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Failing to recognize that we live in relationships with sinners also means that we might put people in situations that are dangerous. I frequently talk to men who are addicted to pornography on the Internet. What strikes me most about these situations is how other people in their lives are surprised to learn they have this problem. These are men who spend hours and hours alone on the Internet, and yet no questions are asked. There is no accountability. Isn’t it understandable that a sinner in a room by himself with the ability to view pornography anonymously with the click of a button could give in to temptation? It is a growing problem, even in the church. Pastors are not immune from this temptation. Churches often feel they have a need for Internet access, but no one monitors its use. It is as if the church office has a pitfall in the middle of it, with no fences, barbed wire, or warning signs around it. Proverbs informs us about the enticement of the adulteress because of the power of seduction. Men go on business trips and stay in hotel rooms where, with a few clicks of the remote, they can view pornography with no record of it.

We can’t afford to be surprised by our sinfulness. We need to love our neighbors enough not to put them in positions where they will be sorely tempted. Wives need to have permission to say lovingly and respectfully, “You are spending a lot of time on the computer. Is this a temptation for you? How do you handle that?” A husband needs to be able to confess if it is a temptation, and have his activity monitored in some way, have his wife pray for him, and have some kind of accountability with other men. Part of being wise in relationships is understanding that people are sinners.

~Winston Smith in “Wisdom in Relationships,”
The Journal of Biblical Counseling • Volume 19 • Number 2 • Winter 2001

Photo: OBMonkey

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