The root words of “Pornography” means to “write down and then sell”. For “Prostitution” it’s to “stand before, to expose publicly”. Poverty means “to produce little”. Trafficking means “touch repeatedly, handle”. All these words and their root meaning have a very ‘physical only’ connotation. They are basically void of a spiritual meaning. They are about product, profit, property and production. This is not mere chance because as long as we talk about these things with physical language and words only we won’t be able to tackle the issues. How we talk about something shapes how we think about something. How we think about something shapes how we feel about something. How we feel about something shapes how we act. How we act shapes who we become.
Our minds recalls and brings to mind different images and pictures when we hear words like: Poverty, Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Pornography. If we close our eyes and if we empathize with victims of these aforementioned situations of brokenness we actually might begin to cry.
If we ourselves have been victims of abuse, addicted to porn, trapped in a cage or sold as a product by other human beings we re-member these events with much more vividness. We might even throw up. We might get a panic attack. We might fall back into patterns that were forced upon us.
Why is this so. Why are we able to “re-live” a reality that has past into history? I believe it is because our body, our mind and our spirit operates together, as a small “trinity”. It operates in the image of Who it was created by either we chose it or not. Despite our best efforts and attempts to separate the spiritual realm from the physical realm, these two sides of our person are still two sides of the same coin. They are intrinsically bound to each other independently of how much we try to split them apart and treat them as independent areas of our person. This is why we might begin to cry simply by remembering a certain event. Our body is intrinsically linked to our spirit. We are body, soul and spirit. A small trinity, three different aspects of the one person that is us.
U.N as well as the Human rights commission has declared that every person has the same value. U.N got this not from socialism but actually from Christianity because it is only Christianity that has the philosophical base and logical explanation for that idea. If we perceive the world with the secular/material or the sectarian/legalistic eye we realize quickly that every person is not at all of the same value because value is determined by production or contribution or position with these paradigms. We may say that everyone has the same value but by simply observing how reality is playing out in secular society or in sharia countries we see that this simply is not true. If you have wealth you have access to more rights, better protection, better lawyers and a better life all over. If you are born a man you have a better chance at life over all. The idea of equal value can not be incarnated in a world that understands itself as material only. Christ changed that paradigm when He became human. When the Spirit touched the physical.
Equal value of persons can only be made real if we accept the idea that we are equal because of who we are, not because of what we do or what we produce. Who are we? Physical manifestations of a spiritual reality that God has created out of love. We are equally loved that is why we have the same value. True value can only be determined by the One Who created the work, and we are the work of His hands. We are persons because we are loved. Not because we perform. We were nothing but became something because of His love. Love is the undergirding constitution of the reality we find ourselves in. We lost that awareness in the fall but we are able to meet and see God through the physical once again because God has reclaimed the work of His hands by revealing Himself in this work once more in a way we can comprehend, namely as Person. Jesus.
Now, what does all of this have to do with human trafficking, prostitution and pornography? Everything. Since we are able to see God and discover Him and His reality through the physical, by our senses, the devil twists our experience of the physical so that we won’t recognize God at work in the world. He tries to bend creation which is created good into something that will hinder us from seeing Gods fingerprints all over. He tries to turn Love into lust. Serving each other into consuming one another. Music into noise. Bodies into commodities. Therefor the devil constructs his chief attack around the two paradigms that forms the structure from where we perceive the world.
- Knowledge (our mind) “Do you want to be like God?” (Objective view of the world)
- Relationship (sexuality, our body) “The fruit is delicious” (Subjective experience of the world)
Once these two main sources of revelation are “out of tune” it becomes hard to see the spiritual reality that finds its expression in physical revelation. We start to see without seeing and hear without perceiving. Once we have “separated” the physical from the spiritual with our mind, trusting our own knowledge, we can easily fall into one of two ditches.
