John 8:10-11
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore.”
Spiritual trap. Personal trap. Cultural trap. The drive that leads us into sexual sin is terribly strong. But we have no excuse for falling into the sin of lust. Let me begin with this: there is a huge difference between an excuse and an explanation. We cannot excuse falling into the sin of lust, but in our modern society, there is so much of a tendency and acceptance of lust that it explains why we are attracted.
When we look at our current society, it seems overwhelmed with images that, in a previous generation, would have been called pornographic. Because of the availability of these images through the Internet, children as young as 10 years old are finding an attraction, even an addiction, to the images that are available to them. And, it has been shown that pornography is as addictive as cocaine.
It is all too easy to … dismiss as alarmist all of the warning signs that we see. We are becoming too used to seeing these images. How many times have you found yourself viewing commercials on daytime or evening television and found yourself embarrassed at what you saw? Now, think back to your parents or grandparents. Would they have been embarrassed? I think they would probably have thrown the television out the window! I remember my dad saying more than once “what are they really trying to sell here?” He was a smart man!
In my estimation, the problem of lust has led to the most serious sins in our modern day. Whether we think of the problems in the church, or the problems with politicians, or the problems with what passes for entertainment, or the problems with abortion, or birth-control, or rampant divorce, or sexual perversions of very many types… The list could go on.
The loss of the standards of sexual morality is destroying lives. Families are being devastated. Individual’s lives are scarred. And all for what reason? The satisfaction of some pleasure center in our bodies and brains. There is a lack of restraint in the sin of lust that leads people to shatter the lives of those around them, and their own lives.
And look at the various ways it is being handled. It depends on who is caught in these lustful thoughts and actions. Some lives are being destroyed. Some of the immoral actions are being ignored. And all of this around what is called the modern media.
I honestly think that one of the reasons why the church has been the brunt of so much of these attacks in the recent decades is because we are the only ones who can speak to the genuine truth of sexual desire being properly focused as God intended. (I said one of the reasons. The other main reason is because the members of the church who were acting in lust needed to be corrected. And I pray that we are finished with that correction, though something tells me we are not finished.)
But the answer to all of these problems of our society and its obsession with lust is answered with one word: chastity. Now, let me further explain that there are different expressions of chastity. Chastity for a priest, or a brother or a sister in consecrated life, is different than the chastity that a married man or woman is called to. Those two forms of chastity are again different from the chastity that a single man or woman who is considering marriage is called to.
This, in turn, is different than the chastity that a teenager is called to, or a younger child. When the particular form of chastity that someone is supposed to be living is set aside, the holiness of God is being set aside.
Yes, that means most of our modern culture has set aside the call to holiness. Now, I am not suggesting that women wander around in burqas, but summertime is not that far away and summertime dress in our culture is oftentimes a problem. We are called not to be a near occasion of sin to others.
But, the immodest clothing that many women choose to dress in during the warmer weather can cause a near occasion of sin to brothers in Christ. A healthy understanding of and respect of chastity would seem to me that we are called to respect one another, and not offer ourselves as images that could harm another’s spiritual life. I know, men can dress and act in modestly too.
All of this has to change. If we are going to recover a genuine level of Christianity in our culture, this false god has to be removed. It is lust that has encouraged our society to accept birth-control, abortion, no-fault divorce, and all kinds of sexual perversions that I will not name at this time. It is a robust practice of the virtue of chastity and a rejection of this inclination toward lust that is necessary to pull our society out of the spiral of destruction that it is in.
The only way we can do this is to stand against the incidences and inclinations toward lust that we see around us. Reject those forms of entertainment, and I use that word loosely, that promote lust. Only pursue right and chaste relationships. Seek first the kingdom of God.