If Wednesday is the hump day of the week, then Lust is the hump sin of the series — okay, bad joke. You can check out the rest of the Deadly Seven, by clicking here for the list.
Moving right along now, Lust. Most of us have a pretty good idea what Lust is. I mean, we see it talked about a lot, and in our society that is a sexual society, it’s hard not to know it.
What is Lust?
The dictionary defines lust as:
Very strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust forher had returned.
• [ in sing. ] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.
Other Forms of Lust
Using Someone To Get What We Want. Yes, lust is usually defined in the sexual definition, but even in the basic definition of lust we can use someone to get what we want. It may not be sexual, however, we sometimes make friends with people because of what they can offer us, not what we both can bring to the table. At this point, we don’t see them as a person but as an object to get what we want.
Lust In Marriages
Lust or Desire? I think in our society we are very confused with the idea of lust and desire. Lust, satisfies itself. There is no greater meaning for it, since it starts and ends with itself. So lust can enter a marriage if all we think about is what our spouse can do for us. If our thoughts primarily focus on our own pleasure then it is indeed lust. Desire on the other hand is a very strong feeling of wanting someone or for something to happen. It doesn’t say or mean that it will happen. We can desire our spouses, after all, that is what keeps love going: to want them in all ways. We don’t want them or love them because there is something we can get from them, but we love them for who they are, with all their faults.
Visual Stimulation. This could be a taboo subject, especially in our society, but there is a problem with visual stimulation. Actually, it’s all around us. You can just turn on any show on prime time, and there is always one of those scenes in there. They sprinkle it in almost every movie. The problem that visual stimulation poses is that is usually seen as “harmless”, and that “no one is getting hurt.” You’re not actually with the other person you’re thinking about, so it should be okay. That is where the problem starts, it always with the thoughts.
A great example for this would be ABC’s Scandal. In one episode, Mellie tells Fitz that if he see’s Olivia tell her. She doesn’t want to be surprised about his sudden attentions because he would like to use her to satisfy his personal cravings. The idea of Fitz using Mellie in that way because he can’t really get who he wants at the time and instead turns to her for his gratification. Physically, he’s there with his wife, but mentally, he’s with Olivia. As you can imagine, that defiles the marriage bed, and the person whom you are with. They then become the object to satisfy your desires.
Another problem with visual stimulation, is that for those who are dealing with particular sins (like sins of the flesh), this is usually a thrice issue. One, the person is looking at unholy shows or movies, the person could start lusting after the person who they see on the screen (or a person who they know in real life), then they act on that desire and ultimately commits sins of the flesh.
Lust in Society (Non Sexual)
Not too long ago, Apple came out with a commercial that discusses the iWatch. Now, the first time you see this commercial (or infomercial) there is slow movements, such as slow turns, the light hitting the curves off of the body of the watch, and the deep timbre voice discussing what Apple wanted to do with the idea of the watch. As a commercial, it’s a very good marketing strategy, however, we can see how far we’ve come when we’ve applied applying sexual advertisements to objects.
Lust Gone Wrong
Two examples that can show us how lust leads us to other kinds are sins are:
(1) Mary Spears was killed because she refused to give a man her number.
(2) Dana writes about her experience after her rape, and how she also dealt with lust, not only as a victim but also as a means of getting back at her attacker.
I love listening to Fr. Ripperger on YouTube, and he had a long (20mins) talk about this topic. To listen to his talk about Lust, you can click here.
How do we overcome lust?
Pray. You must enter prayer into your life. Pray for the Lord to help you, ask the Saints to pray for you.
Remove yourself from temptation. If you find that you are a place and you know your flesh is weak, remove yourself from it. There is nothing wrong turning your head from a very explicit scene on the screen or even turning the channel.
Be Open of your activities with your loved ones. Keep no secrets of your browsing history online. Share with your family what you have done, and where you have gone. Even go as far as getting a filter system for your account to block out certain sites.
Keep eye contact. Instead of roaming a person’s body when you meet them, look at them straight in the eye when you talk to them. Hopefully, this will help you keep your thoughts pure.
Charity Work. Give yourself selflessly to those in need. When you are busy helping others in need, you don’t have time to focus on your desires.
Pick your crowd. If your group of friends like going to clubs, and you know that is a place of temptation for you, you can either sit out or decide to find other people who have the same interests as you.
Lust is a difficult topic to talk about these days because our culture is so prevalent on showing every piece of skin that we have. We are so used to seeing the sexualization of our society that we don’t even bat an eye anymore–that is until a young child starts to absorb and reflect society.
Self examination is usually key in determining if we’re suffering from Lust. Some of us may even suffer from the non-sexual part of lust by using others to get what we want.
Have you ever entered a friendship so that you can move up at work, or become more popular?
This post was originally published on November 4, 2014. This post has been added to #WorthRevisit linkup hosted by Theology is a Verb, and Reconciled to You.