“Unless I starve my eyes from sexual sin I’ll never see what’s truly beautiful again?I commit my eyes.” Steve Siler wrote those lyrics for a powerful new compilation CD for guys, Somebody’s Daughter: Confronting the Lies of Pornography.
What? Starve my eyes from something so deliciously fun and erotic — something nobody knows that I am thinking anyhow?! What’s the harm in looking?and replaying over and over?and fantasizing a little? It’s not like I’m DOING IT or anything. I’m a Christian. I need some outlet for my sexual energy!
Maybe you think pornography is harmless fun. If you do, Steve wants to show you the other side — the side you forget when you are enjoying the feel-good-for-the-moment kind of sensations.
Why did you put together a whole CD on pornography?
Steve: One night seven years ago, I got a call from a dear friend of mine who was completely at the end of his rope. Though he was a committed believer, married to a beautiful young woman and the father of two precious little girls, he was really struggling with pornography. After praying with him and offering myself as an accountability partner, I agreed to attend a sex addiction meeting with him. He and I wound up writing the song “Somebody’s Daughter” together right in the middle of that trial which is one of the reasons I believe it resonates with such power and truth.
“Why do I see only flesh and look right past her heart? I try to tell myself I can’t help what I feel — then I remember. She’s somebody’s daughter. Somebody’s child. Somebody’s pride and joy. Somebody loves her for who she is inside.” — Lyrics from Somebody’s Daughter
Through the course of the next couple of years I came across several men in the Christian music industry who were struggling with this issue — three of whom helped with the making of this CD. I realized then that this is a big problem in the church and not just in the culture. And even though I had never thought of pornography as a personal struggle, I began to examine my own behavior and I did not like what I found. In fact, using Ephesians 5:3 as the standard — “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality” — I was able to come up with a list of many ways I too had fallen short. While I had been an active, practicing Christian since I was 23, I had never set a godly standard for my sexual thought life or disciplined my eyes. As a result I looked at images in magazines and movies through the years that I should not have. I began to see how this stole energy and intimacy from my relationship with my wife.
The CD song, “Never Shake His Hand,” refers to never allowing yourself to entertain or play with temptation or evil, in this context pornography. Is it possible for a teen guy in our culture to stay away from it?
Steve: There is no doubt that young men in our culture are dealing with an unprecedented flow of accessible sexual material — even in the seemingly “safe” places. Commercials during football games, PG-13 movies, billboards, magazine ads?it’s everywhere. Current trends in girls’ fashions certainly don’t give guys a break either.
What’s a hot-blooded teenager with hormones raging through his body to do? First, he needs to make a commitment to God about the way he is going to live his life and also to make decisions about how to prevent temptation or what he will do when confronted with inappropriate sexual images before he sees them. Using the computer or TV in open areas of the home are decisions that will help. He needs to realize that every female on the planet is a precious creation of a Holy God who desires that she be treated with dignity — cherished and honored for who she is on the inside. He also needs to surround himself with friends and mentors who will reinforce good decisions and hold him accountable.
Think of it is this way. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if Jesus was sitting next to you — because He is.
Lastly, if you do slip up and “Shake His Hand,” remember that we serve a forgiving and redemptive God. You are a human being and human beings make mistakes. Come clean with God and with an accountability partner and move on. Don’t let guilt win out. The most important thing is to keep everything out in the light. That’s where the truth — and the freedom — is.
What’s so bad about a guy’s private thoughts? I mean, aren’t a few occasional images he looks at relatively harmless?
Steve: First of all, a guy needs to realize that pornography is not a victimless crime. Most of the women who star in porno films come from a background of sexual abuse, so the pornography is often a second victimization. He also needs to ask himself this question, “How would I feel if other men were looking at my mother, my sister, or my girlfriend (or my future wife) this dehumanizing way?”
