OK – it’s been quite a while since Greed so to recap….
i am trying to ‘cover’ each of the Seven ‘Deadly’ Sins – ones which some believe we will go straight to Hell for – no eternal life in Heaven if we do ANY of these – so i hope none of you are counting on getting there any time? – Me? – now? (D.S. number 5) – i’m Doomed for sure 😦
The aim here is to describe how the ‘sins’ MIGHT have been a part of our own lives and what if anything we have done to rid them from us – what things are we willing/capable/able to do to fend them off and avoid them for ‘good’?
Usually there are a few ‘definitions’ to make the sin described more easily able to be understood and recognised then i have a go at starting the ball rolling ( so far of the 5 covered, only gluttony and maybe anger i felt were an ‘issue’ for me but – well, you be my ‘judge’) 😉
1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually fol. by for): a lust for power.
4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.
Lust (or lechery) ( Latin term is luxuria – same root as luxury!!) is usually thought of as involving obsessive or excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Unfulfilled lusts sometimes lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but obviously not limited to) sexual addiction, adultery, bestiality, rape, and incest. Dante’s criterion was “excessive love of others,” which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary. In “Purgatorio”, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings. (through Holy Fire?)
I think the key word here is ‘excessive’ – which is a bit tricky because who is to say exactly when a sexual desire is being held by someone to ‘excess’. Just as not everyone who eats is a glutton, not everyone who has sexual desire is guilty of lust.
God’s First Commandment to His Latest Creation, Man, was “Go forth and multiply!” so clearly, He thought sex was something we should have and there are times when many of us just don’t feel ‘in the mood’ so a few urges are no bad thing in and of themselves.
After all – we all gotta ‘eat’ – right?
So – Excessive sexual desire or desire for things such as power, fame, fortune, good looks (Cosmetic surgery or fashions? – Prada shoes, for example?) could all fit into the sin of Lust.
For me, the line gets drawn between ‘healthy’ and ‘excessive’ desire when it begins affecting adversely your or your partner’s, or kids’, or community’s, life.
Sometimes, it can be quite dificult actually determining that, and we are seldom the best judge of when something is adversely affecting our own lives as we are LOATHE to admit to ourselves that something has become a problem we are no longer in control of. We generally ‘know’ but won’t admit or take steps to change until long after we should have.
Now comes the tricky personal bit…
Like many before me i have had to face coming to terms with lust via a particular form… Pornography.
It has affected my life adversely for far longer than i care to recall, starting when i broke the law to steal men’s magazines from shops as a school kid for ‘cheap thrills’. I did this enough times to warrant it being labelled a problem, although at the time i only saw the problem being one of petty theft.
It is only much later in life i see what the true ‘crime’ was and am learning to overcome it.
After i turned 18 and was legally able to purchase or subscribe to the magazines, the theft stopped and just a litle guilt semed the biggest problem – i never felt right buying a magazine form a female counter attendant.
After i met my wife to be (and for a time before as sexual needs were being met by girlfriends) i stopped with the magazines and found a healthier ‘outlet’ for those desires which i do not feel were excessive – at least i was able to stay in control and they never caused any harm in my relationships.
A gap of some twenty years or so lasted during which no real issue was being felt (with one ‘unnoticed’ exception that i am coming to) and then two things coincided to ensure a return of an old problem. One a relationship broke down, and, fatally – the WWW was born! Unlimited free porn if you knew where to ‘look’ – and then, even if you didn’t know where!
The combination of the two proved irresistable to a computer junkie like me 😦
Combined with a job where i could get free internet hi-speed access and printing capabilities to make copies of web images, i reverted to ‘form’. Not a high point of my life.
Worse was making a dumb mistake and leaving printed copies on a work laser printer for my Boss to find. She was NOT ‘amused’. I was not fired but it was fair to assume promotional prospects suddenly took a nose dive and i partly chose/was partly pushed out of a government position some months later.
But my BIGGEST problem i did not realise until later. As a result of oogling thousands upon thousands of air-brushed unimaginably well-photographed, sometimes synthetic goddesses with ‘perfect’ skin and bodies i had ‘conditioned’ my self to seek and respond only to the most visually beautiful women and this somewhat limited my ability to form relationships, especially as i tended to have a somewhat low self-esteem and a tendency to believe that if i was looking for ‘perfection’, then the odds were so were those women, and they could do better than me as a date.
Kind of shallow i know, but it took me many years to realise this and then to begin to do something about it.
Remnants of it linger still.
Pronography has not been a thing i have ‘lusted’ for now for a couple of years and while i still find myself attracted to ‘good-looking’ women i am able to see i do that and can catch myself if i ever begin to think that external beauty is what is important over the beauty within. Physical beauty is no longer my Prime factor in determining if i can have a relationship with someone – in fact, i look with scepticism now at ‘beautiful people’ believing that what is outside is rarely matched by what is in the person themselves.
It has taken a LONG time to get to this point – i feel if i had not given into that temptation as a 13 year old kid my life could have been a much happier and ‘balanced’ one in the long term than it has been.
How have i overcome lust?
Looking back to try and find what caused it… recognising my error i had carried unnoticed for over 30 years. (that external beauty is the only thing or that is the most desirable) and recognising more what Love is and how it differs to lust.
Now if i can JUST do the same for Cars as i have for women i might be in with a chance? 🙂
So… any of you had run-in’s with a lust or two and have you made ‘progress’ yet?
Care to share a comment with us?
Phew: i’m glad THAT is over!