Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Wonderful Side of Lust

I remember a little over a year ago, I was seated next to a friend. Her husband came toward us, but his focus was solely on her. There was an intense passion in his gaze as he took her hand in his for just a brief moment. It was obvious the rest of the world had ceased to exist in those short seconds.Within this short gaze, the depth of his love and desire for his wife was evident to all who witnessed.

I remember feeling a stab of envy - not at either of them, but just at the intensity of love and desire they shared. I wonder how many others felt the same - how many others wondered why they didn't have that same intensity in their gaze, or in their spouse's gaze. It isn't that the rest of us didn't have/receive love from our spouses - but as is the case with many marriages, sometimes the sparks temporarily fizzle out, and that intensity just isn't there. Sometimes, some people, never find that intensity.
 
One of the emotions evident in his gaze was his desire for his wife - his lust. Now here is where things get a little quirky... the Bible clearly tells us that lust - even just looking at a woman in lust - is a sin. Is it therefore a sin to lust after your own spouse? It is a sin to desire to take her to bed and do all sorts of naughty things with her?

I asked the question to friends... is there a difference between desire and lust? Is one acceptable and one a sin? And, the answers aren't very clear. So, I'm going to give my take on it (which may or may not be Biblical)...

Desire and lust are essentially the same thing. Yes, it can be argued that lust is a more consuming and covetous feeling, whereas desire is more innocent and is simply a wanting. But in my opinion, this is just a way of rationalizing our human nature when human nature takes over. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that even looking at a woman in lust is committing adultery. It is a sin.

How many of us, as humans, look at someone and thing "dayam! I wouldn't mind being under the blankets with him!" Is this lust? Desire? A sin? Committing adultery? In my opinion, it's often none of these. It's a simple statement of appreciate for someone else' body. If we actually want to be with this person, then we've moved into desire... and, it's a desire for something we shouldn't have (if we're married and/or the object of our desire is married). If we're laying in bed at night and fantasizing about being under the blankets... then we have lust.

So...

Lust is only a sin when it is aimed at someone to whom we are not married. Lusting after someone not our spouse - sin. Lusting after someone else' spouse - sin. Lusting after someone else' spouse when you are married to someone else - double sin (committing adultery and coveting thy neighbor's spouse.... yup, you're in trouble now...). Lusting after your own husband or wife? Not a sin... and perfectly normal, expected, and good.... provided it is a healthy relationship, and your eyes are still set on God. 

Lust/desire (whatever you want to call it) can be a healthy and great thing. Knowing your spouse desires you can be a very healthy and wonderful thing. Lust in itself is not sin. Misplaced lust is. So, in my opinion, go lust it up....

Anyway, that's just my take on the whole subject. (and yes, I'm still envious).


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