Monday, September 21, 2009

respectable sins: anxiety and frustration

anxiety and frustration
this is the second sin that bridges addresses in his book, respectable sins, and one that hits real close to home for me. it is a huge struggle and i know i am not the only one. bridges does a good job explaining why anxiety is a sin.
"the opposite of trust in god is either anxiety or frustration..."(63).
matthew 6:25-34
mathew 10:26-31
luke 12:4-7
philippians 4:6-7
1 peter 5:6-11

above are all scriptures that we give to others as suggestions and encouragement to not be anxious, "but when jesus (or paul or peter who were writing under divine inspiration), says to us 'don't be anxious,' it has the force of a moral command. ... or to say it more explicitly, anxiety is sin" (64).

if i am worried or anxious about something, i do not think that god is in control. i doubt that he will come through. i don't think his way is best. all prime examples of not trusting god, but rather trusting ourselves or other created things. i don't think many of us would say this out loud and i think we know in our head that god is able, but we act on what we believe, not what we know. so if i am anxious (which i often am), there is some unbelief somewhere.
"we tend to focus on the immediate causes of our anxiety rather than remember that those immediate causes are under the sovereign control of god" (65).
in addition to worry, frustration is also not trusting god. bridges points out that "frustration usually, involves being upset or even angry at whatever or whoever is blocking our plans" (69).

psalm 139:16

the author, says he uses this verse to help fight off the sin of frustration. He says to himself,
"this circumstance is part of your plan for my life today. help me to respond in faith and in a god-honoring way to your providential will. and then please give me the wisdom to know how to address the situation that tends to cause the frustration"(69).
do you see how frustration can be a sin? i was in disagreement at first, thinking, i am allowed to be angry, as long as i do not sin in my anger. and then in felt the lord say, "the sin is when you are frustrated because you fail to remember that i am well aware of your circumstances, and you fail to remember that i know best and that if i wanted to, i could instantly change things. you really are just angry you are not getting your way." so whether is it the jammed printer, lost luggage, things at work or at home, a crying baby, etc. remember who is in control of your circumstances (hint: it is not you, so quit worrying about it). i realize now that my ungodliness is part of my problem here.
"both anxiety and frustration are sins. they are not to be taken lightly or brushed off as common reactions we have to difficult reactions we have to a fallen world. ...we should never accept them as just part of our temperament an more than we would accept adultery as part of our temperament"(70).
just because these are socially acceptable, does not mean that they are okay. it is time for us to wake up and speak the truth in love to one another so that we can grow up in to Christ. we are all guilty of letting our loved ones sit in the sin of anxiety and unbelief because it is not a morally appalling sin. but it is a symptom of a really big issue. one that it not dealt with early will lead to other sins that are not as socially acceptable. let's help each other out before they get to that stage. so, if you catch me being anxious or frustrated, please remind me of the promises of god and call out my sin of unbelief.

**two other great resources for fighting anxiety, worry and frustration are john piper's book, battling unbelief, as well as beth moore's book, praying god's word.

next chapter: discontentment. get excited!

1 comment:

julie said...

yikes! thank you for this reminder...