The Best Advice about Lust…From Hannibal Lecter

 Photo: Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Dave Winer, Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo: Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Dave Winer, Flickr, Creative Commons

We usually think of lust as sexual, but it's meaning is actually much larger than that. It can refer to any really strong desire. You can lust for popularity, money, power, beauty, and of course, sex. The Bible regularly speaks of avoiding sinful lusts or desires, describing them as worldly (Titus 2:12), evil (Colossians 3:5), of the flesh (Ephesians 2:3; 1 John 2:16), youthful (2 Timothy 2:22), deceitful (Ephesians 4:22), and contrary to the Spirit (Galatians 5:17).

So, as Christ-followers, we're supposed to avoid sinful lusting after people or things. But how are we supposed to do that? What does it really look like?

One of the best answers I've ever seen comes from one of the best (and most disturbing) movie villains of all time – Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. This particular dialogue about coveting (to strongly desire something; very similar to lusting) comes from one of the prison discussions between Hannibal and FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Hannibal: How do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet?
Clarice: No. We just...
Hannibal: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.

"We begin by coveting what we see every day." To put it another way: "We lust after the things we see every day."

So, I ask you… What do you see every day? Chances are pretty good that those are things you're lusting after.

  • What covers the walls of your bedroom?
  • What web sites do you browse often?
  • What's on your laptop's or phone's background?
  • What kind of YouTube videos do you watch?
  • What kind of Pinterest boards do you create and fill with pictures?
  • What movies and TV shows do you watch?
  • What magazines do you read?

Pay attention to the things you see every day. For good or bad, they'll end up to be the things you lust after.

So, what's it for you? Guys, girls, clothes, cars, riches, shoes, k-pop stars, your bf/gf, or even ____________. If you want some alternatives, take the Apostle Paul's advice:

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)