The first ditch is legalism and sectarianism that seeks to control the body with rules and laws (no freedom). The second ditch is secularism which claims that we can do whatever we want with the body because it won’t effect anything else because nothing except what we can see, feel and measure exists anyway (no boundaries). Once we loose the connection between the physical and the spiritual we are easy victims for the forces that operates in the spiritual realm because we don’t even believe that they are real!
For instance, we often believe that we are the authors of our thoughts. That might be true to some degree but our thoughts are triggered and stimulated by our surrounding and what our senses are picking up from the world around us. Ideas, thoughts, messages and information gets into our head all the time, often without discrimination. We often find ourselves to become like the people we surround us with don’t we? Addiction itself always starts with a thought. And the thought is triggered by either a memory or by our current context. Marketers knows this. CEOs knows this. Weight watchers, McDonalds, pimps, traffickers, pornography producers knows this. The devil knows this. They know that the mind has a very hard time resisting repetitive sensory stimuli. We have actual chemical reactions to visual imagery and colours. This is how we are created to bond and interact with the world. Eventually the mind gives in, even though it knows it’s not the best choice or even a good choice. Once the cigarette, the porn, the food, the violence, the purchase of sex or whatever addiction, is consumed the connection between the physical and the spiritual is done and the cycle reinforced. Next time we need more to get the same effect because what we incorporate in our body shapes who we become.
We used to think that the best way to avoid bad choices is to make the choice of not being in the environment they are being offered in. This becomes harder and harder today as we have instant access to lots of information. It’s almost impossible. We believe that the best way to avoid porn addiction is to avoid the context where you have access to porn. The best way to avoid sexual addiction is to avoid the circumstance where sex can happen. The best way to avoid addiction to food is to avoid exposure to the food you know are not good for you. And in some sense this is true but it is not only the physical environment we have to avoid, it is the spiritual environment. What does the spiritual environment that addiction can thrive in look like? It looks like not feeling good enough, loneliness, being disconnected, unloved, not being heard or seen, being abused, being disrespected, being cheated, feeling worthless, like nothing etc. It is only from a void, an emptiness, a lack that addiction can take hold.
Ever since the fall we crave the very thing we lost, that we can’t get on our own. Perfect love. To be connected to one another in Truth. The devil tempted us with the only thing we could not have, to be like God with the tactic of separation. To understand that we crave the perfect peace, love and harmony that we once had, lies at the foundation of understanding the nature of addiction. Our thirst is unquenchable, our greed is unsustainable, our soul is restless until it find peace and rest in God. It is His love we are searching for.
Addiction is so hard to break because it fails to recognize the spiritual reality (loneliness, separation) that caused it in the first place and makes the physical the only battle ground. If you are one of the many people that has tried to defeat addiction by saying with your mind “I will not do it again”, “This is the last time” and find yourself even worse off, you are not alone. This is the very nature of addiction. Addiction, or lets call it what it is, repeated broken actions separated from the good Reality from where they originally came, are hard to overcome because we are left with the belief that it is only by more actions, more work without faith, that we are able to defeat them. But, spiritual enemies can not be defeated if we only use physical tools. Addiction can only be defeated by addressing the very thought pattern and spiritual environment that it started in. We see this all the time in successful rehabilitation and restoration. It is when a person is able to recognize the cause (be it an abuser, one self, social circumstance etc) and forgive that cause that healing begins. It is at the moment of forgiveness that we recognize our inability to defeat our addiction by our own strength.
Remember, no one, no one is beyond redemption. No matter how far down the road of : “Who you are not created to be” you find yourself, you think beyond recognition, God loves you. All of you. He sees who you actually are, not what you have become. He sees beyond the hardened surface and under the filth. He sees the glorious potential and not the accumulated shame and guilt and He says: “I have and will always love you, no matter what you do.” It is a revolutionary message. It is hope, joy and peace. It is the message of love. And it is this message that we have been put here, right here to share, so that no one have to resort to behaviours in isolation they were not meant for.