Masturbation…what I know for sure
The inspiration for this post comes from a book I am reading entitled, every man’s battle. It is a Christian-based book that talks about sexual temptation in ways that are very direct and honest. But first I guess a good question would be to ask if people think masturbation is wrong.
For me, and I think many other men, I felt that masturbation was merely a way of releasing pent up energy. In practice, this meant that while I was younger and a virgin, I thought that masturbation was the best way to stay pure without actually “doing” it. And as I got older, this meant that if enough time elapsed, I was entitled to a session. However, there is a verse in the Bible, Matthew 5:28 that states,
But I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
For a long time, I rejected the logic of this scripture. I couldn’t understand how looking at someone with my eyes provided a direct connection to my heart. And why did looking lustfully become synonymous with adultery? That always seemed a little harsh to me. What’s worse is that my sessions didn’t involve me using my eyes to lust after a woman. For me that meant if I was intimate with someone, I had the mental video in my mind ready to go. Essentially, I tried to split hairs thinking that if I was not looking at porn or something and just recalling intimate memories, I was ok for the most part.
But if we revisit the scripture, it is clear how dangerous this thought process really is. I am sure most of you know of the concept of the mind’s eye, which is hard to explain but it is one’s ability to see things with your mind. Therefore, lusting after a woman you see on a pornographic website is no different from lusting after a woman you were intimate with from last month. Either way, we are committing adultery with that woman, which is wrong. And masturbation is really nothing more than using our eyes or our mind’s eye to lust after another woman.
And the beauty is that God created sex to be relational. What masturbation does is corrupt God’s ideal for love by making it secretive, selfish, and done in isolation. But I digress.
My original question was whether or not you think masturbation is wrong. I am really interested in this question because for me, this was an area of sin that I could tolerate. Now the Bible does not say, “Do not masturbate,” but I think the verse regarding adultery is proof enough. But if it is not, I point your direction to any of the following scriptures,
I Corinthians 6:13
There was an even more powerful example in the book that I think really frames it in the proper context. The authors state that we don’t have the “right” to look lustfully on another woman. Which makes sense because in the kingdom, we have the choice to do wrong, but this is very different from a right. The authors put it this way, “When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.” Does this framework make sense to you?
And lest you read this and think, “I will take care of this myself,” Proverbs 28:26 says, He who trusts in himself is a fool. I pray that you are not a fool and for encouragement, the Bible also says in James 5:16, Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. It is funny to me how when it comes to things like physical abuse, anger management, or financial mismanagement, we as Christians are quick to call for group interventions and seek assistance from those we trust. But when it comes to masturbation, too many of us think we can do it alone. Ask for help from someone that you trust, it will do wonders, I promise.
Nevertheless, I haven’t finished the book yet but as I learn more I will share with you. I hope that through this post, you find some encouragement in this area of your life. And though I didn’t address women specifically, I know that women deal with this issue as much as men do. So let’s have a frank discussion about this issue and ways to master it. I don’t want to see you having the strength of Samson only to sacrifice all of your potential due to lack of self-control due to sexual temptation. But let us follow men like Job who made a covenant with his eyes. Read about how that worked out for him in Job 31:9. With love,