There are times in this journey towards sexual integrity for teaching through a lesson and maybe even assigning homework. And yet, sometimes the most powerful lesson can come from a voice saying, “I understand. Me too.”
If you find yourself wrestling with lust, we hope you’ll allow this episode to come alongside you.
Lust is blinding.
Let’s unpack a vision for seeing the way God intended.
We live in a culture of entertainment. We live in a culture of lust. We live in a culture of consumerism. And we live in a fallen world -All of these things conspire against our eyes capacity to see.
We are designed to see people and to hold them in esteem and value.
Lust can make people objects or obstacles but not human beings
Genesis 1 and 2
“There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.” -Pope John Paul II
For more on this topic, check our latest article Where Eyes Don’t See
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
On my way into the office this morning, I was just struck with this sadness, this feeling inside about a deficiency and an area of my life. It’s not a new area, it’s not. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed it. But something about today something about maybe some of how this week has panned out for me, at the time of this recording that I’m just struck with it and feel the pain of this area of deficiency in me, and I’ve talked about it here before I’m gonna talk about it again today. Because I think it’s a it’s a problem that that many of us share. And it’s my inability to see the fact that I’ve got eyes, I can look around, but I miss so much, especially when it comes to seeing people. I’ve talked in this podcast before, and we’ll talk about it again, for sure. about the nature of lust, when it comes to not seeing somebody. lust is a, it’s not. To paraphrase from pope john paul, the second lost is not seeing too much, it’s really seeing too little. It’s not seeing a person at seeing body parts it’s seeing even a fiction of the person, a fraction of the person. But not seeing the whole person not seeing the individual. It seeing to paraphrase Christopher West here, it’s not seeing it seeing a body but it’s not seeing somebody. And the the problem with last is just one expression of this failure. So if you’re listening and you wrestle with loss, you probably recognize exactly what I’m talking about when we, if you click on pornography, you’re, you’re not seeing a person, you’re not really seeing a whole individual. But you’re seeing just a fraction of fiction of a person. But the same thing happens to us in so many different places. You know, we we go throughout so many, much of our days, let me just speak for myself. If you relate with this, keep listening, if you don’t feel free to stop and do something better with your time. I go through so much of my day, and fail to see real people around me. Whether it’s you know, going through the grocery store line or buying something in a restaurant, whether it’s sitting down to watch a show, or a YouTube clip, the the people in front of me are often just either objects or obstacles, but not human beings. So what I want to kind of just riff on today a little bit, I don’t want to stay in that place to lament I want to kind of unpack, my my vision, this vision I have for what we’re really supposed to see, when we when we behold a person. Because I think for a lot of us we’ve some of this problem just stems from the culture we live in. We live in a culture, of entertainment. We live in a culture of lust. We live in a culture of consumerism. And we live in a fallen world and all these things conspire against our eyes capacity to see we’ve trained our brains to see people as objects to consume as as people to entertain us, as villains to a poor as people to use for sexual gratification. But our eyes were actually intended by God, to behold another person and to see something of their unique unrepeatable personhood, to see something about them that actually images God in a unique way in all of creation, and I believe them to be struck with a sense of awe at that individual person. We get a glimpse of this, in Genesis one through one and two. Especially in Genesis two. We know from Genesis one that Adam and Eve are man and woman and are created in God’s image and in his likeness. And there’s something about who they are as these embodied creatures that makes visible, God’s invisible attributes. And you hear echoes there of of what Paul writes about in the New Testament of the second Adam, Jesus, how he is the exact representation of the invisible God. Well, we as human beings, man and woman are created to make visible that which is invisible, through our image bearing through being image bearers of our invisible, eternal, magnificent creator, doesn’t mean the God is man or woman. But it does mean that there’s something in our maleness and femaleness in our personhood that is meant to express on the earth. What God is like or something of what God is like. Actually in the in the Hebrew That word for image is also used for is also used for idle. And so, a, an ancient Hebrew reader might understand, to some degree not that human beings are meant to be idolized, but in a unique way where other gods in the ancient Near East would have had set up idols and carved stone and wood idols of of themselves. And it was understood that or believed that something of the essence of that other gods small G, other God resided somehow in a special way inside that stone, or that wood, or that metal idol. But God’s command to his people in the Old Testament is doomed, do not create an idol of me Do not create anything in my likeness. Why? Well, I think one reason is because God’s not going to he’s can’t be minimized like that. But, but another take on that is because he’s already created that in human beings. And after the fall, this has become a problem for us and Paul expounds on this in Romans one, how we are tempted then to exchange the glory of the incorruptible God, the real God, and exchange it for an image of God in the creature in human beings included. And that’s, and when we do that, it does something to our eyes, we fail to see a person either elevate them too high, and idolize them, or idolize aspects of them, even their body parts as something that they can be an object to make our life better. And you might see that if you know about your favorite musician, your, your star, somebody you idolize mean somewhere else, it may just be somebody that you you know, and how you