Breaking Free of the Matrix

Many people have seen the 1999 movie The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. It’s a really cool movie with all this action and cool special effects that most guys really love.  One of the great things about the movie is the theme of the “chosen one” or “messiah” coming to save the race—a theme common to lots of literature and movies because of it’s universal appeal to the human soul.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, or in case you have forgotten, the basic gist of the movie is that these humans think they are alive and carrying on their normal lives, but in reality, they are not actually living. They exist in cocoons where their bodies are used to generate energy to run the giant computer program that simulates their lives—the matrix. All they are doing is living a virtual life in their heads and the movie is about trying to break out of the matrix so they will live a real life, rather than the one generated in their minds by the computer.

So thinking about this movie, it dawned on me that we have men today that are living in the matrix where they are not living real lives; rather they are living a virtual life that is only pretend or imagined.  Understand that there are two major things a man desires: first, is to be a hero and succeed in life and second, to be sexually fulfilled.  I dare say that both these things are increasingly being lived out and experience by men only at a “virtual” level via video games and pornography on screens.

So rather than a guy being a real man, in essence we have created the matrix where instead of going out and creating a real life, succeeding and being a hero to his wife, children, family church and community, the man lives in a false reality.  In his matrix he is a hero on a screen and for 3, 4, 5, 6, hours or more a day he plays video games and shoots people and blows things up. He becomes a hero in a virtual sense. And make no mistake about it, he gets an endorphin rush from this because he is acting out on the desire to succeed in life.  Mind you, he doesn’t really do it but because he’s living in the matrix, it feels as if he is.

Then sexually, the guy looks at porn, fantasizes, and makes love to himself.  He is living in a virtual world of sexual fulfillment where women, who would never give him the time of day in the real world, meet every urge and desire he feels. He lives superficially and vicariously through the images on the screen where in his mind he has created the ultimate sex life. And just like with video games, he gets the physical sensations, hormonal release and buzz from his actions. He isn’t really being a lover, but again, because he’s living in the matrix, it feels as if he is.

This is, in fact what is happening in the male culture today. Men play hours of video games and satisfy themselves sexually via a screen then crawl into bed thinking they are heroes when they actually have been ignoring their wives and kids, and are performing on the job at a subpar level due to lack of sleep because they stayed up half the night playing Call of Duty. They don’t really succeed but are living with a false sense of validation that is actually destroying the male culture.

Now, in the movie you could take the “red pill” and it would show you reality. It woke you up and allowed you to break out of the matrix so you could truly live, not just preside in the fantasy of your mind. That is exactly what I—and other pastors like me want to try to do. We want men to see the truth, snap out of it and become real men instead of living like virtual men. We want them to be real heroes and real lovers rather than only being one in their own minds.

Sadly, the greatest loser in this matrix world we have created is the woman, because the man isn’t living like a real man, he’s only acting like one in his fantasy world. He won’t sacrifice for her or protect her; he won’t fight for her or truly be a lover to her. And just like in the movie, this matrix is incredibly effective because even when shown the truth, even when men know they can chose to have a real life or live the virtual one, many prefer to stay locked in the fantasy world.

To all you guys who are having a stroke because you think you have to sell your X-Box and PS3 gaming consoles, I am not against a guy playing video games here and there, but hours and hours of it where men replace the normal buzz of succeeding in life with the rush of conquering the next level or destroying the enemy on the screen is robbing them of their true manhood.  Just be sure you are not fulfilling your desire to succeed through the games.  You have a wife and family who are depending on you to be the hero off the screen.

Also let me stress that porn is never okay, anyone who has heard me speak knows that I am adamantly opposed to masturbation and pornography use in any way shape or form.  If you are using it at all, you need to stop. You need to be a real lover to your wife and stop trading the real woman in for the false, fantasy versions. Do both take work and effort? You better believe it. Reality is never as easy as pushing a button or living it on a screen, that’s why it takes a true man to live a true life, instead of the fictitious one he creates for himself.

We live in the virtual world that we have created in our society today and it’s time to get out. We need the Neo and Morpheus (the heroes of the movie) type men of God to get this message out to guys so they can see the truth, break out and break free.  We need real men who will become real heroes. It’s time to stop living in the fantasy world that porn and video games create.  It’s time to escape the matrix.

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21 Responses to “Breaking Free of the Matrix”

  1. Mr. Noir says:

    I fully agree with this apart from the end. Not to be funny here in any way shape or form, but looking at porn every now and again is okay IF you are single otherwise, I agree with you again.#

    I play video games fairly often too, but there are people out there which dedicate their lives to it. This is unhealthy, but I just want to point out that this probably makes up about 40% of the gamers there are in the world. The rest are just normal people who play video games at the end of the day for a little enjoyment.

