This week we welcome to the podcast parenting guru Tedd Tripp as our guest on the podcast. Dr. Tripp is the author of two bestselling books: Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Instructing a Child’s Heart. Dr. Tripp, I want to ask you, when you look around the church today and the condition of families, what do you think is, right now, the single greatest threat to the Christian home?
Well, I think there is a huge issue that must be confronted — the elephant in the room we are not talking about nearly enough. We have an awful lot of Christian men — husbands and fathers — who are addicted to porn. They go to the websites they shouldn’t go to. At their computer all day, they have periodic dalliances with porn, or maybe even dive wholesale into it.
The fact is, porn is deadening to their souls.
Porn’s Deadening Effect
You have guys showing up at church. The hymns are being projected on the screen. The family is singing. He is singing — or trying to sing. He wants to be drawn into this worship, but his soul is so dead because he has titillated himself all week. And now the things about God seem fairytale-ish and unreal to him. They are not compelling. And I think this is a huge issue confronting a lot of Christian families.
Sometimes wives know about it. Sometimes they don’t. A lot of times, wives don’t know. They simply can’t understand why this guy is so disconnected, so disjointed. Pornography feeds that whole private world where it’s is all about me. Like any addiction, it’s all about me.
Ensnared in Sin
I don’t like the language of alcoholism, and sometimes people speak of addictions as though they are medical conditions in order to remove the ethical and moral aspects of it. I think there is an interesting biblical take on addiction: “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin” (Proverbs 5:22). People make choices that lock them in and ensnare them, and they become bound in the cords of that sin. I think there are some wonderful online resources for getting help and counseling and so forth. But I think men need to face that problem head on and churches need to speak to that issue more clearly.
So, this sin disrupts a man from engaging God at church. Explain how this problem manifests inside the home?
Porn Destroys Spiritual Leadership
Well, we see it on various levels.
On one level, he feels hypocritical when he steps up as a spiritual leader in the home, obviously, because his loyalties are divided. And because of that, he is reluctant to step up and be a spiritual leader in the home. He feels he doesn’t have the right to speak. And even if his wife has no idea — because this goes on at work, and she never knows about it, or he does it secretively, and she doesn’t know — he is a reluctant and non-participating spiritual leader because he’s compromised by his porn addiction.
“Pornography is terribly destructive, and unfortunately, it is far more common than we are willing to acknowledge.”
Now if the wife knows about it, in some ways, it makes it worse — not worse that she knows, but worse because it increases that sense of impotence to speak truth into any situation of life. Not only is he a hypocrite, she knows he is a hypocrite, and his hypocrisy has been exposed.
I think there are implications for kids. I cannot tell you the number of times when I have been involved in counseling with families where a teenager discovered what dad’s been doing on the Internet or walked in on dad as he quickly slammed the computer shut. The kid knew what was going on, and it undermined his father’s spiritual leadership, obviously.
Pornography is terribly destructive, and unfortunately, I think it is just far more common than we are willing to acknowledge. In fact, I saw in a survey recently that claims porn addiction is a greater problem amongst Christian men than secular men.