CHASTITY IN THE LAND OF LUST

Understanding Lust:

I have seen people using lust and love as similar meaning words on many occasions. But the meanings of these two words are completely different.

Unlike love, lust is extremely self-centered, it never allows a person to see anyone else but himself or herself, it lets a person focus someone’s physical body than their inner beauty and it lets a person to have physical intimacy than establishing a deep emotional bonding with another.

Let me explain how lust can affect a person…

Have you ever seen a drunkard blabbering on a road tottering from this side to that side of it? Yes, we all must have witnessed it many times on the streets.

Do people take him seriously whatever he says in that fully drunk state? No, because we all know it very well that the drunkard is not in his own control.

Lust is a state something of that kind. It is an experience of intense carnal urges and unbridled sexual craving. Lust is not an emotion, but it involves the experience of fleshly enjoyment with anticipation of sexual pleasure.

Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and psychoanalyst says, “Lust provides a rare window through which you can view your vulnerabilities as you are swept away by your imagination.”

But the condition is, only if we can realise about our vulnerabilities then we can learn from it for a future reference otherwise we move towards destruction gradually.

Depth of Lust:

We all know, how different companies produce different products for their customers according to what they wished in their minds. In the same way, the media produces different films and series basing on the mindsets and desires of people of this world today.

Would you believe that the psychological disorders which I had studied while doing a counselling degree are now slowly being accepted as sexual preferences or choices?

Let me explain…

BDSM which has been unknown to most of the people previously has become popular among many today. I feel very scared to even think about it even.

I watched a series recently on the same subject and was amazed how it ended. A married woman who loves her husband a lot. The husband is a very good man and loves his wife as well. They didn’t have any problems whatsoever. But the woman always feels very lonely staying all the time at home when her husband is at work. She eventually meets a man on a chatting site who insists her to meet him at his place. She doesn’t agree initially but thought of giving a try as she is attracted to what the man used to write about sexual submission and dominance. And finally, she visits him and submits to his dominance. She suffers from a psychological issue later on and to help her out, her husband comes to know about her secret life. The story ends with the husband releasing his wife to that man. Message of the story was – Lust won over the chastity of marriage.

Examples like the above, are many, I can’t list them out all here.

Famous psychiatrist and author Judith Orloff, M.D. rightly says, “As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen how intense sexual attraction is notorious for obliterating common sense and intuition in the most sensible people.”

Crimes Led By Lust:

Lust is an intense mental state which leads a person to commit heinous and soul stirring crimes.

The Bible mentions a good king who fell for a beautiful woman, slept with her and to marry her, he murdered her husband craftily.

We are aware of the crimes against women and children in the forms of sexual abuses, molestations, rapes caused by lust.

Have you ever heard about ‘Lust Murder’? Wikipedia explains, “A lust murder is a homicide in which the offender searches for erotic satisfaction by killing someone”. I was shaken literally when I read this sentence.

Apart from strong sexual urges, lust can also depict intense cravings for food, money and power as well which ultimately leads to various small and big crimes happening daily around us. Lust of money leads people to rob things from others. Lust of food makes people sick and obese. Lust of power creates disparity in the country and war situations around the world.

Chastity against lust:

In this context of lust, talking about Chastity seems meaningless and impossible. Isn’t it? It looks like Chastity has been swallowed up by the lust of human beings in this world. But we all are aware of the consequences; lust can only lead us to destruction.

The Bible stirs our minds with few thought-provoking questions –

“Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?
Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?”

We know the answer very well. Lust is like fire, like burning hot coals that can burn our chest, our body if we embrace onto it. It can burn our feet if we walk on its path.

Chastity is also a state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse. Basically, chastity means sexual purity.

So, as human we can live in one or other way – live a life of purity or lead an impure life. We can’t stay in a 50-50 condition because, a tiny bit of impurity soils and spoils everything. Yes, I understand that we as human are not perfect, we have weaknesses but there have to have a constant striving within us for perfection – moving from impurity to purity. When we stay stagnant at a point, we stay impurity of lust.

In short, I want to mention a few helpful points for our striving towards Chastity in the land of lust. They are as under:

Guarding my eyes: The Bible says, ““I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman”. There’s a tendency in us to look at another person of the opposite sex with lust but when we prayerfully practice it not to do so, one day we see the result ourselves. Practice makes a man perfect. But there has to have goal setting and willingness to strive for a life of purity.

