After chapters on greed and pride, it is instructive to see how Stevens and Ung connect them with the third deadly sin of the workplace – lust:
“Lust is similar to greed because it creates an inner craving to possess things or people that do not belong to us. Lust is also similar to pride because it generates the inward desire to boast about oneself. ?The combination of greed and pride – possessiveness and inwardness – makes lust a deadly enemy.”
Expressions of lust are not uncommon in the workplace whether it be the meaningful glance, the office romance or accessing internet pornography. ?The authors mention UK and Australian research suggesting that four in ten people have engaged in an office fling. According to Ung and Stevens though,?“The worst result of lust is not only the diminishment of oneself and the one lusted after, but, as every Christian who has struggled with sexual addiction knows, lust ultimately results in a loss of intimacy with God.”
As usual, the authors provide some helpful, practical advice as to how lust can be resisted so that our relationship with God (and others) continues to be based on love and an expression of true joy:
- Know that your heart’s deepest desires are for God: ‘Hunger and passion for God drives out all lesser desires into perspective.’
- Reduce exposure to erotic stimulation in your choice of movies, novels and Internet sites: The authors discuss the challenges of business trips in this area and recommend forward planning to minimise the risk, e.g. spend time outdoors, visit friends.
- Pray for a colleague, a customer, or a supervisor whom you find attractive: This will encourage you to keep see people from God’s perspective.
- Seek accountability partners: I remember Tony Campolo’s story about when he was on a speaking trip and a call came in from a friend at 2 a.m. in the morning. When Campolo asked his friend why he was ringing him at this hour of the morning, the response came quickly, “To make sure you were alone!”
- Identify the early beginnings of lustful thoughts: What are the triggers in terms of people, circumstances and times that stir you imagination at work or after working hours? Nip things in the bud!
“God, make a fresh start in me,?shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.” (Psalm 51:10, The Message). ?May you have a Genesis week this week in your workplace, on your frontline.
?Next time: Lust: The Erotic Workplace (Chapter 3)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010).?Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.??Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans
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