9/12/2011

A Weighty Series, part 9

If you read my blog much at all then you know that I'm shoulders deep in a series about weight and body image. If you'd like to get caught up here are the previous posts: part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6part 7, and part 8. As always, you don't have to read every post but if you can read them then you definitely should!

Warning
Today's post includes a graphic picture. I share it not to shock for shock's sake, but rather to illustrate the reality that so many in our nation and world face. And I will say this: while the woman in the picture is very obese, I hope you consider that I have taken care to be wise about posting any pictures that show more skin than a full length tank top and modest shorts would cover. But you can judge for yourself if you will avert your eyes

Sloth and Gluttony: Still Sinful

Eating and drinking, as worship, glorify God. However, sloth and gluttony are sinful. The slothful and gluttonous are repeatedly said to be headed toward poverty, hunger, and even forced labor, thus not free in Christ (Proverbs 12:24Proverbs 19:15Proverbs 23:21Ecclesiastes 10:18). Deuteronomy 21:18-21 actually instructs "the men of the city" to stone to death a rebellious son who is a "glutton and a drunkard." Titus 1:12 lists being lazy and gluttonous alongside Cretans being "liars" and "evil beasts." Being addicted to much wine disqualifies one from being a deacon (and, in turn, if a man, an elder) and women are instructed, among other things, to pursue godliness and not being addicted to much wine. Drunkeness--not drinking of alcohol, but drinking enough to be drunk--is also listed as a sin, which makes it forbidden. We are to be filled with the Spirit, allowing him to guide and influence us, not our drink.

Temptation beyond what many Americans can bear.
An important point is that while the Bible says sloth, gluttony, and overdrinking are sinful it does not specify guidelines with regards to specific numbers. For one woman, one drink is sin. For another, a nightly glass of wine is not. Similarly, though, for a woman with freedom to have that nightly glass of wine perhaps she realizes that tonight she wants to drink not out of worship but out of self-seeking--escape, stress relief, to make easier having a difficult conversation with a spouse, etc. For her to drink that glass of wine that normally is not a problem under those circumstances, with that heart, would be sinful.

I do want to make clear that there are many reasons for overeating and drunkenness. Often, the gluttony and overdrinking mask the deeper heart issues. These may be as "simple" as pursuit of pleasure, because they taste good or make you feel good. Perhaps it's comfort, hiding from stress by eating or drinking. It may be because of deep pain, perhaps past abuse, that drives you to find solace and escape in food and/or drink. God is not a cruel God who wants you to be miserable, but the truth is that freedom is only found in him and he knows that gluttony will, if left unchecked, eventually kill you. It may be as quick as a car accident while driving drunk or it may be the litany of diseases that alcoholism and overeating use to rampage your body and slowly kill you.

Today's Common Problem
An image of Donna Simpson
during her pursuit of being the
world's heaviest woman.
Obesity runs rampant in our society. Most are disgusted and hate on fat people, which is absolutely evil since all are created in the image of God no matter what they then do to their bodies, but some people embrace it and take it to egregious extremes. One woman, famous for having a fetish relationship in which her partner championed her to gain more and more weight, made as much as $90,000 a year charging people online to watch her eat some 15,000 calories a day--10 times the normal recommendation for women.

That woman, Donna Simpson, did so because her partner at the time said he was turned on by her weight gain, so she sought to gain as much as she could. Their relationship ended, and the linked article explains that she is now on a diet and has lost 60 pounds, though her goal is to lose 170 more and be 370 pounds, as she wants to stay fat. And, if she reaches that goal but meets another man whose fetish is for her to gain weight then she will. I do not advocate this as healthy by any means, as it is just as sinful for Donna Simpson to kill herself with gluttony and obesity to please as man as it is for a woman who kills herself with compulsive denial and anorexic behavior for a man's admiration. Jesus wants to fill these women's hearts with his love; the approval of a mere man will never satisfy and without Christ then love from a man will never be fully enjoyed for its wonderful, healthy place as #2.

So, then, I am in no way advocating sin, and I am not so naive to think that this series could be misconstrued as such. To be absolutely clear: I am here neither to bash those pursuing health nor to provide excuses for those engorged in the sin of gluttony.

Worshiping the Lie
You almost certainly agree with me that sloth and gluttony are sinful. But many of us say we just want to be healthy, to have a healthy body that glorifies God, when we actually worship having the body that our culture defines as beautiful? How many of us worship our exercise routine or worship our abstaining from "bad" and "sinful" foods? No food is bad or sinful--Jesus made that clear. It's not what we eat that makes us sinners, or unclean. But we deprive our bodies, convinced that eating a chocolate dessert would be sinful but that deprivation, refusing to freely enjoy the gift of good food, is obedience. Here's a radical thought for you: what if that bite you don't eat because you're worshiping your ideal body is just as sinful in God's eyes as if you went on a gluttenous, drunken binge?

Sin to eat? For you it may or may not be.
Ask Jesus--he delights in revealing himself to you!
We are free in Christ to eat and drink and to enjoy leisurely activities, but freedom in Christ does not excuse being lazy, overeating, and/or drunkenness. I propose to you, however, that just as we buy into the lie that only a perfect body per society's standards is a "healthy" one, so also we often abstain, restrict, and deny food because we make eating into sin. Let the Bible define sin and let the Holy Spirit be the one to reveal it in your life.

For me, personally, though I'm being hit with some hard truths, this series just keeps getting better and better! I will share very personally about how these issues are affecting me, so that's coming. Tomorrow, though, we'll look into beauty, per what God says in the Bible. It gave me such joy to discover, even more to write it, and I am bubbling with excitement at the truth I pray it reveals to you as readers!

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