By Peter Mahaffey
It has been proven that lots of pornography viewing actually rewires the human brain. Pornography corrupts and destroys our minds. Our minds are gifts, given to us by God to think and to ponder great and glorious things. We were given our minds to dream and to behold beauty. Sadly, for many young men and women our capacity to imagine, dream and think great thoughts have become diluted due to porn consumption. Our minds are full of porn sewage and they desperately need a washing. I know that many have lost what it was like to be a child because of pornography. Kids have an ability to imagine and dream, and they find things in life so exciting because everything is so new. For many of us that childlikeness was taken from us far to early because of our exposure to porn at an early age, but I want you to know there is hope. There is still the possibility to have your mind washed and renewed. To dream and be moved by beholding beauty can still be yours.
It seems pretty rationale, that if giving our minds to corrupt and perverted things like pornography leads to corruption then it’s pretty obvious that if we give our minds to beholding whole, beautiful and good things our minds will experience wholeness and will function the way they were always meant to function; to think upon the beautiful and the good. There are many avenues in which this can happen but none has been more helpful for me then reading books, good books. Now, I know some of you will immediately say, “I don’t like reading books so this won’t help me”, but hear me out. I grew up hating to read. Never read a book in my life until about grade 12. But if there is one thing I have learned about anything in life it is when you persevere in something, that something overtime will become far easier and more delightful. Reading has always been a chore for me most of my life but by the help of my wife in encouraging me to read books I now have a great hunger and delight for it. This might surprise you, but one of the best things I have done in my fight to have my mind washed is not reading intense theological books (although I would never discourage that), but it has been reading fiction books with great stories that relate so much to our human experience. Stories of great adventures filled with all different kinds of emotions: joy, sadness, laughter, tears, despair and hope, and of course the triumph of good over evil (We always love that). These books have allowed me to dream again. What porn sought to take from me by corrupting my mind and numbing my soul to beauty, books have moved my soul to feel again as I ponder all the beautiful things God has allowed us to experience as humans.
I don’t pretend to be a book expert in anyway. In fact, I know very little about books, but here are a few books that I have read over the last two years that have helped me to dream again. Feel free to take a shot at some of them, and if you don’t like reading, read small parts at a time every day, and you will be amazed by the amount of reading you can get done and how much you will begin to enjoy it. So here are some books:
Five books that allow me to dream:
The Hobbit by Tolkien: If you want a book with adventure this is one of them. Follow Mr. Baggins and the dwarves as they journey to reach the misty mountain to reclaim the treasure that belonged to the dwarves, yet is guarded now by a great dragon.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien: They are long, but they are so good if you’re willing to persevere. The conflict between good and evil, light and darkness and many great adventures and battles. If I can read these books, trust me you can too!
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: This is probably the fastest I’ve ever read a book. I could barely put it down. This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, an olympian who was stranded at sea due to the war and then was captured by the Japanese army. This is a story of survival and perseverance. It captures the horrible evils that humanity can do to each other when anarchy rules in society, but it is also a story of amazing grace where Louis experiences true forgiveness. Get this book, and read it!
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis: The best! That’s all I can say about this book series. A story of great adventures in the magical world of Narnia. You will be introduced to all different kinds of creatures both good and evil, but ultimately you will encounter Aslan the great lion who is the conquerer of all evil. You will marvel at his character, his grace, yet also his power. After all he is not a tame lion but he is good!
Last but not least the Bible: The story that trumps all stories. All the other stories are a mere reflection of this story. This is the ultimate book of the triumph of good over evil. The triumph of God over the evil one; over sin and death. This is about a king, but not just any king. This King is a king who accomplishes the redemption and freedom for a people who did not deserve it. This King frees his enemies from slavery and makes them heirs with him. He conquers evil, death, and his enemies by the most unusual way, but I don’t want to give to much of the story away, so I encourage you to pick up a Bible and read it and be blown away by a God that is beyond your comprehension! Oh and this story is true by the way.
Other mentions: I have found christian biographies also encouraging. Anything on the life of Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Amy Carmichael and many others are always worth your time.
Our challenge to you today, is to pick one book, a good book and read it in the next 4 weeks. Finish it. Give yourself the time to sit and read and think and dream.