What is the difference between love, desire and lust? If we’re listening to the conversation in today’s circles, not much! Tolerance and equality it seems can also means acceptance of that which isn’t necessarily moral or good.
Allow me to explain. A friend of mine, we’ll call him George, once dearly “loved” three young women. They too apparently loved him. Like family, they quickly became more than “good friends”. George’s heart, however, was torn between them all. Society dictated that he could only legally marry one. But the foursome weren’t dissuaded. They assumed suburban “family life” and in time worked to legalise their relationships. In effect, he was “husband” to three women, which I might add isn’t uncommon in some countries. In terms of Western law the merits of consent and love between an union of more than one man and one woman were still not counted as eligible criteria for the historical and traditionally meaning of “marriage”.
Legally they weren’t married, as civil law defines marriage as the monogamous, lifelong union between one man and one woman. So they sought a compromise. A civil union attempted to legitimise their family status. By that time, several children had been born, and soon various government departments began investigating. The news media quickly picked up the story, and of course it made sensational weekend reading.
Were they not consenting adults who chose their relationships? Weren’t they “in love”? They seemed happy! Perhaps, it’s not about love after all! The vexing question is: who then dictates how they should live their lives, or deny them their “equal rights”? It’s an ongoing topical question that seems to reverberate within today’s media and politics. There are those who uphold traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and those who espouse other models, such as homosexuality, lesbianism, union with to under-age children, transgenderism, as well as polygamy.
Governed by higher law, civil laws generally had adopted and accepted what was understood to form the basis for strong, peaceful and enduring societies based on the healthy, stable family unit constituting paternal father and maternal mother united for life and including the nurture of any children born to that union.
Today, we’re hearing a vocal minority attempting to redefine the family unit without knowing or assessing what future complications and consequences might be – legally or societally. Recognised historically, as is woven throughout our legal system, is the understanding that a loving and responsible father and mother together provide the best environment for a stable, nurturing home for the next generation; it also provides that children have a right to life, a right to be protected, as well as a right to know who their biological father and mother are, and benefit from that nurture. Traditional marriage preserves the family, and therefore society. Unions such as homosexuality and those generally outside of marriage contribute to higher than normal rates of depression, dysfunction and suicide.
In terms of definition, there’s a big chasm between love and lust. It is here that society seems to have blurred the lines. Genuine love leads to covenant, lifelong union between a man and a woman, and that this nurture is extended to the children which in turn benefits society as a whole. Lust, as a base desire, is a powerful and dangerous agent, parading as love but seeking unhealthy sexual fulfilment as it chooses. Lust is not love. It’s an aberration. It may parade as virtue. But it isn’t love – not historically, legally or morally. Lust is, in fact, a lack of self-control, and if not remediated, can be also diagnosed as yet another type of mental illness.
This definition of marriage is one of foundational challenges that society faces today. A minority is actively and avidly working to erase history’s virtues and bastions. One of them is traditional marriage. Of course, traditional marriage is strongly upheld within the faith community. Ordained thousands of years ago, the virtue of traditional marriage has proven its value. Sadly, the assault today on traditional marriage is accompanied by efforts to remove it from its past faith history, and repaint it within the context of a purely secularist and evolutionary-modelled society.
Another example of this might help. We no longer count the years as from AD, a Latin term meaning “Year of our Lord” (a reference to Christ’s birth), in recent times having subtly changed AD for CE (meaning “Common Era”). Why the change? Perhaps there is an assault on faith history! Another example: Today we call babies in utero as “foetuses or embryos” which seem to be an additional attempt to further dehumanise them, and thus giving abortion greater legitimacy. Thus, family and faith values seem to have been progressively eroded in more ways than one.
Western society, it seems, is progressively stripping away traditional and historical connections with the past, especially faith-oriented belief, in an overt but sometimes subtle attempt to promote its new, moral-less agenda. Changes to legislation are sometimes slow and subtle, other times vocal and condescending, but either way progressively swaying the morality and opinion of greater numbers of people.
Yet the fact remains that lust and uncontrolled desire is not love. It has no place in marriage. It has no place in relationships. It has no place in society. For some it is an illness; for others it is a deliberate obsession and perversion.
Concerned people of faith, parents and grandparents, need to know with certainty the legacy they’re leaving the next generation. Perhaps it’s time to not only voice genuine concern for the brokenness of society, but be also able to articulate their position and reason as to why a belief in traditional family values and traditional marriage as modelled over thousands of years, is the only way forward.