Guarding my mind: The Bible says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”The Bible verse doesn’t contradict the natural instinct of human beings getting attracted to the physical bodies of people of the opposite gender. In fact, that is how we are made! But, lust in the mind creates a craving for adultery in action – “a thought of having physical or sexual relationship with the woman I am looking at.”The eyes look at the woman, sends the message back and there’s a thought evolves in the mind instructing the eyes to look at the woman again and again. But when we guard our mind by constant striving, we can help stopping the lustful thought process and ultimately, we can hope for a positive result one day.

Guarding my steps: I always need to know whom I am following, what I am following. Am I feeding myself with filthy stuffs or feeding myself with good things? I can’t expect to be pure if I keep watching pornography. I can’t expect to be compassionate if I rear hatred in my heart. I can’t strive for chastity if I keep looking at this woman or that.

The Bible says,Don’t imitate the behavior and patterns of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” If I want to change the mindset of my community and the people around me then I have to first change myself. That is possible if I do what is right. I can do what is right if I know and understand what is right. If I follow what people are doing then I will surely be faltering sooner or later. I need to know where and how I am walking in my life.

Friends! Preaching is easy, practicing is very hard, and living it, is all the more difficult. It is a challenge for all of us to maintain Chastity in the midst of a lustful world but it is not impossible and also beneficial for us. Let’s keep guarding our eyes, our minds, and our steps.

Stay Blessed!

HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS?

I asked a question to my near and dear ones: “How do you tackle the temptations when you come across them?” It is a broad question and can not be elaborated in short. What I meant was – “What is the first shield of protection you hold to resist the temptation you face?”  In fact I went back to the same persons and asked this specific question and their replies were same.  The replies were:

“I ask myself if I really can do without it.  I take time.”

“I increase my will… If I have to lose weight, then I determine not to eat Puchka…(Crispy Indian Snack)” 😉

“Well… I give in to some and resist some…. I don’t resist all temptations… and the ones I do, I use logic to resist…”

“Depends on my will power at that point of time and my state of mind… Sometimes I just give in and when I do – I try not to feel guilty… My shield is – distraction.”

“I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself.”

“I will do just a prayer to God to help me through the situation…”

“Think of the consequences.”

“I first think what will happen to my identity.”

“Prayer – that’s the key for me. Taking it to God.”

“I will think if its really necessary for me…”

“I will rely on my sense of right and wrong…. The first thing I will remind myself that it’s not the right thing to do… And I have this very bad habit of trying to be in everyone’s good books… So I will be conscious of how will I look to others if I do this…”

The replies were commendably honest and fabulous. I appreciate all to have let their hearts open before me.

Now, let’s get into a study of the word ‘Temptation‘.

The web or Google dictionary defines it as: “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” So a temptation is always something WRONG that we fall into.

Vocabulary.com explains it as: “Temptation is something you want to have or to do, even though you know you shouldn’t.” So a temptation is wrong and we KNOW it while falling prey to it.

Wikipedia describes it as: “Temptation is a desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals. It is the inclination to sin.” So a temptation can CAPTIVATE it’s prey.

There’s one Christiananswers.net which defines it as: “Temptation is common to all.” So a temptation is UNAVOIDABLE in life.

WOW!

We got to know some facts about the word Temptation  which I have mentioned above in CAPITAL case.

Now the question arises, “how to resist the temptations?”

  1. Fleeing Away from it: I loved a reply which goes like this, “I take time”. It is always safe when we take ourselves away from the temptations… from the place… from the object of temptations etc. Another reply was, “Distraction”. That is also a similar kind of strategy that keeps us away from the direct effects of temptation. The Bible instructs us: “flee from the youthful lusts”, “flee for lives…” etc. So sometimes FLEEING AWAY from the area of temptation helps us to resist it because it is not very easy to resist it.
  2. Practice on a Daily Basis: Another reply was, “I increase my will or have a strong will power…”. Having a strong determination or will power really helps us to resist the temptations, but it is not at all easy as temptations are plenty and unavoidable in life. So how to increase our will power? It’s a daily affair… we need to consider many such things in our life that are weakening our will power. Recognizing them and getting rid of them are important in our practice of being determined. So how to do that? Avoid pornographic contents, jokes, talks, erotica etc., if you are being tempted to sexual stuffs. Instead make a habit of reading good contents, studying scriptures, staying in safe places, watching good movies etc. Another thing we need to consider is that with whom do we associate on a daily basis…? Who are our friends…? Peer pressure and friend circle are the biggest reasons behind our being led into different kinds of temptations. They totter our will power… so it is better to change our friend circles if they are not helping us to resist the temptations. The Bible instructs, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” That helps a great deal for sure in strengthening our mind and will power.
  3. Be Accountable to Someone close: Sometime ago I asked one of my sisters to be a person whom I will report everything that I do… It is not that she will instruct me or keep a check on me but that helps. It reminded me that if I have to tell her the truth about myself then I need to do what is right… It is not easy to do that but why not give it a try. One of the replies above was, “I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself”.
  4. Relying on a Greater Strength: Two of the above replies were about “Praying to God” which is really very essential. The carnal desires are very natural and defeating them with carnal strength is daunting and sometimes impossible. So divine intervention always makes things easier for us. Prayer is the way we stay connected to our Creator God. Another reply was about relying on our conscience, on our sense of right and wrong… Staying connected to the divinity sharpens our conscience. We become sensitive to the wrong and right things in life… It becomes easier for us to differentiate between a right thing and a wrong thing. I remember one more scripture portion where it says, “…when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. Wow! That’s amazing! Our loving God is always ready to help us and show us a way out whenever we call on to Him.

