April 11, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Lust #5: Love Turns to Hate





Monte W. Holland


     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.





#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)



SCRIPTURE: 1 David had a beautiful daughter named Tamar, who was the sister of Absalom. She was also the half sister of Amnon, who fell in love with her. 2 But Tamar was a virgin, and Amnon could not think of a way to be alone with her. He was so upset about it that he made himself sick…     Amnon said, “Send the servants out of the house.” After they had gone, 10 he said to Tamar, “Serve the food in my bedroom.” Tamar picked up the bread that she had made and brought it into Amnon’s bedroom. 11 But as she was taking it over to him, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me!” 12 She answered, “No! Please don’t force me! This sort of thing isn’t done in Israel. It’s disgusting! 13 Think of me. I’ll be disgraced forever! And think of yourself. Everyone in Israel will say you’re nothing but trash! Just ask the king, and he will let you marry me.” 14 But Amnon would not listen to what she said. He was stronger than she was, so he overpowered her and raped her. 15 Then Amnon hated her even more than he had loved her before. So he told her, “Get up and get out!” 16 She said, “Don’t send me away! That would be worse than what you have already done.” But Amnon would not listen. 17 He called in his servant and said, “Throw this woman out and lock the door!” 18 The servant made her leave, and he locked the door behind her. (2 Samuel 13:1-2, 9b-18a CEV)

DEVOTION:  What a horrible story! Lust turns to overwhelming desire, ultimately turning into rape. Such events warn us that lust is a powerful and dangerous sin. Love is our highest goal in life. Nothing is better than loving God. Loving neighbor and self are also prescribed in the Great Commandment.

     God is intentional. Some prohibitions are in place for a purpose. Very deep emotions, like love, must be


handled very carefully. Most persons experience the intensity of romantic love at some time or for a long time in their lifetime. When I first fell in love, it was like nothing before. The desire to be near one’s love can consume us. But it should be better than this love of Amnon. Authentic loved desires the best for the other person. What happens between them is a joint decision.

     Soap opera story lines thrive on deception, lies, and frivolous behavior in romantic relationships. The net result is destroyed lives and multiple family disruptions. Amnon’s story is one for the soap opera writers. Look at how it unfolds—intense desire, deception and lies, lack of agreement over the relationship, and getting one’s way by force. The story doesn’t end there. There is no remorse or guilt. Instead there is a hatred and total rejection of the one who was harmed.

     What a convoluted mess. Amnon could not have been further from reflecting God’s glory. When lust leads us beyond the bounds of authentic relationships in romantic love, the door is open to most evil behavior and any associated evil emotions.

     God spelled it out quite well when he forbade fornication. Sexual relations outside marriage put the participants on paths that potentially can destroy relationships and separate persons from lives that glorify God. Two very intense emotions are very close neighbors—love and hate. It takes great effort on our part to stay on the path of love and lives that bring glory to God.

PRAYER: Loving God, we often think that we can handle a little lust and be cavalier about how we love. You know better. Keep us keenly aware of danger of lust and keep us under the care of your Holy Spirit. Amen.


To start at the beginning of this Lenten study on the Seven Deadly Sins, click on: Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger #5: Only Jesus’ Way


To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Gluttony #5: Being Spiritually Nourished





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