The biggest lie I have heard among Christian men about their sexual indiscretions is that "it's not hurting anybody else." Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word or His heart. Your choices about sexuality affect everybody in your life, either for good or bad. How many of us have felt pain or sadness over Christian leaders, singers or speakers who went sexually astray? They damaged not only their lives but also the lives of their spouses, their children and, often, those they were sexually involved with.
I want to show you how your sex affects others. I believe within every man is a God-given disposition to protect. A man cannot stand by and allow an outsider to hurt anyone he truly loves. This is exemplified in the relationship between a man and his daughter.
He will protect her above all, and he will protect her intuitively and valiantly. He will be her hero. It's in all of us as men to be this for her.
Your daughters will be directly affected by your personal sex life. This effect can be for the good if you have sexual integrity. You and your wife need to have the appropriate conversations with her regarding her sexual development so that she can understand the changes taking place in her life and the boundaries that God has for her sexuality.
But if you are not keeping God's boundaries for your own sexuality, I doubt that these conversations will have much depth, integrity or conviction. Guilt over your private sex life with yourself or with others will prevent you from being an optimal father. For those who find themselves addicted to porn, these issues are of grave importance.
Your daughter might not see you check out that waitress or jogger in an inappropriate manner. She might never come across your secret porn stash. She might never see you spend hours upon hours every week flipping channels so you can ogle women.
She might never notice the lack of affection you give your wife because she is not like the pinup girl you've seen—even though she may be.
Wake up, Christian men! God Himself addressed the issue of our sexuality and the effects on our daughters in Hosea 4:10-14. "'Because they ... give themselves to prostitution ... a spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. ... Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery'" (NIV).
Hosea goes on to say that God will not punish the daughters because it's the men who have committed the sexual sin of prostitution (see v. 14). Back in Hosea's day, they didn't have Playboy, the Internet or chat rooms. They only had prostitutes.
But our modern-day sexual sins are of the same spirit. They suck the spiritual life and power right out of men. So many men I know personally did not reach their destiny in Christ because of engaging in this modern spirit of prostitution.
We need to rise up as New Testament saints and realize our sexuality is the issue. You don't get away with a secret addiction to Internet porn, self-sex or adultery. What you do with your sexuality can create havoc in your children's lives. I'll repeat it: You don't get away with sexual sin.
If you're struggling with sexual sin or addiction, get accountable. Start walking in God's truth in your sexuality. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for your daughter. If a sexual temptation comes toward you, picture your precious little daughter crying because you let her and her mother down. That picture is stronger.
I made a covenant with my God when I held my daughter as a baby not only to protect her with all my being and strength, but also never to shame her. I promised God that the spirit of adultery and divorce that goes up my family tree for as far as I can see stops here with me. In Christ, with accountability (see James 5:16), you can get and stay free.
I pray that you will see the damage your private actions can have on those you love most.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, and author of The Seven Love Agreements.