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Friday, March 06, 2009

Seeing Things

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[March 06, 2009]-But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”-Matthew 5: 28

This passage is lifted straight from Jesus’ sermon on the mount. He spends several chapters on the same formula, “you have heard it said…but I say…” Here he is referencing adultery, “You have heard it said you should not commit adultery but I say don’t even lust.” I recognize that the last thing we like to discuss is sexuality but this particular vice, lust, is simply to pervasive to ignore

. Lust is a key component of our culture. We are surrounded by beautiful people. Advertisements feature chiseled men and sleek women pitching products. Newscasters are well coiffed and fit perfectly in our models of beauty. Actors and singers see their talent take a back seat to their image and young men and women are paraded in front of us singing lurid songs in skimpy outfits to adoring hordes of tween fans. In short, sex sells. And because it does we cannot get away from it.

So what is the Christian to do? Should we turn off our televisions, close our magazines and disconnect the internet? None of those would be altogether bad but it is unlikely we would get that far. No, what we must do is remember that we are being tricked. Most of the real sins we encounter are tricks. Sins tell us that the “moral” way is tired and boring and their way is life giving and fulfilling. But this is not true. To expose them we only need to get at what Jesus was really saying with his words Jesus is reminding us of the value of our selves. When we see a person and immediately evaluate them based on their physical appearance we miss so many things about them. We reduce them to a sexual being which is, of course, contrary to how God intends us to see. Jesus is reminding us that we are called to love our neighbor no matter how attractive they might be. Further, Jesus is reminding us that the sum total of a person is so much greater than the eye can see. When we lust after another person we miss the other things about them; their gifts and shortcomings, their talents and weaknesses are all washed away in a haze of desire. This is not how we are meant to live together.

Prayer: Gracious God, teach me to see. Teach me to look past the outward appearances of those whom I see and instead see them as friend, neighbor and companion. Help me to see them as children of God. I pray in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

[Text from file received by Phil Blackburn]



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