One of Jesus’ most difficult teachings to align our lives with in today’s hypersexualized culture is his teaching around maintaining custody of our eyes. For most people the first question that arises here is: What is custody of our eyes? It simply means controlling what you allow yourself to see.
The saints considered the gift of sight to be sacred and believed they had a responsibility to guard carefully what they set their gaze upon.
Like so many of life’s choices, what we choose to look at either helps us become the-best-version-of-ourselves and leads us closer to God, or it leads us to betray self and God.
The reality is we are bombarded with images every day that endanger the health and well-being of your soul. When we say that today’s culture is hypersexualized, most people don’t even blink. The reality is that our culture has gone beyond that and is becoming increasingly pornified.
The other impact factor to consider here is that the eye is not content with seeing. In Ecclesiastes 1:8, Solomon advises “the eye is not satisfied with seeing.” So, if the eye is not content with seeing, if seeing does not bring the eye satisfaction, what?
We see and then we covet. The definition of covet is: a yearning to possess. Coveting is more than a simple wishful desire to have something. It is a strong and persistent yearning to take something that belongs to someone else.
To covet is to want what is not rightfully ours. It is to want what is unhealthy for us in mind, body, and soul. And it is said that coveting leads to one of four acts: theft, lying, adultery, or murder.
So where do we begin. Begin by controlling the things you have control over. The excuse we use is that we cannot control everything we look at. Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. Begin with the content you decide to consume each day. Are the things you are viewing in books, magazines, movies, television shows, and on the internet good for your soul?
This may seem radical, but that is just an indication of how far our culture has wandered from virtue in this regard. And what we are discussing is far less radical than the difficult teaching we are focusing on today.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5, verse 27.
There is an epidemic of adultery taking place in our society by society’s definition, by Jesus’ definition it is an all out plague.
Later in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-24)
Our eyes are vital to our spiritual health. Today Jesus challenges us to rethink how we are using and abusing the gift of sight.
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