What is your definition of love? If you told your spouse that you love him/her and they asked what you meant, how would you answer the question? Our English language has one word for love and it is spelled L O V E. However, if you would look into the Greek language for the word love, you would discover that there are four different words that describe love. Each means love, but each has a different meaning for love.
The word AGAPE translates to the word LOVE in English. It is the kind of love that is unconditional. I choose to love you—not I love you if, or I love you because. This is the kind of love that God demonstrates toward the human being. He loves us even when we are unlovely (Romans 5:8). The guiding question in this kind of love is—“What can I give to this relationship?”
The word PHILEO also translates into the English word LOVE. The meaning of this word is different from that of the word AGAPE. This is a friendship kind of a love that puts conditions on the love. This love has to do with feelings and is guided by the question—“What’s in it for me?” It is good for the beginning of a relationship in that we find pleasure in someone’s company. We want to get to know this person and see where this relationship will take us. However, when it no longer satisfies me, I no longer pursue the relationship.
STERGOS is a Greek word for LOVE. You guessed it! It is a different kind of love. This love is a natural attraction. We might find a person who has that kind of a personality that draws us to like them. If you were to say, “I love that picture”, you would likely be using the word STERGOS in the Greek vocabulary.
EROS our final Greek word for LOVE, describes a love that is sensual. It focuses on a passion that seeks satisfaction. I have put this word in bold print for a reason. While all of man’s emotions require discipline, this is one of the emotions that will bring us to self-destruction if we do not control it properly. Another English word that might be used to convey the meaning of this term would be LUST. Let us be clear about this word—lust is not love.
Notice what the Bible teaches about lust. James 1:14-15 reads, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”(KJV) Eros is self-destructive when not restricted. Paul writes, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians KJV) Eros seeks to satisfy the flesh and its desires.
Pornography appeals to the Eros form of love among the human emotions. It thrives on the compelling sex drive that demands satisfaction. In reality, one could say that an individual falls in love with the pornographic stimuli that is used to bring about the arousal of this drive. While this statement sounds so ridiculous to the porn user, the fact is that a passion that seeks satisfaction by using porn focuses on the stimulating object. What is happening is the person has fallen in love with a fantasy. You might notice that we used the word “object” in connection with the stimuli. What happens in the use of porn is that a person who is used to stimulate the sexual desire becomes an object to satisfy the user’s need. This “person” may be in a photograph or a movie, but when the emotions of lust take over it attributes a personality to the object.
Some couples have sought after pornography in an effort to enhance their sexual relations. This is a huge mistake. When people use an object for stimulation, they will see their spouse as an object and center on themselves as they seek satisfaction. This is demeaning to the partner who is being viewed as an object to satisfy the partner’s need. The spouse of a porn user finds himself/herself struggling with self-esteem issues because they feel belittled. They become nothing more than an object to satisfy their spouse’s needs with no thoughts for their own needs. The spouse usually wrestles with the belief that he/she is not good enough to meet the needs of the partner.
While marriage is to be a need meeting relationship, the goal of marriage should be to meet my spouse’s needs rather than to marry for the sake of meeting my needs. Properly understood, the purity of an intimate sexual relationship is to be found in the context of marriage when one seeks to meet the spouse’s needs not simply to gratify one’s own needs.
Another problem that surfaces when using pornography is found in the fact that the satisfaction focuses on a fantasy. Fantasies do not satisfy. Each new fantasy needs to be more intense or more graphic. Eventually the fantasy moves the user into the real world and one finds it necessary to force his/her fantasy onto another. In a marriage situation, this might mean that a spouse is asked to compete with a fantasy by performing certain acts. Such acts often become demeaning to the spouse. Usually, this factor goes unnoticed by the porn addict who is focused only on his/her needs. The sexual relation becomes distasteful to the used partner rather than enhanced.
On the other hand, the person who is chasing the fantasy that never satisfies will eventually discover that the spouse can no longer satisfy the craving and the marriage will face new threats. It is not unlikely that the concept will lead to physical and sexual abuse and create victims in a marriage.
We used the term “porn addict” earlier. Another problem with the use of porn is that it becomes an addiction that can be as controlling as a drug addiction. The Scripture teaches. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew KJV)
Porn can be a master over the user to the point of being a controlling factor in one’s life. When applying the above Scripture text, we can see where the porn addict will get to the place that
he/she despises the biblical teaching and the guilt that it brings concerning this sin. After doing this for a while, one justifies his/her actions to the point that he/she can see no wrong in what is being done.
The term “mammon” in the above quote means “riches” or “wealth”. One of the difficulties that comes when trying to purge our nation of pornography is the fact that there is so much wealth to be made by the propagation of pornography that special interest groups discourage legislation designed to stop this destructive material from infiltrating our American society. Wealth and porn both become the other gods that control our American life style.
Two of the Ten Commandments are being violated here. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
Jesus teaches, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28b KJV) In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul describes what happens when a society refuses to acknowledge God as Creator and Lord. Romans reads, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.” While the context of this passage makes reference to the sin of homosexual activities as being wrong, it is also true that the use of porn causes people to dishonor their bodies by seeking to meet the needs of the sexual drive in such an unnatural way.
Another Scripture to consider would be James 4:7; “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The word “resist” when translated from the Greek means to “resist by taking an opposite stand.” If a person seeks to change his/her lifestyle, he/she should find a positive act that they could use to replace their negative one. Doing the opposite when the urge to sin comes.
A CARE NOTE
NEW DAY INC.
Rev. David C. Hammerle,
M.A., M.Ed., DAPA