Recently, my family and I went to see The Sound of Freedom, a heart-wrenching movie about the realities of child trafficking. There is no doubt that this is happening worldwide and that children are suffering from this evil. Whether at home or abroad, the stories are horrendous.
Madison McQueen from Exodus Cry, a global, nonprofit, anti-trafficking organization reports that America is the top consumer of child porn and is one of the top countries in the world for sex trafficking. And per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry, bringing in an estimated $150 billion annually.
In numerous interviews with sex buyers, Exodus Cry found that every one of them began their porn consumption in childhood. Every one of them. Clearly, Rome is burning, and we’ve been fiddling for far too long.
The root word of consumption is, of course, consume. “To expend; use up. To purchase (goods or services) for direct use or ownership.” When read with the above statistics in mind, the implications are chilling. For behind every number is a name and a face.
How have we arrived here? How have children (and women and men) become objects to be consumed? What is the cause, and what is the cure?
Simply put, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. That “matter?” It’s life and death.
When a country can slaughter the innocent in what should be the safest place on earth, the womb, then life itself has been devalued. Add in the oversexualization of the human body, the crowning glory of God’s creation, and the door’s been opened for ills of many kinds. It ushers in a culture of death.
In this culture of death, human beings are seen as objects to be consumed. A means to an end. A commodity to be used and discarded. This can only be done when we remove their humanity; i.e., objectify them.
It is, I believe, virtually impossible to respect those whom we objectify. It cannot be done. When the heart is in this place, we consume with impunity, using all manner of self-justification: “I deserve this. My life is hard,” and on and on and on. Overtaken by our hellish appetites, we wake up one day and find we have lost our very souls.
The great lie of pornography is that, “The next one will do it. The next one will satisfy me, will slake the thirst that drives me.” Only it never does and never will, and it leaves you emptier than before. This is a certain kind of death, the effects of which ripple far past the user and into his or her family and other relationships.
“I realized that what I was looking for was an emotional connection.” That’s what one man told me. “And I was never going to find it through porn.”
The truth that he found exposed the lie. It was relationship he was craving, and when he found it, it healed so many things. He is not alone, for I know many men who have found freedom and peace where before they knew bondage and enslavement.
Addiction to anything, including pornography, is anti-relational. It destroys the very thing that can save us. Imbalance in any area of our lives will cause pain and dysfunction in other areas. When a hip is out of joint, the rest of the body must compensate, falling into unnatural patterns in order to accommodate the displaced hip. Put it back in its proper place, and the body finds ease and can assume its natural function. So it is with the heart.
We will never change until our appetites do. Since appetites spring from the heart, it is a change of heart that we need. No surgical repair will do; no stents or bypass operations. This requires a transplant. In other words, we need a brand-new heart.
The men I know who have found freedom, found it exactly like this. Sick and tired of their messes, they threw themselves on the mercy of God. At His feet, they found forgiveness, redemption, peace, joy, and hope. As their relationships with Him were restored, the darkness of death was lifted, and life and light came flooding in. Their hearts and minds were made new.
What a thrilling thing to witness! With new hearts and minds, their appetites, too, are new. Now, they don’t consume people, they see people. They love people. They honor people. They value people. In many cases, their human relationships have been strengthened and restored, and life (as death once did) ripples out, only far, far more.
There is yet hope for America. There is still hope for our families and homes. By casting ourselves on the extravagant mercies of God and knowing the joys of relationship restored, we can usher in a new culture of life—life, and light, and love, and peace.
May this be your desire and mine. And, as always, may God bless and help America.
You can hear America’s small, caffeinated mom every Saturday morning on 77 WABC with James Golden, aka Bo Snerdley.