    • RMendoza says:

      Mr. Noir, like P.Mark says, when is what Jesus said ever true? Jesus said if a man looks at woman with lust, he commits adultery, which means sin…since when is sin EVER ok? will God forgive you for it? yes…so does that mean we can do it? NO…so I have to respectfully disagree with you there, porn and it’s related activities are NEVER ok, regardless of the person’s marital status or any other factor.

    • SfC says:

      Mr. Noir,

      You make the same mistake that a lot of people make. People believe that pornography is okay when you are single because you have no other Biblical sexual outlet. But you underestimate the power of the Matrix that Mark is warning against, especially in the sexual realm.

      Put plain and simple, single people plug into the “Matrix” of sexual fulfillment via pornography, and then they never want to leave it when they get married. They train themselves to know sex only in the context of fulfilling their own sexual desires instead of taking joy and happiness in intimacy with another human being. And the thing is, scientific studies have shown that men who look at pornography have a chemical reaction in their brain that literally changes who they are. It’s like doing drugs or alcohol abuse, only worse because one sexual experience outside of marriage could be enough to get a guy hooked. Pornography and masturbation have the power to ruin your sex life before you even get to the wedding night.

      And unplugging from the Matrix is far more difficult that plugging in. Once a man plugs in, he begins to believe that the Matrix is the only place where he can find happiness and satisfaction. Thus, he will abandon his real life more and more because he does not need to fight in his real life; he can get his sense of value and purpose from the game.

      He also likes it because if a game goes bad, he can just turn off the computer or console. Games always have a reset button; life doesn’t really have a reset button. That is, we as Christians believe that Jesus can forgive you and begin to liberate you from the forces that have ensnared you, but even that is not a “reset button” per se; we can never just reload our lives at a place where we were doing better. What we need to be teaching is that Christ can redeem the time we have lost, but it starts when we break free of the Matrix that Agent Smith – i.e. the Enemy – has enslaved us with and start living a real life where we are serving God, loving our families and friends, and following God’s plan for our lives.

      Mark, keep preaching this!

    • welkam says:

      PORN IS NEVER OK as Mark Gungor said! When Mark helped me to realize what kind of impact porn makes i wanted to forgive everything i saw on the internet, but what has been seen can not be unseen.

  2. ELizabeth says:

    Pornography robs the true meaning of intimacy between a man and a woman and replaces it with superficial instant gratification. I believe anyone that watches it has an unmet need for true intimacy. Since men tend to remove emotions out of an equation more then women, they can easily transpose that need for intimacy by replacing it with a “physical” one.

    I recently completed some research on the subject of pornography and was quite alarmed at the number of suicides committed by the porn stars themselves. That in itself tells a heartbreaking story of the men and women that perform porn as a living. Porn stars themselves reach for this type of lifestyle because of the unworthiness they feel to begin with, can you imagine how it can defile and warp the mind of a once thriving man or woman? The shame and contempt these porn stars endure from leading this lifestyle destroys more than just their ability to remain in reality, it creates a false sense of security that even they know is a lie. The result is death…and for those that feel porno is foreplay or aid in arousal or passion..or even completely innocent hasn’t seen the tears of a porn stars mother, as she buries her child.

    Still think nothing is wrong with porn? Then encourage YOUR daughter or son to become a porn star…if the very of thought of someone watching your child perform sex disturbs you..then just remember your watching someone elses every time you hit play.

  3. Rick says:

    I deal in a business that always ask the question of what is the root cause. The question of which came first, the chicken or egg.(I know the chicken was created). Nonetheless I ask the question do men bear full responsibility in all situations???? No, I do not believe so. Scripture teaches us that the marriage bed is undefiled. If you listen to what many husbands complaints one of the primary ones is being unfulfilled sexually by his wife. Many wives place restrictions on frequency of sex and what they will do to please their husbands. This sin by wives creates a seed for husbands to either cheat or seek fulfillment in other ways i.e. porn. The bible teaches us that our bodies are not our own. Why does that get overlooked when it comes down to wives sexually fulfilling their husbands? Because society teaches otherwise. Secular society and unfortunately the church believes that we are in control of our lives and bodies so husbands have to play by the rules their wives create for them to be an outlet for sexual satisfaction. The writer makes a great point which is true but the pendulum swings both ways on this subject and no one in the church will stand up and speak out against the failings of women today.

