Growing up, I used to get confused about sheep and goats. I usually missed out on which was a goat and which was a sheep. I wasn’t to blame after all. They looked alike. Like an eel and a snake, you could sometimes mistake one for the other. However, an eel was never a snake… and a goat could never be a sheep. They were all distinct creatures.
In the same vein, lust looks like love. In the beginning, they all speak the same language but when the tests of life start walking in, one is distinguished from the other. Lust can never be love… and love is not lust.
Back in primary school, I remember instances when we thought we had fallen head over heels in love with some of our friends. Their names were always on our lips. We went to school early because of them. We became neat students overnight just to get their attention. Amazingly, just when we had progressed to senior high school, we haven't enthused about these friends anymore because we had found others who were more beautiful. When time tests lust [infatuation], it fails.
Lust is a feeling. Love is a decision. Lust can’t stand the test of time because it is only a feeling. Love becomes even more prominent with time because it is a firm decision. In a nutshell, lust is everything love is not.
Love has a language and lust has a language, too. There is an interesting account of Absalom’s sister, Tamar, and her stepbrother, Amnon, in 2 Samuel 13:1-15 [NKJV] which simply sums up lust’s five languages. Amnon, full of lust for his stepsister, trapped and raped her. Right after the disgustful act, he couldn’t stand her sight and threw her out!
Anytime a man or woman is consumed with lust, they begin to speak a particular language. This language sounds like love but it is not. Listen carefully to how people speak when they claim to be in love with you. You may smell lust on their breath!
“Your absence makes me sick!”
“Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick.”— 2 Samuel 13:2a
Lust makes people sick. It is lust that makes people tell others they can’t live without them. Is it not amazing how people sing about how a woman’s love is making them go crazy when in reality, their relationships are nothing to write home about? Lust is what makes people go almost mad, not love.
Amnon was never in love with his sister. He was only lusting after her. Lust makes us distressed over others. When we see them, our hormones start misbehaving. When we don’t see them, these hormones misbehave even more. With time, the whole feeling vanishes into thin air!
It is very easy to misinterpret such feelings as love but it is not. It gets even more dangerous when two people walk down the aisle based on such because that state of excitement has an expiry date.
Lust begins with “I can’t live without you”. Before you know, one will be treating the other as some piece of crap!
“Let’s do it in secret!”
“And she took the pan and placed them out before him, but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, "Have everyone go out from me." And they all went out from him.”— 2 Samuel 13:9 [NKJV]
Lust thrives on secrecy. It always wants to hide because of its evil intentions. When a man or woman lustfully longs after someone, they always hang around with them in the dark. They don’t want anyone to see them. They’ll never visit when their parents are around because lust loves secrecy!
When a man or woman truly loves you, they are not afraid of the light. They are transparent about issues. There are no grey areas in their life. They are open. They are not ashamed to hold your hands in public. They prefer to know your home and come to visit in broad daylight when everyone can see them.
When a man or woman is hiding you from others, it is very likely they are hiding others from you, too. That’s exactly what lust does!
“It is wrong but… damn the consequences!”
“And she answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!””— 2 Samuel 13:12 [NKJV]
Amnon was the
stepbrother of Tamar. Otherwise speaking, Tamar was his sister. It was a taboo to ever imagine sleeping with her and he knew it. He, however, insisted because lust only thinks about instant gratification— tomorrow will take care of itself.
When you see a full grown adult who has raped a baby, it is not because they are mad or have no women of their age. Lust only thinks about now. Lust will carefully plan how to execute evil but forget to plan for the consequences.
Lust thinks only about today. Love thinks about tomorrow. When lust is leading a man to unzip, all that is on his mind is where to offload his pleasure. It is after the pleasure has been offloaded that it occurs to him that it comes with responsibilities and consequences.
Never allow lust to make you take decisions you’ve given only little thought!
“I want you now… or never!”
“However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.”— 2 Samuel 13:14 [NKJV]
Lust is not only selfish but impatient, too. When it wants to have its way, it will do all it can to. One language that hints of lust is the “now” language. Lust-filled people will, for instance, claim to want to marry you now just to have you give in to their sexual demands. Everything seems to happen so fast and so much in haste. Lust has no time to waste because it has an expiry date.
When someone truly loves you, they are always patient because love is patient. They do not look to their desires only because love is not selfish. On the other hand, lust will always look at what benefits it first.
Lust will insist on unprotected sex because whether you contract a sexually transmitted disease or not, it doesn’t give a hoot. It will suggest abortion because it will think about its integrity… not your safety. Lust is selfish… and very impatient.
If someone says they love you, a test their love should pass is patience. Love is in no haste.
“Your presence makes me sick!”
“Then Amnon hated her exceedingly so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!"— 2 Samuel 13:15 [NKJV]
When all has been said and done, lust’s expiry date comes. The presence of the same people whom they claim had swept them off their feet begins to irritate them. They are the last people they would ever want to see.
Lust begins with “Your absence makes me sick!” and ends with “Your presence makes me sick!” When a man is only lusting after a woman, he begins with “I can’t live without you” but just after he has had his way through with her, he starts showing signs of “I can’t live with you!”
Ironically, the weight of lust (which is mistaken for love) we have for people is nothing compared to the weight of hatred we develop for them when those feelings are no more. Lust looks like a twin of love but it’s actually a package of hatred in disguise.
When you see a man maltreating a woman he was once dying for, know that the end of the road is here. When you see a woman busily cheating on a man she was all over some few months ago, know that that relationship is in its dying stages. That’s the last language of lust. The same presence that once brought joy… now brings hatred.
Kobina Ansah is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm.