According to Merriam-Webster, lust means “a strong feeling of sexual desire” or “a strong desire for something”. With this in mind, is lust a sin?
As any good lawyer will say, “it all depends”.
A strong sexual desire for your spouse isn’t a sin, but a strong sexual desire for you neighbor’s wife is trouble. A strong desire for a thing is likely to border on idolatry.
Years ago I was at my best friend’s house one fine Saturday, and his father told a story about my friend. One time when he was very little, he was sitting in the child seat in a grocery store shopping cart that his father was pushing around the store looking for groceries. They passed a young lady, and his father whispered under his breath “wow wee!” They continued along their way and passed the young lady again with the same result. Finally, they got into the checkout line, and guess who was right behind them? My friend said in a loud childish voice, “Look Dad, there’s the wow wee lady!” Needless to say, many years later, his father still remembered that day.
So, if a man sees an attractive woman, or vice versa, and the reaction is “wow wee” have they sinned?
We don’t need a lawyer for that one, do we? Of course the answer is “No”. Are you surprised? It doesn’t become a “yes” until you go the next step and say “Would I like to get my hands on that!” Once you arrive at that point, you have lust in your heart and you have turned God’s image bearer into a mere object. Noticing that a woman is beautiful or that a man is handsome, is no sin; and the jump to the next step is not a given, and we as a species, are not wired to automatically do that.
Yet reacting in that way does reflect where a person’s head and heart are. If a man sees a woman who is dressed provocatively, the sight will not change the man into a sex-crazed maniac. That is, of course, unless he was one of those already: Think about it…
You see, we’ve come back to temptation here; a temptation may arise to indulge one’s self in erotic fantasies when we come across an attractive person, but it is entirely our choice as to whether or not we indulge ourselves in it. I would suggest that such a response is more a result of culture, conditioning and habit, then anything else.
Let’s take a break and think about it, and we’ll pick up on Monday; have a great weekend, please leave your comments, and I’ll see you next time!