You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Years ago President Jimmy Carter admitted this to Playboy magazine:
"I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."I wonder what he meant by that? I think that his confession seems to ignore the deeper issues of lust and how much intent, or motive, factors into it. So often lust is stereotyped and trivialized because of sentiments such as the one that President Carter expressed.
I have found that lustful intent is a complicated matter. People often rush to superficial conclusions rather than trying to understand the underlying aspects (i.e. intents) of it. I have found that, in general, men cower in shame and fear. And others are often not very helpful.
I think that lustful intent is on the same level as covetousness and envy. It is basically wanting something that you cannot have. In that respect the sexual aspect of lust is more of a symptom like stealing is to coveting. In each case the outward manifestation is symptomatic of something deeper.
Lord, help me to keep my intentions pure.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.