Back in the early 1980s, the term "cyberspace" was coined. The Greek prefix "cyber" denotes the centralized control of power, as in a country's government (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28) or a ship's pilot (cf. Acts 27:11; Revelation 18:17). The Internet, with its worldwide web of computer networks, epitomizes the centralization of information dissemination. From an on-line computer, we can read all the major newspapers of the world, balance our checkbooks, access the weather in China, and track the progress of a UPS package's delivery. We can even talk to friends and family from across the globe, communicating by email or instant messaging or real-time video conferencing. All of this f Tom the privacy of your own home.
Back in the early 1990s, the term "cybersex" was coined. Communication unbridled by geographic boundaries or public knowledge has given rise to sex-oriented conversations and exchanges. Chat rooms real-time on-line interactive discussion groups - have become havens for young and old alike. Anyone who can browse the web can find a chat room, type his or her way through a sexually explicit conversation, and experience cybersex. All of this from the privacy of your own home.
To some, digital sex via a computer keyboard may seem like a radical idea, but it is no less a sin than physical illicit sex and is certainly no less dangerous. From such a wonderful tool as the Internet has emerged another viscous weapon of the devil. Cybersex is sex of the mind by means of sexually explicit language, i.e., "dirty talk."
Even though the Bible may not specifically forbid cybersex, the attitude behind the vice clearly is. Jesus declares that to "[look] at a woman with lust for her" is a sin of the heart (Matthew 5:28). In cybersex, the physical body has not engaged in sexual activity, but the heart has (cf. Matthew 15:19). Meditating on sexually suggestive language may hardly be considered an act that is noble, pure, lovely, or admirable-by no means excellent or praiseworthy (cf. Philippians 4:8).
Young people particularly are susceptible to cybersex. The typical Internet-savvy teenager is constantly contacting his or her friends electronically. They may not always be discussing homework and the latest school news. Many are hanging out in chat rooms and talking about what they want to do sexually to each other, using graphic language that would shock the socks off their parents. Parents need to be aware of this danger and remember that accountability and parental monitoring of computer use gives teens reason to resist temptation. Make sure you check up on the History folder of their Internet browser that reveals all the places they have been to on the Internet. If you don't know how to view this information - ask someone! Make clear to your children they are not to delete that folder or its contents and that you do read it regularly. A child who is doing right will have no reason to fear your check of their history!
Yet having a real-time sexually explicit conversation can be a temptation for adults, too. Because it's completely anonymous, you can become anyone you want. A balding middle-aged man transforms himself into a bulked-up 30-year-old. An average-looking woman logs on as a nightclub stripper and draws an immediate on-line following. It works the other way around, too, though. An adult can temporarily turn into a 15-year-old on the prowl for a naive teenager. In May of 2002, a 13-year-old 6th grade girl linked up with 25-year-old pedophile through a chat room. They met at a mall and he assaulted and murdered her. (He was convicted this past March.)
It may be difficult for spouses to check up on each other, but if you find your husband is getting up in the middle of the night, spending odd amounts of time on the computer, you might want to also check his Internet History folder. Cybersex has wrecked havoc on many a marriage, devastating the vital trust that must exist between husband and wife and ravaging the intimacy that sustains it.
And don't think that your cybersex addiction won't turn into a real affair. Two years ago, a 27-year-old married man that I know turned his sexually explicit chat room conversations with a woman who lived over a thousand miles away into a rendezvous with adultery. Solomon well says "Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?" (Prov. 6:27). Spending time in Internet chat rooms talking more and more intimately with strangers is playing with fire. Christian brother or sister, don't even start such!
Although the Internet is a tremendous tool for good, its dark side has embedded itself into American culture. God's Word, timeless in its application, spanning the ages of cultural change and whimsical influences, clearly condemns cybersex when it says, "Abstain from sexual immorality!"
It is difficult not to respond to insults with bitter, biting words, but it must be done. "For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Pet. 2:20-23).
The Old Testament prophets, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Amos, and New Testament apostles also faced mean and demeaning slanders from the lips of those who sought to undermine their influence and destroy their hearts (Psa. 31; 57; 64; 1 Cor. 4:9-13; Jas. 5:10; 3 Jn. 9-11). It is worse if one's heart is so hurt that he fails to maintain his steadfastness than it is that his person is debased. Let the enemy rail and assail us as he pleases. Perhaps he will turn innocent, simple ones against us. He may restrict and lessen our work and close doors of opportunity to preach. (It appears that this is, in part, what Alexander the coppersmith did to Paul-2 Tim. 4:14-16). While that is bad, it is worse if he succeeds in causing us to give up and quit.
It is easy to speak in these terms when all is well. One can be bold and brave when there is no opposition, when no one is viciously ripping and tearing his soul. What do we say, and how do we act, when we are beset behind and before by the tart tongues and lying lips of those who would destroy us? Hear David's pleas and prayers.
"For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies' sake. Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed....Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous" (Psa. 31:13-18).
Conclusion: Job's friends falsely accused him. Jesus' own familiar friend cursed and denied him. Paul's co-laborers abandoned him. Yet, none of them surrendered; neither of them failed to remain faithful. They all withstood and endured and continued to do the will of God. Thus, no matter how painful are the boils of belligerent men, no matter how unfair and unjust are their accusations, you, too, can overcome, maintain your integrity, and be saved in heaven at last.