    • Kalena says:

      Rick, thank you for your insights. and yes, when you point your finger there are three fingers pointing back at you. So this is a problem that men and women need to work together on.

      Speaking personally, Satan must be laughing his head off at the success of the feminist movement. Now that we women go to work, and come home to the real job of raising a family, keeping a home, and being a wife, who has energy for a sex life?

      I so agree with Mark when he says men need to learn to be lovers. We really want our men to pay attention to us. You guys are intelligent – find out your wife’s love language and then speak it!! and let me tell you, it will reap the benefits.
      Here are some hints:
      If her love language is
      acts of service – wash her car or do the dusting
      physical touch – give her a back or foot massage w/o expecting sex
      words of affirmation – tell her she is a good mom/cook/etc and you appreciate her
      written notes – you know how to do this one
      spending time – take her on a picnic, even if it’s in the backyard

    • Scott says:

      Rick has presented some very accurate, yet hidden, insights in today’s Christian church. Much like the divorce rate is very similar to the secular world’s rate, so is the way women present their husbands with a very difficult choice when they place their own rules upon whether they give themselves (and respect) their husbands. For many years I lived under circumstances where I desired to grow as a husband and learn what it was to love my wife, but I received no feedback at all. I was left to speculate why intimacy and respect were withheld from me. All this feedback went into a personal journal I was not allowed to view. Over time (10 years or so), I was tempted by another that gave me some simple recognition and respect for who I was and did not place what I now see as unreasonable expectations upon me. Yes, I crossed the line, but then admitted, repented, and sought forgiveness. It’s quite ironic that there is an article on Forgiveness Can Harm a Marriage in this month’s message from Laugh Your Way. Clearly, someone believes this and has not forgiven. Instead, things have persisted as they were with intimacy and companionship and respect withheld from me because I didn’t meet expectations. After some extensive counseling, there was fault on both sides rooted mainly in pride, but there was also some elements of emotional baggage from early in life that had crept into the marital dynamic from the beginning.

      Rick’s point is so very timely and poignant and I have yet to find a church, save, perhaps, for Mark Gungor’s, that is willing to tackle these sticky marital issues. Most area so caught up in lighting a missions fire into their church body that they forget the battle against the family fabric. They should be equally focused on marriage and parenting principles. I have even asked this of my home church to no avail. So, as it stands now, the choice remains rather limited…tolerate the unbiblical treatment from a spouse or separate and suffer the associated financial stresses and parental strains that will bring.

      I, for one, am weary of secular television and culture encouraging women to take a stand and “hold out” when “he” doesn’t say the right thing or read your mind (when all feedback and thoughts involving him go into private journals and not to his ears for life learning). I am equally wearly of the church being silent on this matter and unwilling to teach that our bodies belong to our spouse and we are not to withhold except, for a time, and upon mutual agreement, to pray and fast but then, come together again so neither will be tempted. This is clearly an “optional” guideline.

      I welcome rebuttals and other perspectives.

  4. Andrew says:

    “If you are using it at all, you need to stop. You need to be a real lover to your wife and stop trading the real woman in for the false, fantasy versions.”

    Wow … you make it sound so easy!

    I am a recovering porn addict, and 5 years after my decision to start fighting it, it still has an attraction to me that I have to fight off regularly. Meanwhile, my wife has no interest in sex, so I really have no outlet.

    God is laughing at me. “Here … I created you with this sex drive, but ohhhhhhh guess what? You can’t enjoy it … To bad … so sad … you porn-addicted loser!!”

    • Bob says:

      Andrew,
      Be encouraged for our Father seeks those who are willing to stand and do the right things for Life. Turn to Christ (The Word/Truth)who strengthens you each time you’re challenged. Call yourself that son of God/man/husband who stands pure(set free)by Christ. 100% of all that is of ‘you’ alone needs to be a ‘LIVING’ sacrafice unto Christ for your wife. Then, press down shaken together shall your wife give unto your humbleness, strength (character), grace, and especially endearing love a relationship and life overflowing only as a daughter of God was created to give her Godly husband. So stand,in faith, as even God stands for us. Stand not in ‘your’ strength, and do not weary for your Father will finish this work in you.

    • SfC says:

      Andrew,

      1) Yes, Mark is asking something that is not easy. It’s like a family member telling an alcoholic to stop drinking. The family member is asking a difficult thing, but that’s because of the nature of the addiction. And just because it’s hard does not make it impossible. And I can promise you: there is no magic bullet to combat any addiction. You will, on some level, be fighting with this for the rest of your life. Again, it’s just like an alcoholic: even if he (or she) does get free from alcoholism, he (or she) also knows that he probably can never take another drink of alcohol again because of the influence it has had on him in the past. Do not despair that it is difficult. God has asked each of us to live lives of self-control, and He enables us to do that which he expects of us if we lean on Him and learn to trust Him. When Mark says, “stop it,” he is not asking you to do something beyond your ability.

