Is There a Difference between Noticing Someone is Attractive and Lust?

Sometimes I think people outside the faith think we’re nuts.

We take a topic, like attraction and lust, and draw an imaginary line in the sand. Then, we criticize those who cross it even if they had no idea it was even there. We somehow justify it by whatever additional regulations we put on it, beyond what God said, because we’ve inferred things from the Bible and assume we know the heart of people in the situation itself.

Is there a difference between noticing someone is attractive and lust?

Of course there is.

The truth behind this concept is flawed. In my opinion, it’s one of those Christian “struggles” that’s more indicative of the person asking the question than the person in the situation. It’s more of an indicator of being judgmental on our part. As if by pointing it out, we are lifting ourselves above another who doesn’t “get it.” But in God’s economy, lifting ourselves up actually places us at the bottom. And those who go on to live an honest life humbling themselves before Him, are lifted up to a place of honor in His eyes.

We take a verse like Matthew 5:28: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” and we debate the meaning of the word lust. We break it down to consider how lust begins (with noticing someone is attractive in some way) and then condemn the innocent action of noticing someone.

Compiling attraction and lust in the same category is like compiling unattractiveness and hate in the same category. Do we hate something simply because we don’t find it attractive? No. So why is it assumed that we lust after something we find attractive?


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