Concluding my article I would like to say that, temptation is like an apple kept in front of you after you are starving for hours without eating anything. Before you think about your identity, about the consequences, about using our logic to resist you fall flat in the trap of temptations… It is not so easy to resist the temptations of life but take heart it is not impossible either. Somebody very close to my heart says,

There have been times in which I have yielded to temptations too, even after knowing God’s standards fully well. Then the only way out is to confess and seek HIS forgiveness. As a reflection, I have always come to the conclusion that whenever I have given in to temptation, I have placed someone/something over and above God.

Let’s gather ourselves today, tighten our belt on the waist and stand firm to RESIST the temptation by considering all above.

Stay Blessed!!!

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?

Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?”

THRILL KILLS

Should I or shouldn’t I? What’s the harm?

How far is too far?

After all how am I to assure my loyalty to the person I love if I don’t give myself completely to him / her?

How can we know if we are sexually compatible with each other if we don’t explore each other? After all, sex is important in marriage!

These questions reflect the dilemma that echoes deep within the minds of adolescents and young adults – those who are dating and also those who are not. There is a common misconception in young minds, thanks to the movies and daily soaps, that love means physical intimacy. The dramatic ways in which scenes are portrayed – a guy brushing past a girl creating ripples in her heart, an accidental touch of a guy which the girl recalls repeatedly forcing her to desperately seek him, and such others – create a false imagery of love and sex in the minds of people.

Sex doesn’t mean love. Love ought to lead to sex, but only within the legal and moral boundaries of marriage. This is God’s design for man. There is none other!

The arguments of experimentation, modernity (I am a cool person!), failure of marriages, youthful pleasures – don’t hold ground at all. The consequences of pre-marital sex are widely known. Hence, it’s good to reflect upon what are the triggers of pre-marital sex and how and why to stay away from the experience.

  1. Craving for love – A time when a person is desperate for love in life and is willing to give anything and everything to have the love of that one precious person in life, is the time when people take the extra step of giving in to sexual desires. Love is not an act. It is a commitment – a commitment for life, not merely for sexual pleasure.
  2. Staying alone for long – When young people move away from their families for education, work, etc. the need for intimacy is fulfilled by having sex. When you move away from home, network well with people around – people who have strong value systems.
  3. Pornography – Obscene movies, videos, watching pornography trigger the release of sex hormones in an individual. And so, the easiest way is to satisfy the burning sexual desires at that time. Guard your senses! Don’t allow your eyes to wander into unwanted territories. Don’t allow your fingers to click on the unwanted icons and links. Keep yourself occupied with fruitful activities in your leisure time. Don’t feed your passion!
  4. Experimentation ­­ – A seventeen year old I was interacting with, told me that everything should be experimented in life – after all we have just one life! Remember, all things are permissible. But, all things are not beneficial. Wrong experimentation doesn’t lead to discoveries. It creates explosions! So, stay away!
  5. Strengthening loose bonds – When a patch-up happens after a phase of friction, the time is volatile for physical intimacy in order to strengthen loosened bonds. Remember, there are no pressure lines in true love! Bonding is created and maintained by trust, not by sex.
  6. Pressure – Pressure from partners is one of the major reasons why people agree to sex before marriage. Sex is not a test of loyalty. Sex is not a test of love. If you are facing sexual pressure in your love relationship, reconsider the relationship. True love honours and so is honoured in return. Real men respect women, their choices and their bodies.