      2) If your wife is refusing to have sex with you, then you have a different problem. You need to sort out why she’s not having sex with you and, if necessary, get counseling, get your families involved in helping the two of you fight these battles, or separate (not divorce) from her until she agrees to be a wife to you.

      3) Your last paragraph disturbs me on some level because the God I know would never mock the struggles I am having. He does not love me less because I have struggled with being plugged into the Matrix of computer games in my life. I think you are listening to a different voice than God’s voice if you think that is what you are hearing.

      I heard a story of a man who was so sexually frustrated that he asked God, “God, why did you create me with this sex drive that I have to struggle so hard to control? It feels like I’m fighting a giant sumo wrestler!” And he heard God reply, “No, you are wrestling with a 5 foot, 110-pound weakling. The reason he is now a sumo is because you keep feeding him.” God created us with sex drives, and it’s inherently good to desire that level of connection with another human being. But we have twisted it and have allowed it to get out of control, especially in the U.S. There is a whole sermon that could go along with this, but the point is, you can and will start to win against the sumo wrestler when you learn to starve him and to feed your self-control.

      And don’t forget to pray throughout the whole process of combating your addiction. God is a source of strength and hope, and He does not give up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. Your God is with you, and He is mighty to save and redeem you of the chains that bind you.

      Good luck,

      Soldier for Christ

  5. daniel says:

    I am reading this website because I watched a session of laughing your way through marriage. It was organized by our church. My interest was to find out more about the topic that the dvd session “tales of two brains” offered.
    Reading this entry however i understand much better the concept that P Mark tries to introduce to us men.
    As simple as it comes there is a demand for men to be willing to give up some if not all of their free time
    The trick however as well is how todo it. Because even as i write this my willingness to drop my favourite time has not brought me the connection
    I am yearning for because i have to deal with a free will of my partner. I am not really sure whether the call for us men or rather me to spend more time with my wife for a simple reward as sex then definitly there is alot to be done.

  6. melanie says:

    Great post…we, as moms need to realize the problem starts
    with our young sons. Instead of keeping them occupied and
    quiet at the screen, they need to be in the great outdoors,
    experiencing and enjoying nature in every way imaginable.
    The addiction begins here. Let’s guide them even when these
    little boys think they know better!

    • Anthony says:

      Melanie,

      You bring up a great point. How many young boys are being raised to play video games and watch TV/movies just to keep them pacified? That causes many problems, only one of which is becoming addicted to the fantasy world. My wife practically hates the computer and television, and she is constantly telling me that the kids and I should not be watching so much TV or playing video games or playing on a computer. Up until this point I’ve always thought it was just because that’s how she grew up, without a computer or cable TV. I now see, even if she doesn’t, or at least hasn’t completely verbalized it, that she hates them so much because of the effect she has seen they have on ME, and the addictions I have battled with. And I grew up in a home where TV, movies, and computer were the primary means of entertainment. I have three children. I do NOT want to see them deal with the issues I have had to deal with. I’m tempted to get rid of the TV altogether. But at the very least I will begin to change my thinking on the amount of time my kids and I are in front of an electronic piece of equipment. Thank you for your insight.

  7. Tim says:

    Your views about leaving the matrix are certainly noble, but hardly realistic. The demands that women place on men in today’s world make escape necessary to keep our sanity. I am a widower who was married once for 31 years. Inspite of my best efforts of being faithful and doing my best, I was never able to meet my wife’s impossible standards. We are (were) both Christains, but that did not seem to make a difference. I am considering remarriage, but am hesitant unless I find someone who is happy with who I am and not going to try “upgrade” me to someone else. I welcome your reply.

    Another note…if women would realize that men need to be appreciated for what they do and not spend so much time complaining about how men are by nature, then men would not have a need to live in the matrix. The matrix is sometimes the only escape from nagging and unappreciated comments from ungrateful wives.

  8. John Walters says:

    I found it heartwarming and encouraging to read all the comments. I love that as brothers and sisters we can be honest with, and care about each other even in a forum like this one. Reading I am reminded that when my second marriage turned sour, I retreated to spending almost all my time on the computer playing games. I missed much of the years that my sons were growing up. Today my boys still play games many hours a day and their lives leave a lot to be desired. Even though they are in their late 20′s, neither is in a relationship. I will be having some serious discussions with them and we will find a way to combat this addiction. Thank you so much.

