One of the toughest things about relationships is that different feelings don’t have nice, neat boundaries. The emotions we feel blur at the edges. Excitement can feel a lot like fear and loyalty can morph to jealousy. And what we sometimes think is “love” is really “just lust”. With the world today making everything about sex, that’s an especially common line to cross. But we can’t just put love in one box and lust in a completely different container. Human emotions don’t work that way. So how can we tell the difference between loving someone and lusting for someone?.
What’s the difference between love and lust?
As always the best place to start is the bibles explanation of love and list. When scripture encourages us to “love” it uses Greek and Hebrew words meaning things like “honor, appreciate, support, and help”,(Eph 5:25-29). The Bible’s idea for love is something selfless, supportive, and sacrificial (1corint 13:4-11) on the other hand “lust” is entirely associated with sex, sexual pleasure and selfishness (matt 5:27-28, Rom 1:24). That gives is a good start on knowing the difference.
Using those biblical definition we can craft a test for when our emotions seems fuzzy. Evaluating our feeling based on biblical definition can give us a pretty good idea of whether or not what we feel is “love” or “just list”. The key question for this test is: what exactly do I love about this person?
This is an easy question to ask but often very difficult to answer honestly. Even in today’s sex- soaked world, we know we’re supposed to appreciate a person for more than their physical attractiveness.
And when the urge for sex takes priority, we’re tempted to pick out some safe, bland, cliché response to ” what do I love about this person”?, then use that as an excuse to indulge in lustful thoughts or behavior.
That’s why, as you examine your thought and emotions, its extremely important to be as totally brutally honest with yourself as possible. Don’t answer how you think you should, but rather as you truly feel, even if you don’t like the answer. You may reveal a truth about yourself you never knew. Then again, it helps confirm what you only hoped for to be true.