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The Growing Threat Of The Internet

A threat to the sanctity of marriages has arisen that I feel I must address, primarily because it has already taken such a terrible toll on Christian marriages within the Tampa area. I am speaking of an "addiction" to the Internet, particularly chat rooms, where some have gone to get emotional validation or attention from complete strangers. I am personally aware of two divorces by Christian couples in the Tampa area within the past year and know other marriages that are floundering because of this problem.

What seems to be a very innocent pastime is literally turning to adultery and causing neglect, dissention, and numerous problems in some homes with alarming frequency. As with many things in life, participating in chat rooms is not a sin within itself, but it can so easily lead to it when the user is looking for and/or finds an emotional connection to someone other than a spouse, family member, or fellow Christian. The problem is that the user allows himself/herself to be sucked into a relationship slowly and refuses to recognize he/she is sinking into an "addiction" until it is a monumental task to keep from going back to the computer. I use the term "addiction" only to describe the power of this desire. It is a cop-out to blame an addiction on genetics, circumstances, sickness, or others. The choice to continue with any "addiction", whether to alcohol, drugs or even something as simple as television, is a choice we make and we have the power to not give in to the "addiction", even if it requires help from God and others. That's not a popular statement in this culture at this time, but it is still the truth, no matter how unpopular it is.

While the individual who becomes "addicted" to chat rooms is responsible for his/her problem, many times the spouse is also guilty in contributing to this problem. Usually, they are not providing the emotional support and attention they should be. If you or your spouse is becoming attached or is already "addicted" to chat rooms, you need to evaluate your possible contribution to the problem and correct it. If you can't correct the problem together, seek out Christian counseling immediately. If you wait too long, the damage may be extensive, even to the point where one or more of your souls will be lost and your marriage and family destroyed.

Dwight Eppler