The problem is huge and it causes great damages for individuals and teams in mission. For several reasons it is still not getting much attention.
It drains spiritual energy, can decrease the capacity for healthy relationships, and can potentially end the missionary´s career and marriage, concludes an article in Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ).
The human capacity for self-deceit is virtually unlimited, and nowhere is this truer than in the area of sexual temptation, writes Steve G. Edlin and Karen Ulrich in the EMQ-article that was published some years ago. A book published by Barna Research earlier this year highlights some of current porn-problems.
The porn crisis is not coming… it is here, states the text on the back page of the book that is titled The Porn Phenomenon. Christians are not unaffected. According to Barna Research 13 percent of practicing Christians seek out porn at least once a month. 1 in 5 youth pastors and 1 in 7 senior pastors use porn.
Missionaries and tentmakers are also tempted. In their EMQ-article Edlin and Ulrich claim that missionaries are “naïve” about the issues of sexual sin. The article-authors also fight the idea that pornography is a mostly a male problem.
Although it is true that fifty to sixty perent of the Christian men have visited a pornography website compared to thirty percent of women, the percentage for women is growing, writes Ulrich and Edlin. In their opinion many organizations address the pornography problems backwards.
They develop ways to deal with individuals who have a problem rather than think about prevention. A first step in a prevention strategy is education, state the two.
European mission leaders TMBriefs have talked to say that issues related to pornography has little focus in the preparation of the people they have sent to the mission field. This far they have not seen pornography as a big problem among their missionaries.
Barna Research has discovered that people´s attitude towards pornography is changing. According to Barna only one in 10 teens and on in 20 young adults say their friends think viewing pornography is wrong. Edlin and Ulrich believe that the pornography problem mostly affects younger people.
Sexual temptation may not seem to be a big problem for an older generation, but younger missionaries struggle with this issue and will need to talk about it with co-workers to gain strength, help, and support, they write.
The two authors have made the following list of things you can do to protect yourself from the temptation of internet pornography:
- Put the computer someplace where everyone can see what websites you visit
- Set a time limit for when you log off at night.
- Put filtering software on the computer that stops you from visiting pornographic websites.
- Subscribe to services that will send reports to others if you visit questionable websites.