Is it just coincidence this particular topic is coming up now with all the headlines over the last few weeks? I highly doubt it. Let’s dive right in.
Jesus continues to speak about what religious leaders of that day believed were laws/commandments and what He believed they were.
This next part is talking about the Commandment found in Exodus:
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5
Whoa, what?! Let’s get some clarity of definition shall we?
Lust – ἐπιθυμέω – epithumeō – ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o – From G1909 and G2372; to set the heart upon, that is, long for (rightfully or otherwise): – covet, desire, would fain, lust (after). G2372: From G2380; passion (as if breathing hard): – fierceness, indignation, wrath. G2380: A primary verb; properly to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), that is, (by implication) to sacrifice (properly by fire, but generally); by extension to immolate (slaughter for any purpose): – kill, (do) sacrifice, slay.
Adultery – μοιχεύω – moicheuō – moy-khyoo’-o – From G3432; to commit adultery: – commit adultery.
At this point, it doesn’t even matter if we understand what adultery is, as long as we understand what lust is.
So we can see where when we say ‘lust’ today, it is slightly different then back then. Lust isn’t just wanting a woman sexually. Lust would be setting your heart upon, desiring a woman with a passion which would stem from a rush of feelings and wants, who is not your spouse.
Looking at a woman and thinking, “That woman is beautiful,” does not mean you are lusting after her. It is not different than looking at a flower and saying, “Isn’t this a beautiful flower?” However, it almost seems like looking at a woman and wanting her to be yours, or wishing she were yours, without any sexual desire, may also qualify, if she belongs to someone else already (covet)?
29 If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
The word translated as ‘tear it out and throw away’ is ἐξαιρέω – exaireō – ex-ahee-reh’-o
From G1537 and G138; active voice to tear out; middle voice to select; figuratively to release: – deliver, pluck out, rescue. G138: Probably akin to G142; to take for oneself, that is, to prefer.
Here’s the deal with this one, are YOU really going to do this? Pluck out your eye and throw it on the ground? No. Do you really think Jesus wants any of us to do this? No.
But listen, if your eyes or your hands are leading you down the wrong path, you need to rescue yourself. Stop looking at what you are looking at. Stop picking up what you are picking up. It’s about gaining control over your emotions. Stop telling yourself just because you aren’t touching, you are not sinning.
It IS possible to look at the opposite sex and not want them for your own, not want to have sex with them, and not get to a point where you have inappropriate feelings for them. Don’t believe it? If you have a sister/brother, mother/father, aunt/uncle, grandmother/grandfather, niece/nephew, or even an older neighbor/teacher – you know you don’t look at them and desire them. Everyone, even sexual predators, are able to look at someone and not have a desire to make them theirs, or have sex with them. So you know you have a base line for how you should feel when looking at the opposite sex (who is not your spouse), if you feel otherwise, you need to address the issue.
By the way, Jesus didn’t say, if you see a woman in person and … no … this means women who are on paper or screen as well. Don’t kid yourself.
And I would assume that Jesus did not mean to imply it would be okay for a woman to lust after a man, it’s not. At that time, I’m guessing since women were basically property, it wasn’t even a thought that a woman might want after a man.
It’s about guarding your heart, your passions, your desires. Looking at each human being in a pure way.