Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Is Worry a Sin???

I have been thinking about worry lately.

Quite frequently, actually.

Partly because I have read some thought-provoking quotes about it.
Partly because I have seen people engaging in it.
Mostly because I have been there myself.
And all this thinking about worry has me wondering, Is worry a sin?
Mind you, I am not worrying about that question. Just wondering. *grin*

I have gone back and forth on this one a few times.
On the one hand, there are people who say when you worry you are blatantly NOT trusting God. You're saying to Him, I don't believe You are big enough or wise enough or powerful enough to handle my situation. Never mind that You created the entire universe and now hold it in the palm of Your hand. I just don't think You can handle my circumstance. And this in-your-face distrust of God is a sin, so they say.
I can see the point a person like this is making - that having such an opinion of God is de-faming His character. And I don't ever want to de-fame my God!

On the other hand, there are people who say when you worry, you are only hurting yourself. You are simmering in unbelief and are missing out on the benefits and blessings of trusting God. They remind us God CAN handle our situation, and we are just cluttering our days with ulcers by worrying about it.
Certainly a softer line is taken by this type of person. But it is eye-opening just the same. Why would I want to ruin my days by worrying about something God can manage?

Even so, I still have to wonder, Is worry a sin? Even if I am the only one hurt by it?

I considered what some people had to say about worry, but what about what God says in the Bible? (NOT saying these people had not considered God's Word! But I know it is important for us to go to His Word ourselves, not just listen to how other people interpret it.)
And I could not find a place where God called it a sin to worry. If you have seen it - please point it out to me. But I couldn't find it.
I thought it interesting that in the gospels "worry" is mentioned sixteen times. And on nine of those occasions the words "do not" come immediately before it.
Besides simply saying, Do not worry, however, God has some other words for us. You may be familiar with verses like Luke 12:25,

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Or Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And how about 1 Peter 5:7?
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

As I thought about these verses and considered Jesus' response to those who came to Him with worry I became more convinced that worry is not a sin.

But I became even more convinced that worry is not His desire for us.

We do not delight His heart when we worry about our circumstances.
We do not enjoy the fullness of peace He offers when we worry about our circumstances.
We do not experience the intimacy of knowing our Father's care when we worry about our circumstances.

Oh, I am so prone to worry.
Maybe that's why God has had me thinking about it so much lately.
Because in thinking about it - in considering what happens to my heart and God's when I worry - I am compelled to throw myself at His feet and surrender every concern to Him.
I want to delight His heart as He looks at me and sees a woman confidently trusting her Maker.
I want to rest in the peace of knowing God will manage my every concern.
I want to encounter my Father and His love for me as I submit to believing that He will carry me.

God is, after all, the Creator of the universe - which He presently holds in the palm of His hand.
He can handle my situation.
And yours!
This week Shane is inviting bloggers to share our thoughts about worry. And she's sweetening the deal with a book give-away! I would love to read your thoughts - in the comment section or on your blog.

So, what do you think about worry?

Be sure to visit Shane and link up for the give-away if you decide to blog about it!
Edited to add: Ah, yes! I agree that to disobey God is to sin. No doubt about that. BUT, did Jesus say, Do not worry, as a command to be obeyed, or as part of a teaching to show us how to live the life He wants for us?
At the end of the Do Not Worry section in Luke, Jesus says, Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? To me that sounds like He is reasoning with His listeners, and I wonder, Does Jesus NEED to prove His point about sin, or is He simply reasoning with them to convince them that not worrying really is the better way to live?
Anyone know Jesus' intent with these words???

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luvmy4sons said...

I suppose if He has told us not to be anxious and not to worry that to do so is to be disobedient. I am so grateful that He remembers that I am dust, that now there is no condemnation, that He takes me from glory to glory and understands that each time I fall in this area I grow stronger and that He is faithful to finish the good work He has begun in me.

Leah said...

I agree that to worry is to be disobedient to what God has asked of us. However, He knows our humanness, our weaknesses and He knows that because we cannot control all situations we are going to worry.

The thing that brings me comfort is that He offers forgiveness for any disobedience I confess to Him and that includes worry. As I confess my worry to Him, I believe that He will change that worry into trust.

Remember what CH Spurgeon said,
"God is too good to be unkind, He is too wise to be mistaken, When you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart."

That is something that I am learning as I walk out this life.

Thanks for the great thoughts.


My ADHD Me said...

Worry- I don't think I worry about things as much as most people. I hate to admit it, but I became that way even before I learned to "give it to God". I used to worry about everything and over time I think I just hardened my heart.

ALso, I read somewhere, and learned from experience that almost everything one worries about never happens. What a waste of time! Even the things that DID happen, well, they would have happened whether I was worrying or not.

I still worry. I know God will take care of things, but as we all know, sometimes His plan and ours isn't the same. ALthough His plan has a reason, who isn't going to worry when a child is ill or when your teenager drives away in a car for the first time....(although, after all of my experiences with THAT one, I think God definitely gives me permission to worry every time my son gets behind the wheel :-)

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

I'm not convinced that worry in itself is a sin either.

I do, however, think that to the extent that I worry about myself and what could happen to me or what is happening to me, I am making things all about me.

And I think to the extent I'm making things about me, God isn't able to use me in the lives of others...that is, I can't focus on others if I'm focusing on me :)

Ronel Sidney said...

Worrying can be such a waste of time and yet I am not sure it is a sin either... I am going to have to think about this one a little more.

Thanks for sharing.

heartreflections said...

Can we file worry under one of the 10 commandments? hmm... =)

Tamrah said...

Matthew 6:19-34 (King James Version)

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Romans 14:23 (King James Version)

23And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.