Last updated on September 25, 2020
Dear Mr. Jeff,
I just want to write to you because I feel like you’d hear me out.
Well, I’m a 16-year-old boy and I consider myself close to Jesus. I gave my life to Christ at 15 and the journey has been amazing, with a couple of bumps along the way.
My question for you is: I don’t consider myself a sexual person and I don’t like being labeled like that. But why, do you think, every time a thought of sex or anything generally involving sex I start feeling sad as if I did something wrong? In all honesty, I feel plain dirty.
Now I did stuff with pornography for about two years, but thanks to Jesus I’m free of that. I thought I would mention that so you would know a little about my past.
Lastly, I have a lot of friends who are still into pornography. They talk about it sometimes and when I hear it’s like a nightmare. My past begins to be brought up in my head and I feel dirty again like garbage. I hate it! It’s honestly depressing, but I don’t know what to do.
Spiritually I have been improving so much. I even received titles at school that I’m not worthy to bear, like “disciple” or “second Jesus,” all putting even more pressure on me to become more “perfect,” so to say. I pray that we can communicate via email instead of your wonderful website. Thank you for listening to me God bless you.
“Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all” (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18).
Many people react to sin by going to extremes. One group will give up and totally immerse themselves in wickedness. “If I’m going to be bad, I might as well go all out.” As a result, they destroy themselves with their sins.
But the other group goes to the other extreme. They want to be righteous, but they define for themselves a “righteousness” of their own making that is beyond what God defined. As a result, they too destroy themselves because they set a standard for themselves that is not obtainable. The Jews were guilty of this. “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3).
You did this. In rejecting pornography, which is wrong (I Thessalonians 4:3-5), you went to an extreme. You now deny that you are a sexual being. When you are faced with the fact that your body does respond to sexual thoughts, right or wrong, you feel dirty. But that uncleanness is not based on what God said, you made up that rule for yourself.
God made your body. It gets hungry because you need to eat. It gets thirsty because you need to drink. It desires sex because God told man, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). If you don’t want to get married, that is fine. God gives you that choice. “I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress–that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you” (I Corinthians 7:26-28). But what you don’t have a choice over is the fact that your body desires sex, that it produces semen, and that you have to ejaculate once in a while. This doesn’t make you sinful. It is simply a fact that you are male and it is how God made your body work.
When you set impossible rules for yourself, it destroys you because you lie to yourself and call yourself a sinner when you are not. You can’t achieve your own standards, so you get depressed, never realizing that you aren’t living by God’s standards. Instead of the life of joy that God wants for you, you make yourself miserable.
God doesn’t ask for perfection of any man. That is an impossible standard. “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Instead, He asks you to admit when you sin (I John 1:8-9) and change (II Corinthians 7:10-11).