want to take advantage of knowing them to move your life forward to make you feel better about yourself. It’s a form of idolatry. On the other hand, we look at people and we might assess, no, they’re not worth that much I can see by the way, they’re living by their socioeconomic status, by their gender, by their, their their weight, their appearance, their ethnicity, whatever, that by some deformity or illness they have that they are that they are not going to make my life better. And so we see those peoples object as obstacles. Again, I’m not saying this is what we want to be I’m not saying this happens in all cases, but but I’m aware in me at this kind of knee jerk, kind of default mode, as I’m moving through life, that my brain kind of in my eyes kind of conspire very quickly to assess people in this way. I please hear me I don’t, if you know me, if you run into me, I, I don’t want you to feel like I do this. All the time. It’s not even usually very conscious. It’s usually kind of a subconscious, just in the background thing. But I want to be more like Jesus, I want to be more like Jesus. In Genesis two, after God creates Eve, Adam looks on her. And we don’t understand fully what it was like for him. But he There is something about what he sees that sets him in a place of all, he is amazed by her. And I do know there have been some Christian speakers who have talked about this maybe particularly men who kind of talked about it, and they they make it? I don’t know, I think they minimize it, you know, and they go, Oh, man, she looks great. And I think certainly there was an aspect of that, but I think they’re they’re still seeing it through a little bit of a lens, a grid of fallen, or fallen eyes or fallen capacity. I believe that that is because the scripture goes on to say that they were both naked, and we’re unashamed. And there’s something about that wall, she looks great. That I think still taps into that old notion that sinful notion of the Fallen notion, at least, that, that she makes me feel a certain way. And that’s the sum total of who she is. Again, I’m trying to unpack this a bit I’m not trying to make, I know that people make us feel a certain way. I mean, Jesus looked out and he felt compassion for people. He looked at people and felt love for them. And so I’m, I’m not trying to say that we’re not meant to feel anything. I’m just trying to compare and contrast a little bit, ways that we might end up treating people as something to consume. When Adam and Eve looked upon each other, I’m convinced that before the fall in their nakedness in their shame free capacity, they would add them looked upon Eve, he saw not just her naked body, but also something of her soul. And I’m convinced that when she looked on him, it was the same way. I’m also convinced that because of the way that he looked at her, and that she looked at him, she could feel a sense of dignity and worth and honor. As he looked at her naked body. And she looked on his naked body, he could feel a sense of dignity, and self worth and honor. Both in their similarity, and also in their difference that they could recognize, you know, Adam and Eve looking at him, he could recognize, she sees something in me that is like her, because we are the same kind. And vice versa for Eve. But he could also experience her looking at him, and feel a sense of esteem. Because he knows that there’s something about him that is different to her. And then as she looks on him, she can see that an honor the difference, and desire and love the difference. And even in a way, be in awe of, of that aspect, those aspects of Adam. And the same true for Eve that when she experienced Adam looking at her, she knew that there are things about her that were alike that were like Adam, and he could enjoy those, he she also knew there were things that were different. And those differences were a source of, dare I say, pride for her, not the sinful fallen pride, that would then diminish Adam in her eyes, but rather a sense of of glory, a sense of he is he is equal in worth to me. And yet, there are aspects of me that he does not have, and that he loves, and that I love to I’m just trying to unpack this a little bit, we could take that in all manner of directions. But just coming back to this, this idea that we are designed to see people and to hold them in esteem and value. Now granted, we don’t have the, the the ability, naturally, to see not only a body, but a soul. And in our fallen state, we also recognize that bodies are broken, and that bodies are sinful. And people are broken and people are sinful. And so we don’t just see glory and goodness, and we look at each other but there’s still something that Jesus saw as he looked at people, some element of the original goodness. And and the fallenness the sinfulness the brokenness did not get in his way. And so were other people ran away from lepers, for example, because of the danger that they were and how they were unclean and may make me unclean. Jesus could reach out and touch a leper seeing something of value in that person that wouldn’t be on the disease on their bodies. And say I’m willing be cleansed. More I could say about that. I hope this isn’t just felt like rambling to you, I’m really, but you can hear my own wrestling. So let me just close in a prayer for me. And if you’re, if you relate that I’ll pray for you to Jesus, again, I pray as blind bartimaeus prayed, I want to see Jesus, my eyes are so full of using people and so used to missing people, looking past people. The Lord, when you look on us, you see us. You see our bodies, you see our souls, you see something eternal in us. You see God’s very good creation in us. And where you see sin and brokenness in our spirits or our bodies, Lord, it doesn’t detract for you. From your love for us. Lord, we want to see, like you see, I think it will cost us something, Lord, and yet, it’s better. I do believe I believe helped me in my unbelief. I believe we were made to see people or would you increase our hearts love, our eyes love, that we might look at others and see them with eyes of love with eyes like yours. When I pray all these things, knowing that what I’m asking for is far beyond my ability to produce in myself, but not be on yours. Or you came to seek and to save that which is lost and I have lost my ability to see. I want to see that previous run brothers and sisters listening to the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Amen.
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