Today in our society, we seem to be inundated with visual images of human sexuality. You see it everywhere: ads in the newspaper, scenes on television and movies with partial nudity, magazines, the internet, and on the street or at the beach with people wearing tight or skimpy enough clothing that screams: "Look at me!" It all generates roving eyes and roving minds. Is all this perfectly harmless, or does it have a potential impact that can harm us if left unchecked?
Today in our society, we seem to be inundated with visual images of human sexuality.
You see it everywhere: ads in the newspaper, scenes on television and movies with partial nudity, magazines, the internet, and on the street or at the beach with people wearing tight or skimpy enough clothing that screams: "Look at me!"
It all generates roving eyes and roving minds. Is all this perfectly harmless, or does it have a potential impact that can harm us if left unchecked?
Christ stated in Mathew 5:28: "But I say to you that whoever looks after a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Some might say: "So what's the harm? It doesn't hurt anybody. It is only in the mind." Many women would even say: "Women don't have that problem; it's a man's problem." And yet many women become steeped in romance novels, magazine articles and soap operas filled with implied or even explicit sex scenes.
Most men and women in society today would say, "What's the big deal? It doesn't hurt anybody."
Let's take a look at this subject of "Visual Immorality". Did the Creator know what He was talking about when He warned that looking at another in lust is harmful?
Beside the typical visual images of human sexuality already mentioned, there is also the new technological frontier of the Internet. Apparently, more than 60 percent of the Internet traffic, today, is pornography available from the World Wide Web.
So let's now answer the question "Why is visual immorality harmful, and how does it detract from our happiness?"
The constant impact of visual images of human sexuality from all directions, builds memory banks with continual comparison of the bodies of other females or males. The visually perfect body leads to continuing comparison throughout life. For those who have been continually stimulated with visual immorality, they soon find that their husband or wife doesn't have the perfect body.
Everyone has physical imperfections; no one has a perfect body: "Too heavy, too thin, too old, too this, too that." Both husbands and wives never measure up to the fantasized ideal. But when husband and wife have eyes only for each other, their sense of fulfillment in each other is that much greater.
A second problem with visual immorality, before or during marriage, is that it leads to "pseudo-sexual" experience in the mind. This type of experience produces a real physiological response: increase in pulse rate, blood pressure increase, a definite hormonal response, and a neuro-chemical response in the brain.
As people continue to give in to the visual and mental imagery, they in time become hooked on the "high" or physiochemical "rush" produced in the body and mind. In short, people turn inward, and they become emotionally cold. They lose the ability to have a warm, loving, physical and emotional relationship with their spouse. The strength of the bond in marriage is lost, and both husband and wife lose!
A third way that visual immorality can do lasting damage, and detract from our happiness, is its progressive nature. Almost inevitably, one level of visual immorality leads to another level. As a person fulfills one level of lust, they become used to the initial "rush" or "high" and in time need a greater level of stimulation just simply to maintain the same "high."
Initially, the level of visual immorality may be simply looking at others in revealing clothing. That thrill or lust only lasts so long, and then it is on to the next step: adult movies, adult magazines, adult bookstores and even adult nightclubs.
This progression often continues through various stages, which may include child pornography, bondage, violence and pain, prostitution, and eventually forcible crime such as rape and serial killing.
A skeptic might say: "Wait a minute, there is no way that a little visual immorality will lead that far in progression to criminal activity." But the truth is that every step of the way, even if it seems mild, is a progression that has the power to detract from a person's happiness and marriage.
Does the Creator know what He is talking about when He says that "looking after another in lust" is harmful? Absolutely! Every facet of God's way of life is for our own happiness and wellbeing.
If you would like to learn more about the way of life that was designed by the Creator to bring an abundance of joy and happiness into your life, please request our Bible Study Course. There is no cost or obligation.
This is Jeffrey Fall, with commentary for the Living Church of God.