By Nancy Virden (c)2021
In our desire for mental health, sometimes we forget the trouble we dump on our own heads. While we can try to understand brain function and its role, there are decisions we can make that influence the intensity of our struggles with depression and anxiety.
One of those decisions is to distrust that God means what he says. This why i write about faith. Jesus does forgive my sins (wrongdoings, mistakes) when I ask him just as promised in the Bible. Beating myself up for imperfections after I am forgiven will lead me to negative thought processes and eventually, loss of hope.
Recently, a woman asked a question in frustration about why she still battles the temptation to judge people even though she knows God through Jesus Christ. This is stressing her out to some degree and helps to make her unhappy at work and with herself.
I want to share my response to her with you so you can see how self-defeating is self-condemnation. Even if we trust in Jesus as our Lord, the ability to forgive ourselves is crucial to moving forward.
Your struggle is the same as we all have albeit to varying degrees. Negativity, “grumbling” as M calls it, is everyone’s temptation, and judging is what humans seem to do best.
I used to judge people as saved or unsaved by choices they made that did not measure up to man-made rules of Christian conduct. I was wrong. It remains a temptation to do so but I’m aware of it now and try to pray for them instead. How many times have people had to pray for me because I was unlovely?
This is why God says to forgive others as he has forgiven us. Most often, we judge people for the same things we have been forgiven for – pride, selfishness, unlovingness, laziness… and on it goes. when we expect perfection from ourselves and others, room for judging expands infinitely!
Well, I am not writing to preach. I hope you know I am sharing what is true in my own life and common to most Christians.
God’s mercy is that he does not give us what we deserve. Instead, Jesus took on God’s wrath for us. God’s grace is that he gives us what we do not deserve: eternal hope, special gifts, joy, peace, meaningful purpose, etc. When we mess-up, he is there to meet us and to lift us up as we learn and grow.
Psalm 119:1-8 is a good prayer for when we worry that we have sinned too much for God to still love us. “Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.”
Love in Christ,
Today’s Helpful Word
“[Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” -Peter
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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