This week I start a seven week sermon series during the Lenten season about the seven deadly sins. I'm doing them in reverse order, starting with lust and ending with pride. As I've been preparing for the series, an observation about the sins that emerged is how closely related they are, how they almost overlap, and at some times seem to be synonymous with each other. At what point is lust, envy, greed that much different from each other?
In particular about lust, it is not necessarily about sexuality, so much as about desires and longings. Lust is misplaced longings, desires that result in ruin and taintedness, not beauty and joy. Lust leaves at least one person defiled, and if left unchecked, more than one person.
One of the underlying themes of this series is helping people know what to do to deal with the sin in their life. The biggest challenge may be convincing people they are sinners. Nobody likes to be called a sinner. People are very good at defending their life, coming up with good reasons for why they do what they do, and why it is somebody's elses fault. Or I made a mistake, or was confused, or misinformed, etc. Why is it so unfashionable to talk about sin?
Sin is a very religious word, and it is God's word for what is wrong in the world and what has corrupted us. Sin is an overarching word that encompasses alot of ideas. It is both a power at work in us, and something we do; it is something that we are guilty of, and something we are powerless to resist in our own will. It corrupts our desires, and we embrace its mastery over us.
Lust is a dirty word. Lust is a dirty deed. One can lust over a man or a woman, over money or a Mercedes, over power or prestige, over convenience or victory. And when you lust, you sin against God; and every time you sin against God, you've sinned against someone else. To lust after something or someone is to do make it an idol, an object of obsession, a fulfillment to longings that are at the expense of another. And lust is a deadly sin because if left unchecked or unrepentent, leads to death. (see James 1)
Lord have mercy on my lust-full soul.