Sexual promiscuity outside the wedlock is bondage. Along with the physical consequences of unwanted pregnancies, contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases, hormonal imbalances, emotional consequences of insecurity and guilt, social consequences of being discovered by parents, relatives, friends and future spouse, are also heavy spiritual consequences. Sex before marriage is a dishonor to the institution of marriage established by God. It is a sin. Hence, it leads to detachment from God.

Why indulge in something that gives a momentary sensation of thrill but forces one to pay heavy prices in return? Point to ponder.

PREMARITAL SEX IS INJUSTICE TO THE NEW BORN BABIES

I had a very healthy discussion about Premarital Sex with one of my best friends. We had disagreements on some aspects which I am not going to mention here… LOL… But will definitely raise the point on which we both agreed.

I am quoting her statement: “When baby is born without marriage, then there is a third person also involved – which is the baby… And that’s not right… that child is born to be messed up. And then unmarried individuals can never really be so committed to bring up a child together… So an injustice would be done to the child.”

And my reply to her was: “So that’s why marriage boundary is essential for that particular risk.”

Her response was: “Yes. That I totally agree with.”     

Keeping the moral and religious issue aside for some time and thinking in the line what we discussed… it is evident that “Premarital Sex” is an injustice for the child born out of that act.  

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Original Link: “thenationalcampaign.org

The above picture depicts how teenage or pregnancy without being married has been such an injustice to the new born babies!!!

This is seriously not accepted.

Keep reading, keep discussing…

Stay Blessed!!! 

(Picture Sources: Google.com)

NEVER NEGLECT YOUR OWN EMOTIONS

Today, I am gonna write about a girl whom I have known from an NGO, I am associated with. The NGO works towards eradicating sexual harassment and rape.

Neha, even though she is very young, is a superb speaker. Her talks are very motivational. There are a lot of qualities in her which interested me.. I was quite impressed by the way she handled a 12 year old girl facing sexual harassment. She did have the knack of it, yes, she had the knack of reading emotions quite well. She very well knew till what extent she had to offer help, and then empower the girl to lead the fight on her own, which is great. She cannot be everywhere where the girl may face this again. 

Few months back , we volunteers were chatting about our personal lives as well as the professional fronts. The chat turned directions and we started discussing about sexual harassment at workplace. She was all silent, but at a certain stage she burst open and in a loud voice said “Men would never change. No matter how much we try to be friendly, they are in their own world ” and then she turned silent again.

I observed her all along our conversation, she was uninterested in the talk. While we were about to go home, I asked her if there was anything wrong?

She waited a minute, looked at me and started to cry. She did spend a lot of time crying before she opened up and said that she was facing sexual harassment at her work place.

Can you please pause for a minute and think what the problem could be ?  A motivational speaker, volunteer of an NGO working on sexual harassment, aware of all the laws and ways help can be procured from, then why is she suffering ? What is the use of her knowledge ?

If I were to put it in one single sentence, she was not giving enough importance to her own emotions.

She had an outburst because she has been piling up the feeling of hurt inside her. Lodging a complaint against the harassment is only first step, she has to deal with the emotional trauma. Not being able to do this has resulted in her current situation.

Not only Neha, few people who are very empathetic, understanding and have the intelligence to handle the emotional part of relationships very well fail to give enough attention to their own feelings. So true it is,  that I came across few tens of people and I am also one of them.

We need to find ways to address our emotions. Not getting along with our own emotions, negative or positive are only going to ruin our future. We humans ignore what we feel, as we grow and become more responsible, which is good, but we need to be very careful with our after thoughts.

Anger, envy, frustration, hurt, disappointment, love, happiness, grief, fury, ecstasy – what ever the emotion is, respect it.

Emotional Quotient is not only being able to recognize others feelings but our own too… We tend to miss one or the other. Some can be very empathetic to others and some give more importance to their own feelings. Neither is wrong; it depends on the situation, what needs more attention and also finding the right balance to nurture the inter-personal relationships.

Your emotion may become secondary, but never shall be lost.

 

Aastha revised

MARRIAGE A CONTRACT OR COVENANT?

(In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happily Ever After.”)

Marriage is a wonderful relationship, which according to general opinion is made in heaven. It is partially true because marriage is a union instituted by God, but also the partners have to play vital role to keep the fire of love burning on earth. It involves the active participation of both the partners in working out a good, healthy and everlasting marriage.

hand-861275_1920In the present generation with modern ideas about freedom and self- centeredness creeping in, marriage is viewed as a Contract between two persons. Two people make a deal to experience “live in” relationship as long as it suits them. With the appearance of suffocation and boredom, the partners split with mutual understanding. These relationships are not based on love but selfishness and ambitions, which can be easily broken. Sometimes marriage is treated like a business deal. Faithfulness until the work is done.

