A Brute's Strength



But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.” (2 Samuel 13:14)


Lust creates a blind violence.

You become blind to who you are hurting and to what carnage you sow for future days. And you become violent, demanding what you want no matter the costs.

For Amnon, his lust for his sister made him blind to God’s law, blind to his sister’s dignity, blind to his future reign as king, blind to public folly (2 Sam. 13:13), blind to his brother’s revenge, blind to repentance, and blind to his impending death (2 Sam.13:29). Lust makes a dog’s breakfast seem like an irresistible meal. A man in the grip of lust cannot see that he is pouring gasoline on his house, his family, and his very life–his only perspective is to play with the match in the red dress.

But not only does the man become blind, he becomes violent. Lust inverts a man’s strength, taking the God-given tools of building and protecting and turning them into weapons that destroy and violate. For Amnon, when he couldn’t get what he wanted, he took it by force (2 Sam. 13:14). For many men today, this violence is channelled through pornography. When real intimacy is hindered by singleness, rejection, or false relational expectations, pornography provides an on-demand service. There you find the illusion of happy women, willing to serve you instantly and in whatever kink you desire. This, of course, creates the catechism of instantaneous gratification, something which isn’t true of a real relationship. This catechism short circuits a man’s strength in two ways: 1) they either won’t seek real relationships anymore, settling instead for hookups and pornography, not realizing that they are abusing thousands of online women and many real, but disposable, real women, or 2) they become more like Amnon, volatile and physically, spiritually, or emotionally, violent when a person rejects their advances. Either way, the lust-gripped man is using his strength to subjugate rather than serve, to exploit rather than exalt.

Our strength, rather, is to be used in this way: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). A man is less of a man and more of a brute when his strength is used to violate a woman. The benchmark of glorious strength is set by Christ, who laid down his life in the service of others. While the benchmark for grotesque strength could easily be seen in this section of Amnon’s story, blind desecration for self-worship.