Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lusts and Lies

There is misinformation going around about physical attraction, which confusion is being used to excuse homosexuality and promote homosexualism. The lie being propagated, and actually persuading people, is that everybody is sometimes attracted to people they are not supposed to be attracted to. And since everyone is attracted inappropriately, it's okay or normal, or at least okay and normal for homosexuals. Crazy, but people are buying it.

Such a conversation might go like this:

A: It's wrong to be same-sex attracted. They can get help and repent."

B: Well, have you ever been attracted to someone other than your spouse?

A: Well . . . yes.

B: There you go! People can't help being attracted to whoever they find attractive.

We'll continue that later. So far, it's all wrong. It's not the right story or the whole story. It's a false distraction and a clever way of making people think there's nothing wrong with homosexuality. Let's break it down.
What is lust? Is it the same thing as noticing that someone is an attractive person? Or is it purely sexual? Are human beings able to control lust, that is, sexual attraction? Is lust always bad? Is love lust?

We are bringing up these questions because the world has got them upside-down and backwards. And people are buying it! So let's answer them correctly.

Lust is very strong sexual desire that is out-of-bounds. Lust is one of the seven deadly sins. It consists of thinking, fantasizing, daydreaming graphically about sex and sexual desire, alone or generally or with others. It is a selfish pleasurable sexual objectification of people and even things. Thinking dirty, talking dirty, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, lasciviousness, promiscuity, rape, child sexual abuse, homosexuality, and the like, are all lust-based, although other sins may play a part, such as power over others, greed, and idolatry.

Lust is never a good thing. It has nothing whatever to do with love and kindness. It is not the same as wholesome attraction between a male and female. It has nothing to do with seeing or feeling an impersonal attractiveness in people or clothing or talents or art. Lust is the line that is crossed when a wholesome attraction or perception of beauty turns to purely selfish sexual feelings.

People cannot help seeing whether a person is male or female. They can't help seeing the shapes of people, their skin, or their features. This is simply because God gave us eyes and we have learned what to find beautiful. We can't help seeing innocent attractiveness in people, or beauty in works of art or the ballet, for example. In other words, we all notice attractive people and beauty.

Nor can people help noticing blatant immodesty or seductiveness. It's sad, but there it is.

What people can help is what they do with these images, in their minds to begin with. Lust is when a person turns that innocent loveliness or that immodesty, seductiveness, even that nakedness, into something purely sexual inside their own heads and hearts. Think about it. Jesus could see anyone in any condition of dress or undress, in any condition of innocence or wickedness, and not turn that person into a sex object. It's possible! No one should go around thinking lewdly, that is, objectifying and lusting after anybody. Lust is always bad, because it is always low and always purely selfish.

The fact that people are actually going around saying that noticing someone is physically attractive is the same as lust, shows how far our pop culture has come in sexualizing human beings. This used to be called having a dirty mind. Beauty, the human form, human flesh, has been made over into sexuality first and foremost. This is what our debauched sexually permissive culture promotes. Many people have no qualms about the idea of lewdly and lustfully undressing anybody they see or meet in their minds.

It's no wonder human sexuality is taking every possible turn. Everyone and everything is sexualized, when the truth is, sexuality should only be used properly, lovingly, unselfishly, solely between husbands and wives. In fact, decent people do not think about anyone other than their spouse in terms of the decent people's personal sexuality at all, or know they shouldn't and take care not to. Think of doctors and nurses, parents, families, friends, coworkers. There should be nothing sexual there toward others, whether clothed or naked. 

Lust has no part in being sexually attracted to someone you intend to get to know and perhaps marry. In addition, good couples who are dating or engaged or married do not think only sexually about their loved one. They think of the whole person and often put the other person's wishes before theirs.

A friend was visiting our home several years ago and made a casual comment about our 2 or 3-year-old that was strange. "Oooh, sexy," she said. A toddler sexy? Wrong. She may have been referring to the child's grace, her comely shape, her attractiveness. But sexy? Please.

People need to read good literature (and not read bad literature). Classics, including the scriptures, refer to people often as fair, the fairest in the land, attractive, beautiful, lovely. No one can help noticing someone extraordinarily attractive or charismatic. But, generally speaking, we are not to go any farther. School thy feelings, says the hymn. Keep your heart pure. Whoever has trouble doing this---and it may be more difficult in this sexually permissive, oversexed, in-your-face world--- needs to repent continually. Some, at some times, are more prone to lust than others, but we all have our weaknesses. We are all in constant need of turning back to God and relying on Christ.

We mustn't buy into this oversexualization of everything, including each other. We are all children of God. We should be able to tell, or know, who is male and who is female, leave the sex distinction at that, and act accordingly when it comes to clothing, modesty, bathrooms, grouping, roles, and propriety. The only human relationship that should include sexuality in thought and deed is the one where marriage is concerned.

It's a little frustrating to write about these things because they shouldn't have to be taken apart like this. Time was when the birds and the bees, when right and wrong, when good and evil, when the difference between lust and love, were all taken for granted in a thousand spoken and unspoken ways. People need to read some good books and watch some good old movies. It's all there. But now the devil has had his way. He has so twisted and contorted male and female, sex and sexuality, child and adult, that people are talking nonsense and confusing everybody else. You can't help who you lust after? You can't help who you "love?" Oh yes you can. Everybody needs to stop with the sexualizing and homosexualizing of everything and replant their feet firmly on the good, honest earth.

Let's finish our conversation between A and B and give it a good ending.

A: When I said I find people attractive other than my spouse, I didn't mean sexually, or anything personal. Why did you assume I did? I don't think sexually about anyone other than my spouse. If I did I'd have to repent. I'm just noticing that there are handsome or beautiful people.

B: Oh, sorry. But it's still an attraction. I'm trying to show you how gays can't help how they feel and there's nothing wrong with it.

A: And yet you seemed to be convicting me of lust. Why?

B. I don't know. Everything gets sexualized these days. It seemed like a good argument to excuse homosexuality.

A: Oh, so if everybody sins, sin is okay?

B. Hmm. I guess that's not a good argument.

A. The thing that makes any physical attractedness inappropriate is the sexualizing of the person or people.And people aren't necessarily doing that; at least we can hope they aren't. There's a difference between people's attractiveness and turning that into sexual lust.

B: Oh, I see. So attractedness just is. But when people say they are same-sex attracted they are talking about same-sex sexual desires? When they say they can't help who they love, they really mean they don't want to restrain their lusts?

A: Right, that's how people are thinking nowadays and both lust and homosexuality are always wrong. People of the same sex can and do love each other, but they mustn't sexualize those feelings.

B: Wow, I never thought about it. Whatever else it may be, homosexuality has to be sexual. And I wasn't fair using general attractedness to excuse homosexual lust.

A: Yes. And like other sexual sins, homosexuality is out-of-bounds both in desire and deed. It is based on lust and lust is always wrong.

1 comment:

Maddie S. said...

Thank you! After my conversation with Steve on the Liberty Lineup radio show the other day in which his co-host asked me the same question this post starts with, it's nice to see you clarify the difference between simply noticing someone's objective beauty versus sexualizing them in your mind. I tried to explain my thoughts on the air, but this is much more thorough. You're right that our society has become so sexualized that innocent things (like recognizing beauty in someone) have been twisted. Any person can see the attractiveness of either sex without having inappropriate thoughts about them or being "gay."