“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.“Matthew 5:27, 28
These grave words of Christ, intended to make us free may have made many of us fearful. And acting out of fear, we may be distancing ourselves evermore from the freedom God intended. Sexual desire is not a bad thing!
Greg walks out of the tall skyscraper onto a quad bustling with people. Looking for an available space near a water feature, he spies a spot on the grass next to a beautiful reflection pool. As he collapses on the grassy knoll to settle in, eat his lunch and read the paper, her long legs come into view. Instantly, his eyes are pulled upward to drink in the rest of her. Oh my…she is absolutely gorgeous, he thinks.
What did he do wrong?
Nothing. The answer is nothing. A boy sees a girl. A boy judges the girl to be visually attractive. It is not a corruption of his mind to think such. It is not a spiritual dysfunction nor is it a sign of inevitable evil befallen him or separation from grace. It is a moment, simply a moment. And there will be other moments. Observation is not concentration. Observing beauty in the moment is natural. It is not natural in the sense of being carnal. it is natural in the sense of being as God created us–beings of beauty who are drawn to beauty.
Christ does not broach the subject of sex much when he is here. We make sex a much bigger deal than the Lord does! When He does, it is in our interest to understand what He offers. When Jesus talks about looking on a woman to lust after her, the record uses epithumeo. The term used refers NOT simply to desire but to undisciplined desire, overwhelming desire, sexual imagination run amuck.
Jesus warns against an intentional concentration (not observation) of a person to employ mental fantasy of illicit sexual acts. My observing that Halle Berry is pretty does not breach the Lord’s Matthew 5 edict. My imagining what I or anyone might do of a sexual nature with her is a breach and finds me guilty in His sight of adultery itself.
It is unfortunate that Christians subjugate the beauty of what is natural to the ugly fear and guilt promoted by misinformation, myth and willful ignorance of God’s own creation of sexuality. Gospel ministers of great repute teach that pleasure is a byproduct of sex, not a purpose. This is to say that if you don’t enjoy sex, that’s okay…you weren’t necessarily suppose to… Preaching, teaching and constantly concentrating on the deficits of human sexuality is akin to being in a basketball game where only your fouls are posted and not your score. No wonder why sincere Christian couples ask sophomoric questions about what is permissible. Why would anyone question whether they can have sex doggie style?
The idea of lust is misrepresented to intentionally (Strong charge alert!) suppress the eagerness and creativity with which couples might approach their sex life. You see, there are those spiritual leaders who see God as a hard task master. it is better not to use what He gives us than to possibly use it wrongly. Unfortunately, it need be said that better teaching in the body of Christ would help us use God’s gift of sex to marriage responsibly, creatively and with great glory to God.
There’s a thought: What if we screamed ‘Oh God’ during sex and meant it? Okay, I’m going onto the quad now to eat my sandwich and read my paper. Peace!