Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Code, Pt II

This post is to tag-team with Scott's "The Code" post. His dealt with the social issues of dress, modesty, and hypocrisy. Part II looks inward at the eye, the motives, and the intents of the heart.

"The lamp of the body is the eye. Then if your eye is wholesome, all your body is light. But if your eye is evil, all your body is dark. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Mt 6:22-23, Green's Literal Translation)

I think this strange saying from the Sermon on the Mount holds enormous power for the life of faith. It follows the seven "but I say unto thee's", and is couched right in the greed and worry verses. The broad theme is that faith triumphs over greed, lust and ambition. Here is my commentary.

The "eye" is your outlook, more or less. Do you look at that cute rear end with evil intent? Are you cursing that kid by wishing evil things upon her? Like adultery? Like debauchery? Maybe worse? Do you resent her beauty because you can't rub up against it? If so, the evil eye you cast on others fills you with darkness--you become the evil you project with your eye.

Or, when you see that Sweety, are you blessing with your eye? Do you see a child of God? Do you wish her life and peace? Is this God's handiwork? Is this another man's bride? Is this where babies come from, the hope of humanity? Are you humbled by God's art, content to love her as just a fellow-human? If your eye is wholesome, then all the hips and lips in the world will only fill you with light. You will not stumble or fall.

It goes back to LOVE, "for to love thy neighbor is the sum of the law." THIS is the righteousness from God that comes by faith in his son.


scott said...

I'll openly admit to being somewhere in the middle of those two descriptions. I know the second one -- viewing the girl in the skirt as a child of God -- is the place to be. But it does take some work to get there.

What you said about guilt here really resounds and probably needs to be read and discussed by a good many guys. Most of us, honestly, don't know where the line is between true lust (wanting to have sex with a girl that's not your wife) and needless guilt (glancing at an attractive woman in the mall food court, then feeling bad about it).

Mr. E said...

I agree Scott,

There are three types of men in regards to this area.

# 1 -- Men who have a very healthy relationship with God to the point that they can't see past the person's need for God, in order to even have lust in the first place. Not to many men belong to this group.

# 2 -- Men who earnestly seek a more healthy relationship with God and we struggle (and often worry ourselves to death) over whether we are looking at a person's need for God and His grace, or looking at something that satisfies our desires instead. This group most of us belong to. Are we lusting when we admire the beauty of someone who is not our wife? I don't want to have sex with them, but boy are they good looking! Are we horrible people because we stare a bit too long before we realize what we are doing? We don't even neccesarily think anything un-holy in nature, but we didn't think about what that person may be going through in their life first either.

#3 -- Men who desire anything on two legs. They can't see past their own sinful desires and selfish behaviors to even think about having a true relationship with God or even think about the feelings and needs of the other person.

It is because I belong in group 2 that I commented the way I did in the orignial "The Code" post. It's hard enough for my OCD brain to stay focused on things as it is while at church, I don't appreciate being distracted by things I shouldn't be seeing while I am there. I pray for all men in regards to this. It is a serious struggle for many of us. I'm just glad to know Jesus understands my true desire is to serve him first and not my desires (at least in this area anyway).

Joe B said...

Mr. E states the majority viewpoint very powerfully. I'll speak again from the lunatic fringe:

Only when at my lustful worst do I ever fall into category 1, 2, or 3. All three categories are defined by guilt, and each is just a way of acting it out:
1. pious denial
2. moral agony
3. fatalistic frenzy
Let's look at the bible instead.

"God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gen 1:31)

"...they were naked and unashamed." (Gen 2:25)

"...she ate it...he ate it...and they realized they were naked, so they made coverings." (Gen 3:6-7)

"...sin thru the commandment produce(s) in me all lust" (Rom 7:8, Joe B literal translation)

"without law, sin is dead." (Rom 7:8)

" 'Do not touch! Do not handle! Do not taste!' Such rules lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Col 2:23)

"Christ is of no effect for you who are made righteous by law." (Gal 5:4)

"The only think that works is faith acting in love" (Gal 5:6, Joe B literal)

"The man who gazes into the mature law of freedom...blessed is his work." (Jas 1:25, Joe B literal)

This whole matter is crystal clear to my eye. The only thing that clouds it is unbelief--the church has always said "Faith is too risky to try when it comes to sex, we'd better stick with the old way."
The problem is...the old way does not work. At all. But faith does.

Bethany said...

hey - good post, Joe.

And just from a girl's perspective, there's a lot more to the topic of modesty than meets the eye (har har). I think there's a very real doubt in every girl that they can be loved for more than how they look and what they can give. Because as much as guys say they're really attracted to a girl's personality, it's the pretty ones who get a date. "Modesty talks" (from guys too!) can be life-changing even if it is only internal.

Joe B said...

Good thing that "dates" is not the ultimate goal. It's not at-bats that count, it is home runs. I have one sister who had 5 dates and 5 marriage proposals.

But my cheerleader sister had opposite results. Not as simple as one might think.

Attractive enough is attractive enough. Once you're over that hump it is all about personality, power, magic, thunder, lightning, and, finally, love.

Joe B said...

Which raises an interesting question: If a man is breathlessly in love with his betrothed and longs to pour out his passion upon her...is he guilty of damnable lust?

Should he just go ahead and gouge out his eye and chop off a hand or two? Lest he lust in his heart while the wedding invitations are in the mail?

scott said...

Yes. But it's not his hand that he should chop off.

Just kidding. I'm glad you brought this up, as I know it is a favorite conversation topic. I knew it was just a matter of time! I'll let the others take a crack at this one...

Come on people, who wants to crucify Joe first?

Laura said...

"Attractive enough is attractive enough."

That said, many girls/women don't know where to stop with that...the world throws so much at us about how we need to do this, that or the other thing to make ourselves attractive. And the opposite is true in the church...so often the message is "become more of a frump to be more Godly."

I don't want to be a frump. I also don't want to go overboard in the other direction. Finding the balance is the dificult part, and there are so many contradictory teachings for the women that we find it easier to just ignore it all, and go with what we're COMFORTABLE with...not necessarily what is honorable, just, pure, virtuous, etc...

So, if it comes back to a relationship, how come there is so little grace extended to those whose relationship hasn't yet developed as far as others' have? How come we can extend grace for everything BUT clothing?

Mr. E said...

Hey guys and gals, I know this has nothing to do with the topic at hand but I have a topic on my blog I would really like your opinions on. I hope you don't mind me doing this but here is the link...


Mr. E (Mark English) by the way!