The correct perspective of marriage is that it is a Covenant between two people along with the presence and witness of a third party (actually the first) i.e. God. The seriousness of the Covenant relationship can be understood when we look at the unfailing and ongoing relationship of God with human beings. Though we fail time and again to keep our promises of faithfulness and love towards God, yet God remains faithful and never gives up on us.

A Covenant signifies an eternal relationship. It cannot break with the storms and tempests of life. Rather it grows stronger and sweeter with each passing hurdles. When two people commit themselves to each other for a lifetime, it demands undivided devotion, unflinching love, and unwavering faithfulness towards each other. This is possible only with God as the strong Foundation. If He is the chief corner stone, friend, philosopher and guide of both the partners, there is 100% guaranty that any marriage, no matter how miserably mismatched according to the worldly standard will never hit the rocks but will always have a safe landing in spite of rough weather.

Swapna Nanda

LOOKING AT A WOMAN LUSTFULLY

Finally, the ‘Lustful Week’ has come to an end… 😉

Throughout the week we have addressed teenagers and adolescents with regards to the issue of ‘Attraction & Lust.’ But are we, adults free from lust? Do we guard our eyes effectively?

I remember an incident described by my cousin when we were teenagers. He & his friend went to their coaching class. While returning they saw a known uncle coming out of an adult Movie Theatre. These two mischievous creatures went right in front of him and greeted him. The Uncle! Huh! Literally ran away from them feeling ashamed.

One Bible verse really struck me.  I could not proceed further when my eyes fell on this Bible verse in Matthew 5:28 (NIV) where it says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

I started searching for the parallel versions of the same verse to see the synonyms of the word ‘lustfully.’ I found the verse in different translations which are taken from ‘biblelexicon(dot)org’ as follows:

New American Standard (©1995)
‘but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’

King James Bible
‘But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.’

Young’s Literal Translation
‘but I — I say to you, that every one who is looking on a woman to desire her, did already commit adultery with her in his heart.’

What does the word ‘lust’ really mean? Is it looking at a woman’s breasts? Is it admiring the curves of a woman? Or is it thinking of going to bed with the woman I am looking at? The word ‘lust’ really confused me.

Google search gives the meaning/meanings as under:

Noun: Very strong sexual desire.

Verb: Have a very strong sexual desire for someone.

Synonyms: Noun. desire – craving – longing – passion – concupiscence

Verb: crave – hanker – desire – yearn – covet – thirst – long

The Lexicon online Bible says, the original word in Greek is: epithumeó 

It describes the word in English further as: ‘to show focused passion,’ ‘greatly desire to do or have something.’

Before I could conclude on the meaning of the word ‘lust,’ the article which we read few days ago on last Sunday came into my mind suddenly.

Yeah! I am talking about the Mega Article written by Prabhjot which clearly states that it is a natural instinct of men to look at the curves, breasts etc., of women to whom they ultimately get attracted to marry. That is how we are created.

I found two conflicting thoughts within my mind. Both the Bible verse and the article seemed alright to me yet, why there seemed to be a contradiction? Or was I missing the difference somewhere?

I decided to do an in-depth study on the word ‘adultery,’ because that’s the result of our natural instinct.

The web meaning says: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.”

The Lexicon online Bible confirms it with a definition: I commit adultery (of a man with a married woman, but also of a married man).

Adultery involves illicit relationship between a married man or woman. The Bible verse doesn’t contradict the natural instinct of human beings getting attracted to the physical bodies of people of the opposite gender. In fact, that is how we are made! But, lust in the mind creates a craving for adultery in action – “a thought of having physical or sexual relationship with the woman I am looking at.”

There is a big difference between ‘a thought of having physical or sexual relationship with the woman’ and ‘just getting attracted to the physical beauty of a woman.’ The natural instinct of a man to get attracted to a woman is for choosing a life partner which is not needed for married men anymore.  So, as a married man I simply cannot have both kinds of thoughts running in my mind at the same time.

This is really a struggle many of us go through today. We need to improve not just to show our spirituality but also to show our faithfulness and love for our beloved spouses. This is a practical and a day-to-day issue for all irrespective of our beliefs. We need to improve and grow daily as ‘complete men,’ physically, mentally and spiritually.

(NOTE: Please be open and feel free to comment in support of or against my views. Please also provide your view points on this issue. This article is not for the Christians but for the all to read, comment and share their view points.)

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor.