Is Worry a Sin?
Anyone can take a quick look at the news or social media and quickly become discouraged, or in many situations, begin to worry. I have a friend that I am witnessing to who reminds me on a weekly basis how terrible the stock market is, how our government is failing us, how the world is getting chaotic, the cost of gas, and the list continues to grow. Our last conversation involved him telling me how he is looking into investing in gold because the dollar is crashing and how there's a conspiracy among world leaders to bring the value of the dollar down. At some point in each of these conversations he asks me, "what do you think?" My response to him is always the same. Yeah, you're right about a lot of that, but I personally don't worry about it because most of that is out of my control. There are things that I do to prepare for the worst, and I make plans to take care of things that I can, but I trust that God is still in complete control and things will happen only with His approval or allowance.
There's always going to be something to worry about, and most of the world consumes so much time, money and energy to "fix" the issues. The bible does not deny the fact that there are things in this life to worry about. But the bible clearly states what our response should be. It tells us to hand these worries off to someone else; God! 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to "cast all of our cares on God". Care, in this verse is synonymous with anxiety and worry. In the Greek, it means to divide, rip or tear apart. It describes the effects of worry. This is what worrying does to us. Worrying is usually concerned with something in the future and in most cases involves something we can't do anything about and can't even be sure about. Because of this uncertainty, we are torn apart by it. According to the Bible, worry is concern over the unknown and uncontrollable future. Jesus says in Matthew 6:31, "So don't worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'what will we drink' or 'what will we wear?' God knows that we need all of these things. He goes on to say, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore, don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough of its own.” Jesus is saying that it is wrong to let tomorrow's possible problems tear you apart today. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Don't focus your concern on tomorrow's problem (which may never happen) because there are enough to handle today. Tomorrow belongs to God. Tomorrow is in His hands. What we know for certain is that God has given us today. Focus on what he puts before us today.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be thinking about tomorrow or planning for tomorrow. God just doesn't want us to worry about it. Philippians 6:7 tells us to "be anxious for nothing". There are no exceptions. There is nothing that we should be anxious or worry about. This brings me to my main point. If God tells us not to worry about anything, to bring our cares and concerns to Him, and that these concerns are now His and belong to Him, doing otherwise is disobedience. When we disobey His Word, when we worry about things that we shouldn't be worrying about, that is a sin.
What about the effects of worry? Besides being a sin, worrying can put ulcers on the stomach, take vitality out of living and possibly drive us to an early death. Worry shows a lack of faith in God. Worrying about something that God has control over, and especially after praying about it and giving it to God, says you're not sure if He is capable of handling it, or you don't believe that He is doing it according to your plans and your schedule. The second half of Philippians 6:7 tells us how it is possible to not worry about anything. It says that in everything and in every circumstance, we begin by bringing it before God in prayer. When we do so, and when we completely surrender our cares to Him, "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." It is God, through the Holy Spirit that can give us peace about the most significant issues that we have, and it is this peace of God that guards or protects our hearts and minds. After hearing all the worries of my friend about this world, it is this same peace that overpowers any anxiety that may creep into my heart or mind.