  9. Paul Coneff says:

    Satan is called the “father of lies.” Jesus said that the sinful behaviors come from our hearts, (John 8:44; Matt. 15:19). I am a Marriage and Family Therapist, but more important, Christ is our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). I have a prayer and discipleship ministry offering healing and freedom in Christ, including men with 20 and 30 years of addiction to pornography and masturbation.

    Our website has the testimony of one man who found freedom after 20 years of addiction. I am now discipling him so he is helping other men addicted to pornography experience victory and freedom in Christ. We ask the Lord to reveal the lies or negative beliefs behind the behavior of pornography…. and where Christ can identify with the rejection, worthlessness, being unwanted etc. that is often the “roots” of the sinful behavior of pornography, so we are addressing the sinful fruit, “Pornography,” and the root, the lies or negative beliefs driving porn….. and where Christ was temped as we were tempted in ALL WAYS, (Heb. 2:20; 17, 18; 4:15 etc.).

    As we pray for the Lord to reveal, release and replace the negative beliefs and behaviors, with the Lord breaking the sexual bonds, so HE can renew their hearts and minds, replacing these sins, lies and wounds with His peace and His purity, so they can “have the mind of Christ,” we are seeing more and more men walk in freedom.

    Because of Rick’s testimony in his life, (which is on our website), his wife shared with a friend in another ministry helping girls and women make Godly decisions about pregnancy, we are training their staff to help these girls, who have often been sexually abused.

    We can share how Christ died for theirs sins and their suffering, as the “Suffering Messiah.” Jesus fulfilled prophecy so He could identify with them, (Isaiah 53 & Luke 24:24 to the end of the chapter; Heb. 2:10, 18-18 etc.). How can Jesus’ identify with a girl who was sexually abused? He was:
    Stripped Naked
    Physically Violated
    Shamed and Humiliated
    Verbally and Mentally Abused
    By those in authority over Him, (religious authority no less. so He can identify with anyone abused or violated by a pastor, priest etc.)…

    Jesus embraced ALL of this on Calvary, so He could rise again to heal us and set us free, which was His mission statement in Luke 4:18…. offering us forgiveness for our sins and freedom from our broken hearts and addictions through His resurrection power.

    We also have a 3 month discipleship process, Pure Power For Men and Pure Passion For Women… We are seeing men set free from years of addiction in a matter of week prayer and discipleship sessions…but the goal is not freedom from the addiction, it is renewing their minds and hearts (Heb. 8:10; 10:16) so they are equipped and empowered to help other men gain freedom, so we are multiplying disciples for the kingdom of God’s grace and truth. There is hope, real hope, with real freedom available through the pure power of the cross. Paul Coneff: Director – Straight 2 the Heart Ministry

  10. Jeff says:

    Tim is absolutely on the money! If you don’t believe it, go to Dr. Laura’s website and read the letters from her followers. They will explain how they thought the man was the problem until they started treating him properly, and were amazed how he responded. Men are pretty easy to manipulate, and females are very good at doing it. It is almost impossible to change their irrational behavior. Read Tim’s statement about impossible demands again. That is exactly what they are. Impossible. In my “marriage”, nothing I ever do is right, and she is never wrong or unreasonable. I can see his hesitancy to try to find another wife. This country is full of “females”, real women are very scarce. A lot of men are driven to things beyond their normal behavior by an impossible situation. i don’t want to hear about how the man can make the marriage better just by giving in to their demands, IT DOES NOT WORK, I am living proof. I am just biding my time until my daughters are grown, and I can get away from the witch. I have very little optimism on finding another wife because of the fact that the female mind usually does not get more rational as it ages, just look at the goofy old women you see around you. When emotions make your decisions for you, I don’t have much use for you.

    • Scott says:

      Many, many married male believers are doing that very thing…biding their time until their children are grown.

      I will be very relieved to leave a toxic relationship of impossible expectations and a vacuum of appreciation for what I have contributed and provided. This is not sour grapes. It is what it is and I have come to accept it.

      I look forward to my remaining years in my wood shop, time with just my kids and I, and finding some way to serve the Lord in some capacity, but free from unreasonableness and living on the edge of a rainy rooftop.

    • Scott says:

      One additional point for Mark, who will probably remind me that I first need to “man up” and take the first steps to be the hero. I ask him what happens if you do time and time and time again and your efforts are rewarded with dissatisfaction and alienation?

      He needs to acknowledge that one person’s efforts does not a marriage make.

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