Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lust vs Greed

There are some interesting posts on Root Cause Analysis over at Ventilation. Amy basically breaks down our root issues into three core issues: Pride, Lust, and Greed. I've had a hard time with this because of the similarities between Lust and Greed. Both seem to be the illogical want of a material object. We all know that one can "lust" after a car, and having too many cars makes you greedy, but what is the true difference? How can you tell if your root sin is lust or greed? I can understand Pride's difference. A prideful person wants someone else to lust after them, the desired change is in someone else. With lust and greed, the desired change is a transfer of ownership (it could be a person or a thing). We could make an arbitrary distinction and say that lust is toward people and greed is toward objects, but God typically isn't arbitrary. Instead, I thought I would ponder this subject in my usual thinking spot: the shower.

What I realized is that a sin could be traced back to any one of the three root issues. A murder could occur due to pride, greed, or lust. Saying that lust was reserved for people and greed was reserved for objects was too arbitrary, just like I had intuited. Instead, you have to examine the perversion behind the sin. Greed is a perversion of Hope; Lust is a perversion of Love. I'm not entirely sure I understand either, but I have blogged before on Love, so I'll let those blogs stand. Hope, however, is a different story. At one time, I thought Hope was only about the knowledge that there was an after-life and that what we had in this world doesn't matter. That makes a nice antithesis for greed and I put it aside. But, recently I learned that there was more to Hope. Hope was also the belief in a Plan (not predestination - plans can go astray) and Hope is our believe that something better exists for our lives now if we wait for it. Hope is both pre and post mortem.

Armed with our knowledge and definitions of the root goodnesses, we can attack the root issues. Greed wants something due to a perversion of hope. Therefore, a greedy person is in a state of despair and disappointment. They want objects or people because they feel that nothing better is coming. They are buying the car because they think all the other car dealers are closed. This person must be slowly convinced of God's power and his Plan and then they can be set on the right path.

Lust wants something due to a perversion of Love. A lustful person doesn't take the time to understand when something is impulse vs acquired. They have three cars because they want three cars. They are not a car afficianado, they don't care if something better is out there, they just want the car. Oddly enough, this is what we typically think of when we think of Greed. However, it is exactly because they haven't stopped to think about Love and what it means to them that they are in this Lustful predicament. For the traditional definition, if a lustful person sees an attractive person, they want to sleep with that person - not because they love them, simply because "they are there." Contrast that to someone with low self-esteem who sleeps around because they need to feel loved, that is a case of Greed.

Once again, the important thing is that to understand the root issue, you must understand its perversion. A sin can belong to any of the issues; it is up to us to understand why the sin is occurring and then change our behaviours accordingly.

Good luck!

1 comment:

Jens Hultgren said...

Very interesting view on the Lust/Greed subject, which I found had a much too vague distinction between the two for needed separate names.

Thank you for this post and giving me an answer to my ponderings.