You see an attractive person in public and your mind instantly starts lusting. What can you do to stop?
By Eddie Capparucci, MA, LPC
The world is filled with beautiful people. There’s at least one attractive person everywhere you go. But for men and women struggling with sexual addiction, an attractive person can serve as a trigger and distraction from maintaining sexual sobriety. So how do you prevent yourself from lusting after attractive people without locking yourself away at home? The following are three healthy principles to follow when it comes to encountering an attractive person that allow us to keep our sexual thoughts from raging out of control.
1. Apply the ‘One Glance Only’ Rule
What can you do when an attractive person crosses your line of sight? Nothing! There is no sin in simply observing and noting the person is attractive. The problem begins when you go back for a second look and allow your eyes to linger and your mind to lust. As a pastor once told me, “The first look is free.” But that is where the looking should end. There should be no “second” looks. We need to take responsibility of our eyes so we don’t lust after others. While at first it is not easy to do, if practiced on a regular basis it becomes the norm for us. One look and one look only. Which leads us to:
2. Place Value on Them
The attractive person is not an object. They are not classical masterpieces that we obsessively devour with our eyes. Instead, they are real people and more than that – just like you – they are children of God. Therefore, they deserve to be treated with respect and not devalued as simply eye candy. This is part of our changing heart and learning to become men of integrity. It is our quest to move away from childish pleasures and demonstrate respect to all.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
3. Prepare Ahead of Time
Temptation is not going away anytime soon. As today’s society continues to promote the idea that “anything goes,” we will only see more and stronger temptations coming across our path. That is why it is not enough to simply be defensive and develop good behavioral strategies – we also need to be proactive and prepare our minds before temptations hit. Strengthening our emotional relationships with God and with healthy individuals around us is the best way to keep ourselves focused on the lust potholes we surely will encounter in our daily lives.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Keep yourself sharp and ready by reading and memorizing Scripture; being in prayer continuously; surrounding yourself with good, healthy community, and by asking God to help you engage in regular self-assessments so you can accurately see where you need to grow in Christ.