passed to me.
The following is a blog submitted by one of our One Million Dads posted in anonymity to protect the principals.
It’s interesting that Christians sense the inherent danger in things like the Ouija board game but seem relatively clueless about the same dangers when it comes to pornography.
As a Dad I hate to have to confess my own naïveté.
I grew up in the late sixties and seventies. That means I was around for the birth and growth of the sexual revolution. I was a youngster and saw it emerge from teenage eyes. My Dad was fresh out of the Navy, in his early thirties, and more than happy to participate in the revolution. We weren’t a Christian family and so there was little inhibition to any of it.
It wasn’t just my Dad. I saw it pretty much everywhere. We lived next door to a man who had the interior of his outdoor shop literally covered in Playboy centerfolds. No curtains or blinds. Pornography was celebrated. It was considered liberating, progressive, and enlightening. And just like the issue of homosexuality today, people were clueless to the danger and potential damage.
The raunchier and filthier seemed to be the most popular. Images were burned into my mind that still occasionally comes into view today. Yes, I am a born again evangelical Christian today but being saved did not wipe my memory clean. So there is still fresh shame and the need for repentance as a pornographic image suddenly appears and before I even realize it, has been turned over and walked around for a minute or two. I have prayed and prayed that God would miraculously wipe every pornographic image from my mind that I saw as a teenager. But it has remained a thorn in my side (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) all my life.
Knowing all this I find it inexplicable that I did not do more to protect my precious son from this. All my kids were born into a Christian home. They were brought up in church. Sunday School, Bible studies, youth groups and trips. Like a fool I thought that if I didn’t bring it into my house like my Dad did it would not be an issue.
Yet, gnawing at the back of my mind for years (still small voice?) was the whole internet thing. Everyone in my house has a laptop, an ipad, and/or a smartphone. How could I be so stupid and naïve? I walked (unannounced) into my teenage son’s room one day and saw him quickly push the button to get out of an app. I told him to hand the phone over and pulled up the browsing history from Safari. My heart fell. I can’t remember all that I said to my son but I know that when I left the room I cried. My young son’s innocence was gone. He’d seen things that were every bit as vulgar and indecent as I had.
In an instant I knew that I had passed the same horrific legacy of horrible images on to my son that my unchurched and unsaved Dad had to passed to me. Oh sure, there is indeed forgiveness and newness when washed in the blood of Jesus. But there is no way to control when those images will suddenly surface. You cannot get toothpaste back into the tube once its out and you cannot un-see pornographic images once viewed.
Will the puppet-master of sin suddenly dangle them in front of my son during a boring math class one day when it will be so easy to think and think and think on it? Or worse, will one of those vivid images suddenly manifest itself when my son goes out on a date or even on his wedding night?
Please, oh please, Dads…protect your children. If you are going to have computers and smart phones and laptops and desktops and tablets and ipads and on and on…please talk to your kids about what is trying to break into their lives and then protect them from it. Don’t think that going to church is all you need to do. Don’t think that being a good husband to your wife is all the defense your kids need from pornography. You wouldn’t walk out of the room if your kids were playing with a Ouija board. Unfettered and unmonitored access to t.v. and the internet is the same thing. An open invitation to dark spirits to show your children images that cannot ever be un-seen.
Have the sex talk. Then take it a step further and spend the money to lock down every device in your house from porn. It doesn’t mean that they will never be exposed to it. You cannot control what their friends might do. But you will save yourself the guilt that your child was initially exposed to horrific images because you didn’t even try to protect him/her. To this day I wonder what my Dad was thinking in being so cavalier about me seeing pornography. Now I wonder if my son will wonder the same thing when he is my age. If you don’t think you need to because you are a good man leading his family in righteousness…then you are just as naïve as me. And I’m a pastor.