Aside from that, pornography is addictive. It actually causes a chemical reaction in the brain similar to cocaine. And just like any drug, it is progressive. That means, the more you see, the more you need to see. It becomes a cycle that sucks you in and makes you enslaved to it. Furthermore, the images can “tattoo” into one’s brain in a way that makes them extremely difficult to erase. Many adult men have told me they still remember sexual images from their teenage years that they now wish they could forget.
I wish young men could see firsthand what many men just a few years down the road have lost in this battle — careers, marriages, relationships with their kids, and ironically, sexual performance. After being intimate with a non-responsive one-dimensional figure, a man often loses his ability to function in a sexually healthy way with a real live human being.
Worst of all, pornography creates separation from God. There is no way you can look at pornography on Saturday night and look God in the eye on Sunday morning. The guilt and the shame will not allow for the kind of closeness and intimacy with God that you were meant to experience. This same lack of intimacy with God will lead to painful and broken relationships with women down the road.
Please hear what I am saying. I see it all the time. Pornography is counterfeit. It does not deliver what it promises. It is hollow, and ruins the true sexual experience God intends for you to have within a committed, loving marriage relationship.
Did anything special inspire the song “All of Me?”
Steve: Yes. I was up late one night after my wife had gone to bed and I watched something on TV I knew I shouldn’t have. I was disgusted with myself and I was angry. The lyrics just poured out of me. In ten minutes it was done.
“All of me. I need to surrender all my favorite sins?let You in the places I have never let You in. I come clean. Lord take all of me.”
Why should a guy “come clean” with an accountability partner? Isn’t that kind of risky — what if he is rejected and shamed about his struggle?
Steve: The instant you shine the light of truth upon evil it scatters. By being open about his problem, a young man will find that the evil is disempowered. It can no longer hold him in bondage because the truth will set him free. He will then be opened up to become everything that God created him to be — which will be nothing short of an amazing adventure.
It takes courage for a person of any age to admit sin and failure. My hope would be that if you are a Christian guy struggling in this area and you go to a Christian friend whom you trust, you will be met with unconditional love, grace, and mercy, because that is how Jesus would respond. However, there is a possibility that you may meet with condemnation upon confessing this sin. Please don’t let that stop your progress! If this happens to you, contact us or one of the agencies listed on our topics page on the website. We will make sure to get you in touch with people who will love you and give you hope, encouragement, and the support you need to overcome.
Why should a teen guy “get out now?” What’s the hurry?
Steve: It may seem like an extreme example, but serial killer Ted Bundy, who came from a Christian home, said before he was executed that pornography was his undoing. Research has show that 89 percent of men in prison admitted to using pornography on the outside and 55 percent of prisoners locked up for sex crimes say that they performed acts on their victims that they saw in pornographic films.
Pornography is a killer. It kills marriages (that means future ones too). It kills families. It kills careers. And it even kills ministries. God wants to give young men the desires of their hearts. I would encourage young men to seek God and pursue the dreams He has called them to, and to pray daily for the discipline to rise above the hedonistic distractions of the world. The sooner guys make and commit to this choice, the more blessed their lives will be.
When we live our lives according to the guiding principles God has given us in scripture, things just work out better. It is no coincidence that since beginning a path of honesty and obedience in my own life seven years ago, my marriage is better than ever. The truest freedom comes in obedience to God, because God knows what’s best for us.
“I’m not tortured anymore. Got no secrets. I’ve come clean with the dark obsessions that haunted my life. Oh, I’m free — finally free from the pain and confusion. Made my way through the lies and delusion to this sweet release. I’m free.”
All lyrics taken from Somebody’s Daughter: Confronting the Lies of Pornography, Music for the Soul, Inc., 2005. Used by permission.
Copyright © 2006 Julie Ferwerda, Used with permission. Read more from Julie at julieferwerda.com
Currently residing with his family in Nashville, Tennessee, Steve Siler has had over 500 of his songs recorded in the Christian, pop, & country markets and has been nominated for four Dove Awards, winning the award in 2000 for Inspirational Song of the Year with “I Will Follow Christ.”