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Look and lust, or look and repent?

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mathew 5:28)

In my Bible, this verse is in red ink and no, it’s not because I tried to scratch it out! This verse Jesus said Himself and that is why we must sit upright and take notice.

How it came across to me as I grew up in the church, is that looking and lusting was a sin. It was drilled into me that you must treat all girls like sisters (1 Timothy 5: 1-2). This was a problem, because I saw all my sister’s friends differently as to how I saw my sister.

It is unrealistically expected that a man’s sexuality must be switched-off until he is married, and then when he is married, his sexuality only belongs to his wife. But in reality, each person’s sexuality belongs to him or herself. And without that look and lust, no man would have ever asked another woman to marry him.

The whole look-and-lust message is one that makes a man feel guilty about his sexuality, to remind him that he only has one thing on his mind and to bring it home that sexuality is actually dirty, ugly and wrong, something that we as Christians must turn away from and get ourselves to repent of.

If a man is made to be visually stimulated, then why is it wrong to be stimulated by visuals?

Looking and lusting is normal. It is a sign that you are a healthy, robust man. Jesus shows man their shortcomings with his Sermon on the Mount (Mathew 5) and makes it very clear that nobody can be perfect without God’s grace. Jesus’ intention is not to go against man’s sexuality. He uses adultery and lust as an example to make man aware of his weaknesses. Lust is a normal and healthy part of every man’s sexual life, a part of his being that God gave him. But it is when a man can’t control his looking and lusting that it starts to become a problem. It is almost as though the first look is inevitable, but the second look is a test of your character.

The danger of feeling guilty about the lust part and trying tp switch it off, is that you are starting to mess with your DNA, which results in greater consequences. The more you suppress your sexuality, the greater the fall will be. Let’s use King David as an example. He looked at Bathsheba, desired her and according to my understanding of sexuality and the Word, this is all another sign of a man with 20/20 vision. Thereafter he went to find out who this woman was. Here it starts becoming a bit dodgy, because he is making plans to take his looking and lusting to another level. He had no reason to do this, because at that stage he already had three other wives to see to his sexual needs.

After he found out that she was a married woman, he didn’t take any notice of it and had a one night stand with her. In other words; He used her for his own pleasure. He wasn’t interested in her as a person. He didn’t want to marry her. He just wanted to tickle his own pleasure and to heck with the rest. From thereon it just went downhill for him to the point where he ended-up committing murder.

David’s problem wasn’t that he found Bathsheba attractive. His problem was that he couldn’t manage his own sexuality. Sexual sin is when you only care about yourself. And what Jesus also mentioned in Mathew 5 is that it is better for a man to pluck out his own eye or to chop off his own hand if it causes you to sin. In other words, a man must at times manage his desires even when it costs him something, for example Joseph. Joseph had desires for Potiphar’s wife, but he managed it in such a manner that he said he won’t be able to sin against his God and his boss Potiphar.

Lust and desire on its own isn’t wrong, but ensure that you manage it correctly, otherwise you may end-up in the dog box!

Written by Timothy Kieswetter

Timothy Kieswetter