Lust as Addiction

We know that lust and sexual addiction affects the soul and body and that God intended for sexuality to be a loving part of a lawful marriage between a man and a woman for the intended purpose of engaging in communion with Him.

Fr. Christophe begins this examination with a review of St. Paul’s words in Romans 1, where the apostle describes for us the detrimental effects that uncontrollable lust has on the body and soul of the one who suffers from addiction to it: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanliness in the lusts of their hearts to dishonor their bodies among themselves who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions, for even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another: men with men, committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness. They are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful. Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, but those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

We see from Paul’s words that lust was introduced into the world after the Fall. Because of man and woman’s rejection of God’s glory, lust became manifest and continues to cause destruction in the world to this day. The consequence of lust is death; not always physical, but most certainly spiritual. Lust causes a separation of the soul from the body by way of producing a selfishness that causes one person to look at another as a mere object to be used. When we see someone as an object, we then fail to see them as a creation in God’s image and do not love them as we should: with our minds, hearts, soul and body…not just body. The Evil One uses lust, as he does all addictions, to destroy not only the body, but the mind, heart and most especially, the soul. For this reason, lust must be renounced for the passion that it is. Failure to do so results in the disruption of the soul that makes it impossible for us to have communion with the Lord and each other.

Lust is a form of slavery that imprisons both the addict and the object of his/her addiction. We are all familiar with stories about crimes of passion. Lust almost surely played a role in these crimes. It is one of the most debasing and degrading addictions plaguing the world today. In the name of political correctness, politicians, celebrities, the media and others all shamefully attempt to endorse addiction to lust by portraying it as something normal and harmless. But there is nothing harmless about reducing a human being who is meant to be loved to the status of a plaything.

Even in the bonds of marriage, there must be mutual love and respect for each other and each other’s bodies. Sex that is demanded is done so out of selfishness, not out of a genuine desire to share love for one’s spouse. As Fr. Christophe states, marriage is not a license for sex. As God calls us into communion with Him, so we must be in full communion with our spouse and understand that sex is but one part of the holy bond that God intended.

How then can addiction to lust be treated and healing brought to the soul and body of the one who suffers from it? Sexaholics Anonymous provides a 12-step program to help the suffering addict. Fr. Christophe speaks very highly of this organization and the wonderful work that they do. Anyone suffering from addiction to lust is strongly encouraged to find a local chapter to contact for help. Daily prayer for deliverance from the addiction must also play a part in the healing process. For married couples that may be struggling with addiction on the part of one spouse or another can likewise benefit from SA and daily prayer. Guidance from a spiritual father is also highly recommended.

Fr. Christophe concludes by admonishing us to remember that battling any addiction is exactly that: a battle. As with all warfare, we need to avail ourselves of a life of prayer more than anything in order to combat the evil powers that are at work with lust and the sin itself in our flesh, which is a power that we cannot cope with nor defeat without the grace that comes from the Lord himself.