Past Reason Hated


We are told that Amnon hated Tamar with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her (2 Sam. 13:15). If Amnon’s “love” was for himself, this hatred for his sister is also chiefly hatred of himself. What was there in her to hate? She had done nothing to him. The one thing that Tamar had done was to remind Amnon of his foolishness, his abdication, and his weakness.

This is the moment of clarity in the madness. The moment when Satan switches from bedazzling trickster to accurate taunter. The moment you realize that what you ate was poison, and now the object of your affection is the object of your disgust. As Shakespeare says in sonnet 129, “past reason hunted; and no sooner had, past reason hated”. Like the smell of frying food that is delightful when you’re hungry yet makes your stomach sick to smell after breakfast is discharged lust.

Lust is good at pretending to be love. But lust sours upon its affections and treats its commodity with contempt once the object has been used. Plenty of men are mad over pornography, but would speak of the women they are mad over with contempt and shame. These women are a reminder to these men of their deficiency and sickness–false intimacy that is taken, not given. A faux victory that is truly their defeat. Broken cisterns that carry no water, and they know it.

Many young men will speak in the language of love to access their lusts, manipulating women, sometimes even offering to marry them for no other reason that to fulfill their sexual desires. After that, what are they left with? If a man is to learn true love, love that lasts and doesn’t sour intro hatred and contempt, then he must be in a posture of giving, not merely receiving. Amnon wasn’t interested in legitimizing his relationship with his sister, an offer that she suggested. His sight was short, his god was his belly, and what little he gained in pleasure, he lost completely in authority, respect, strength, and ultimately, his life.

Questions for reflection:

  1. What does lust promise us?

  2. Does it ever make good on those promises?

  3. How does lust treat others once they are used?

  4. What does 1 Cor. 6:9-11 have to say to those who have fallen into lust?