Summary: Lust was considered to be the least deadly of sins though when you look at the church’s discussion of sexuality, you would think that it would be much higher. But it wasn’t. Our sexual desire is a gift from God. The problem is that when we change sexual i
Three ministers and their wives went out to dinner and were in a terrible accident, and all six were killed. They came to the Pearly Gates of Heaven and were greeted by St. Peter. "I know you are all men of the cloth," said St. Peter, "but as a matter of protocol I need to look up your records." He punched a few keys on his computer and studied the screen. He looked at the first minister's record, and grimly shook his head. "I'm sorry. Our files say you lusted after alcohol, and though you never drank, lust is just as bad as the deed itself. It says here your lust was so strong that you wouldn't get married until you met a woman named Sherry." Poof, the minister and his wife were banished to Hell. He checked the next minister's record. Again he shook his head and said, "I'm sorry. Our files say you lusted after money, and though you never had any and lived as poor as church mice, lust is just as bad as the deed itself. It says here your lust was so strong that you wouldn't get married until you met a woman named Penny." Poof, the second minister and his wife were banished to Hell. The third minister overheard all this and spoke up. "St. Peter, don't waste your time." He turned to his wife and said, "Come on, Fanny, let's go."
Today, we’re continuing our series on the 7 Deadly Sins and we’re going to focus our attention on lust. Lust was considered to be the least deadly of sins though when you look at the church’s discussion of sexuality, you would think that it would be much higher. But it wasn’t. Our sexual desire is a gift from God. In Genesis 3 when Eve is created, it tells us that Adam and Eve cleave to one another and they become one flesh. That was sexual intimacy and was seen by God to be a good thing. In the story of Abraham and Sarah, Sarah is told that she will give birth to her first child at an old age and her response is, “Will I have paradise again with my husband?” The paradise means sexual intimacy. The Song of Solomon speaks of the virtues and blessings of romantic and erotic love, right there in the middle of your Bible. So sexual desire is a good thing. God intended sexual desire and the uniting of a man and woman to be something which helped to cement the love and covenantal relationship of a lifelong commitment to one another. There’s something spiritual about that and it’s meant to bond you with one another. The joy, passion, and even laughter that sometimes result from sexual intimacy was intended by God. It is a spiritual, holy and sacred act bonding two people together.
The problem is that when we change sexual intimacy into something which it was not meant to be and that is about my needs and my fulfillment. What we end up doing is feeding and satisfying ourselves through lust. So you bond with a person and then pull away and it’s a one night stand. And then you do it again and again. Some have likened it to putting two pieces of duck tape together and then trying to pull them apart. You can do that but it’s never a clean break. There’s always something stuck because they gave themselves wholly to you and you did as well. False expectations might have been formed. You objectified the other person and used them for your own gratification, and they may have you as well. What happens is you can loose your capacity to bond. And what we find is that the misuse of the gift trivializes sex. And when we do that, sex becomes about gratifying our needs without any concern for anyone one else. That’s contradictory to the call to be like Jesus who lived a life concerned with others.
Now all of us struggle with lust and perhaps some of us even know people who have given into this. I recently heard about two friends whose wedding I did. After more than 15 years of marriage, she got pregnant by another man. When the news was discovered by her husband, he then went out and had an affair of his own for retribution. And the marriage was destroyed. That’s what lust does. It takes the good gifts of God and causes us to sin, destroying our relationships, hurting others and distancing us from God. I think about a woman I knew in college who dated and slept with one guy after another until one night she slept with several men consecutively. After college, she went from one relationship to another until she had a mental breakdown. Now in her mid 40’s, she just pulling her life together. I think about a friend of my wife who in her 20’s and 30’s would meet a man in a bar and then sleep with him before they ever really started dating. She was desperate to be in a relationship and get married but because she distorted and misused God’s gift, it wasn’t until her late 30’s that she finally married. These stories show us the deadliness of the sin of lust and it’s impact on our life.