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Friday, April 23, 2010

Question of the Week:
Is Worry a Sin?

Is worry a sin? ... I feel bad for having such emotions that I really cannot control.
from Anonymous

Three issues are here: worry, control of emotions, feeling bad for failure.

Let’s start with emotions.

It’s been argued that feelings aren’t right or wrong—they’re just feelings. But Jesus said that to lust is to commit adultery in the heart. He addressed hatred with the commandment against murder. He called covetousness evil.

Feelings and thoughts can definitely be sinful.

The adage says you can’t prevent birds from flying overhead, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair. Likewise, when wrong thoughts of the mind and wrong feelings of the heart come, we have a choice to entertain or dismiss them.

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
~ Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Simply pushing away wrong thoughts and feelings is far less effective than filling ourselves with things to build up our souls.

Whatever things tear down the soul are contrary to the Lord’s will and can therefore be defined as sin. Sin should feel bad, because its defiance against God separates us from Him.

God’s solution to sin is threefold. He removes eternal Penalty of sin for whomever receives Jesus Christ as Lord and repents of sin. The day is coming when those who belong to Christ will live with Him, removed from the Presence of sin, with its pain and suffering. Until then, God’s Holy Spirit delivers us from the Power of sin by increasing our spiritual strength.

We increase spiritual strength by cooperating with the Holy Spirit—taking in the Bible, communicating with God in prayer, and making godly choices to avoid sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
~ Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

The devil condemns us for sin and tempt us to hide from God. The Holy Spirit instead convicts us of sin, prompting us to draw near to God. Those in Christ are forgiven and never condemned by God, not even when we fail—or worry.

Back to the question of worry. Yes, bad things happen, even to those who are God’s. But worrisome circumstances are opportunities to be childlike and enter the kingdom.

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
~ Matthew 18:3 (NKJV)

Little ones don’t worry about checkbooks. When they are hurting, they run to the loving parent who offers comfort and aid. In scary situations, a child clings closely to parent for reassurance.

To have childlike trust does not mean childish disregard for responsibilities. It simply understands who God is. He proves Himself more powerful than all adversity, wiser than the most confounding problem, more loving than our greatest failure.

So He says, “Fear not.” He asks us to trust that regardless of circumstances, He has a plan in it for good and will walk us through it. And His great compassion does not condemn us for worry, but says gently, “Look at Me instead.”

2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see comments, click here.

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