04 October 2005

Pornography and Divorce

I don’t know if this idea is new, or just new to me, but I’ve heard the following line of thinking several times in the recent past:


  1. Jesus says that looking at a woman with lust in your hearts is the same thing as adultery
  2. Jesus affirms that adultery is grounds for divorce.
  3. Since looking at porn would constitute “looking in lust”, pornography is grounds for divorce

(Let me start by saying that this is a conversation by, for, and about Christians. I don’t think it has much to do with the folks who don’t accept that moniker and the standards of behavior that go with it.)

This conclusion, that porn=divorce, is sloppy thinking and it has lead to more than one inappropriate divorce IHMO. Let’s just think this through.

Jesus' point was very clearly to indicate that legalism in the case of adultery (and murder) were misguided. He’s pointing to the fact that sin resides in our hearts, not in our outward actions. For instance, it is still a sin to have a girlfriend on the side even if you’re not sleeping with her. But Jesus is NOT making a legal equivalent between lust and adultery. And this is so clear – if he were making that connection what marriage could ever last? Who of us would not be guilty of capital murder?

I’m not suggesting that pornography isn’t a sin – I’m only saying that it doesn’t rise to the level that justifies a Christian divorce.

I think that I will revisit this subject in the future. This post is pretty brief and I think this is a subject worth exploring in more detail, and also worth better writing. :)

1 comment:

matt said...

Sexual sin is one of the most binding because of the 'passion' factor. No doubt a difficult issue for the majority of men who can fog up a mirror. I appreciate you taking the time to set out that Jesus is concerned with THE ATTITUDE OF YOUR HEART. Laws and legalism are just a line in the sand so you know when you cross it. Legalism has no eternal bearing. But your heart (essence of your spirit) is eternal, hence, Christ's concern.
--I am guilty of first degree murder. My dirty deeds killed a man name Jesus from Nazareth.