When a Legitimate Concern becomes Illegitimate Worry

The Bible presents two categories of thought that are closely related. The first is a healthy concern – a healthy concern is the kind of concern worrygaugePaul exhibited for the churches he oversaw in 2 Cor. 11:28. This concern motivated him to work and pray. That is a good thing. There is, a second category of thought called worry.  Worry is born when legitimate concerns are sinfully driven into illegitimate extremes.

Here is an example of how a real concern professes into worry: Suppose you and a coworker are at odds – that is a legitimate concern and something you should want to rectify. However, when you worry the legitimate concern grows and expands to ridiculous conclusions.

What if she spreads rumors about you? What if the rumors make it to your supervisor? What if that affects your evaluation? You may not get a raise. You may even loose your job. Then what? In this economy jobs are difficult to find. You could go on welfare, but the government could tank… happened in Greece. You could literally starve to death over a spat with a coworker. You see how it works?

The human brain is a master at amplifying a concern and producing worry.  Consider those things that occupy your mental energy. Are they concerns? If so, you should be able to pray, work and trust God to see the circumstance change. But if you find yourself spinning your wheels and wasting mental energy to no avail, perhaps you are committing the sin of worry. Confess it as sin, forsake that line of thought and seek God’s Kingdom.

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