Big Sister has been in an “I’m sorry” stage lately. She came to me the other day and said,
I’m sorry that I scratched the couch.
I never knew the couch was itchy. Apparently it was! Or maybe my dear 5-year-old is trying to figure out what’s okay and what’s not okay. Or another way to put it, what’s a sin, and what’s not a sin. At first I began to get annoyed after the 18th “I’m sorry” at breakfast time, but then I remembered she’s trying to comprehend right and wrong.
I don’t typically spend my day concerned that I’ve offended my couch. But this “I’m sorry” stage has led me to think more about sin, and specifically,
Is worry a sin?
Maybe not quite as simple an answer as an itchy couch. God’s Word has plenty to say about worry, and it’s not usually positive. A couple of verses come to mind:
- Matthew 6:25 – 34 This is the famous worry passage where Jesus says DON’T WORRY…oh you of little faith. That’s a strong admonition from God Himself not to worry. In fact, in this passage, Jesus says DON’T WORRY 3 times, and asks, “Why do you worry?” 1 time. It’s as though He’s repeating Himself to make a point. Sounds like my day as a mom! I recently heard this point made by Linda Dillow, author of Calm My Anxious Heart, at the national Hearts at Home conference.
- Luke 21:34 Again, Jesus is talking here and cautions His disciples to be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with the ANXIETIES OF LIFE (aka worry).
- Matthew 13:18 – 23 This is the well-known Parable of the Sower passage. Jesus tells a parable about scattering seed along a path. Most of the seeds don’t fare well along the path, and Jesus explains further in verse 22 that the seed among thorns is the man who hears the word but the WORRIES OF THIS LIFE choke the seed
These are just a few passages on the topic of worry and I think it’s safe to say worry is something we should strive not to do, as we try to avoid other sins.
So is worry a sin? Yes.
This may come as a shock to some moms who believe worry is part of their job. Or to men who believe worry gives them an edge financially. Or to a college student who feels worry is just part of their day. God seems to advise that worry is incompatible with trust. That it’s actually dangerous to our faith…with the ability to choke our faith.
Why’s it helpful to know if worry is a sin?
- We try to avoid things a little more earnestly when we know they’re sins. Jesus illustrates this in Matthew 5:21 – 22. He clarifies the commandment that says “Do not murder”. See, many people thought they were keeping that law really well because they had never murdered someone. However they were fine with getting angry at their brother. Jesus reveals that even if you’re angry with your brother or call him names you are murdering him. This clarification must have been a little convicting for His listeners. It’s convicting for me! So now I try to avoid not only physically murdering someone, but also being angry with my brother…because I know it’s a sin. I try to avoid other sins as well. But talk to my husband for 5 minutes and he’ll tell you I’ve murdered him more than once. That’s why the next point is essential.
- The more we see our sin, the more we see our need for a Savior. If we were perfect, we would not need Jesus. Jesus came to heal sinners, and the more we see how awful we are at trusting God, the more we throw ourselves at the foot of forgiveness. We need Jesus to forgive even our weak, worrying moments of distrust. Now we can not only try to deal with our worry, we can also say sorry to God when we find ourselves worrying…and He always forgives!
Do you think worry is a sin?