Porn in unexpected places
I walked down the office carrying a pile of pornography. I'd wrapped it in two bags so my colleagues wouldn't see it, but I still worried. What if I tripped and broke my neck? After failing to resucitate me, the first thing people would discover was my pile of porn.
Thankfully, it wasn't as bad as it sounds, but is a salutary tale nonetheless.
It started on my ride to work. The subway under the A3 always collects litter - usually crisp packets, coke cans and the odd condom. Not cards. Not a full pack of playing cards. And certainly not pornographic cards. I glanced down as I wheeled the bike through the tunnel, wondering who'd dropped their playing cards, to be faced with umpteen nude women. I was slightly shocked, but late for work so kept on going.
I did try to keep going, I really did. I cycled half-way up the road. But I couldn't do it; I couldn't leave them. I thought about the nursery children who use that subway every day. I thought of the teens who'd be delighted to collect some free porn. And I had to go back.
Picking up the cards was horrible - they were so dirty (and I don't just mean the mud). I was amazed at my strong reaction. I felt sullied even touching them. (And worried that someone would see me and assume the cards were mine.) I wrapped them in two bags before I could even bear to put them in my bike panniers. And when I got to work, I carried them down the office and buried them as deeply as I could in the kitchen bin.
I'd like to claim I'm always that disgusted by porn, but like many of us, I've had to learn which books and magazines to avoid, and to be wary of late-night TV. But the tale of the playing cards has reminded me that we can be faced with it at unexpected times and places. And maybe that's when we especially need to be asking God to keep the promise he makes us in 1 Corinthians 10 v 13: "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
And maybe also get one of these two helpful new books - A man's greatest challenge and Purity is possible being released in mid-September.