ARE you troubled by sin? Well, we all are really, aren’t we! But, what if it is causing you difficulty in your faith? A recent letter to The Chrsitadelphian magazine may be helpful.

For some, the problem is anxiety, about our sinful nature. About our inability to harness our desires. About our inability to stop sinning. About our perpetual inability to do the good we would do, and to end the wrong that we keep doing.

If that anxiety is yours, it can feel like the anxiety itself is a sin. We know that we must learn to rest in faith upon the strength of the Lord. We know that we should follow the positive instruction to “be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6,7). Furthermore, we should follow our Lord’s words to take “no thought for tomorrow” (Matt 6:34).

However, such statements cannot always be taken in isolation. What if these instructions to dispel anxiety could be read as exhortation and guidance rather than as commands? After all, it would appear that our Lord himself experienced anxiety, to an extreme degree. Immediately before his arrest: “being in agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:39-46).

The problem is that if we describe over-anxiety as a sin, then the same logic could be applied to stress, depression and loneliness. Rather than label these as sins, it would seem to be more appropriate to regard them as trials that we have to learn to overcome as individuals and as an ecclesial family.

We remember that even our Lord was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him” (Isaiah 53:3).