Dear 100 Hour Board,
Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). When does looking end and lusting begin?
- Vorpal Blade
Dear Vorpal Blade,
As a general measure, if you look at someone and think "NCMO" you've gone too far.
But in all seriousness, most human beings (especially teens and adults) are familiar enough with the feelings of lust, attraction, love, etc., that I think SNB is right - a person knows for themselves when they've gone too far, and we can't make that judgment call for them. It's not the Board's job to define lust for each individual case.
Jesus didn't give hyper-distinct examples and boundaries when he taught all this stuff because, in all reality, we shouldn't need that level of specificity. If Jesus didn't feel the need to outline it for us, I don't see the need for us to do it either. Jesus taught principles and left us to make our own decisions. Therefore, if you feel like you are lusting and not just looking and you feel bad about it you can correct yourself and repent and try to avoid doing that in the future.
Looking ends and lusting begins when you start lusting. There's no magical line that everyone can look at and say "okay, that's when it turns into lusting." The principles you are talking about are personal for each individual. For some people, a longer or deeper look is just a longer or deeper look. For others, it may not even take the physical act of looking at someone for them to be lusting.
I think as humans we long for a universal boundary that we can look to so we can be sure we are on the right side of the line. But that's not how most things in life work. Modesty is not a set boundary. Lusting is not a set boundary. Worthiness is not a set boundary. Salvation is not a line that we cross. With that being said, I also believe that we each know when we are "crossing the line."
Anyways, I guess my answer flips the question back to you: Vorpal Blade, when does looking end and lusting begin in your life?
-Sunday Night Banter
I think it's unhelpful to operationalize principles (i.e., redefine principles as specific behaviors). A rule is a step removed from the principle itself and distracts from the ideal we are striving toward.