Taking Back from Porn…Empathy

This is first in a series. When we use pornography we are deprived of many different valuable and essential emotions, concepts and abilities. I mean to name these and make the continued strong case for eradicating porn from our lives.

I begin with empathy because this is a profound emotion that is being restored to me by choosing to fully live for Christ. I really like this explanation of empathy, although there are several available.

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Wikipedia

I feel this is a lost art in general with the busyness of our lives, the demands on our time, and the disappearing amount of personal, intimate contact we have with other people. It’s difficult to empathize with someone fully and effectively though email, text and Facebook or other social media.

Pornography is particularly insidious when it comes to interpersonal relationships. When we become consumed by this sad and perverted imitation of reality, we actually lose the ability to put ourselves in the position of another and understand or experience their difficulty from a perspective not our own. The fact is, we can’t even feel the basic emotions that often will trigger tears of sadness or the joy of someones good fortune. I can remember my wife genuinely pouring her heart out to me on several occasions, she was hurting and in need of compassion and understanding. I was unable to give that to her. Porn had sapped every bit of empathy from my life. I hope to never ever be that man again; numb, detached and unmoved by her heart.

One of the miracles of faith is being quickened to see our shortcomings and failures, and through dedication, perseverance, heart change and help from others, we see an amazing metamorphosis take place. We can be transformed into something beautiful and totally unrecognizable from what was our past.

I would like to assert that it is possible for those who were once bound by porn to be some of the most altruistic among us. Free from their former encumbrances and equipped with a heart overflowing with empathy and compassion, they can be a dynamic force for facilitating the freedom of others.

We see perfect empathy and altruism in the story of the Good Samaritan. Helping someone in need with no intent to profit from them, in fact quite the opposite. To benefit another regardless of personal cost…

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Luke 10:33-35 (KJV)

Let empathy run rampant in the streets formerly populated by gross lust and unrelenting selfishness. May this be our goal as Christians and as former addicts, to be moved with deep compassion for others and motivated to powerful action!

Next up in the Taking Back from Porn series…Faith.

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