The Church Courtyard > Ask a Traditionalist

Lust

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Daniel:
I'm not trying to sound smart, but can somebody explain what "lust" is exactly? I thought I understood it, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe what I thought was lust actually isn't lust.

james03:
I would say it is a particular type of entertaining impure thoughts.  If you are lusting after a girl, you are obsessed with sexual fantasies with that particular person.  That would be lusting after her.

Michael Wilson:
"Lust" means that a person has consented to impure thoughts and desires in his heart for another person; the story in the Bible of Susana and the Elders is a good illustration of this sin.

Daniel:
I think part of the problem, at least for me, is that I don't know how to distinguish whether the thought/desire is "pure" or "impure". Is there any objective criteria for this?

In many cases it also isn't obvious to me whether my thought/feeling is even sexual in nature. Usually I just feel a sort of general attraction towards the person or object. (It's not even always women either. So if this is lust, it's a particularly disordered sort of lust. But what I don't know is whether or not it is lust, and how to avoid it if it is.)

In cases where the thought/feeling is accompanied by a sexual bodily reaction, I take it that this is a clear sign of impurity? (But even then, these thoughts/feelings don't always seem to be sexual in nature.)


edit - And I forgot to ask, but what is meant by "looking on a woman to lust after her" (Matthew 5:28)? The impression I get, from listening to sermons, is that the lust is somehow built into the very act of looking. Hence priests say that we are morally required to keep "custody of eyes". Yet this doesn't sound right... and, in practice, it is impossible to keep "custody of eyes" always. So I am led to believe that it cannot possibly be a sin of lust every time we look at something. I mean, why did God give us eyes, if not to look at stuff? So I am now thinking that the "looking" is only a sin if it triggers (or is accompanied by) lust, or if it's a near occasion of lust. But this just begs my original question: what is lust? How do we distinguish "lust" from non-lustful thoughts/feelings?

Innocent Smith:

--- Quote from: Daniel on May 02, 2021, 09:01:13 PM ---I think part of the problem, at least for me, is that I don't know how to distinguish whether the thought/desire is "pure" or "impure". Is there any objective criteria for this?
--- End quote ---

As I read the above I was reminded of The Law and all the instructions found in the Talmud about the most basic of activities including hand washing, having relations with your wife, and even how to properly have an evacuation. 

There is a big difference between having a look at a woman and glaring at her.  What are your thoughts attached to the look?

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