Dr. David Jeremiah helped me understand the difference between concern and worry. I have often used the terms interchangeably. I perceived no real distinction. But I was wrong.
My wife, Marie, reads a daily devotional by Dr. David Jeremiah called “Sanctuary.”¹ Several days ago as we were sharing she read Jeremiah’s comments. Dr. Jeremiah cleared up the difference for me between concern and worry.
Dr. Jeremiah said matter-of-factly, “From God’s perspective worry is sin. It’s not something to be excused because ‘everybody does it.’ ”
I first published this post in December, 2010. You all made it one of the top 10 viewed posts on my blog since I began For His Glory in April, 2010. Enjoy.
As Emeril LaGasse says, “Bam!” Talk about a two-by-four between the eyes!
God expects us to be responsible and take care of the things over which we are responsible or have influence, Jeremiah said. That is concern. And we should be concerned about those things.
But for me, there’s a ton of things that happen all around me that I find myself fretting over, things over which I have no control. I have often thought of writing letters or emails to, corporations, companies or government agencies who did stupid things or made idiotic policies or decisions. Sportscasters who make idiotic erroneous statements on national television. After more consideration, though, I thought better of it for several reasons.
I’m convinced, for instance, that those congressional leaders, corporations, companies and government agencies don’t give a gofer’s naval about my opinions. Even if I were to suggest changes that might improve their policies, products or services, they wouldn’t consider following the advice of Steven T. Public. They pay phony-baloney executives millions of dollars each year to make stupid decisions. It’s hard, at times, to consider competing with stupidity.
The bottom line is I have absolutely no input or control over such matters however ridiculous I might think their decisions are.
The biggest revelation and affirmation about worry for me was this: I can not control the actions, opinions or decisions of another person. No matter our relationship, I can’t force or coerce another person into actions or decisions that I think might be right for them, their customers, the general population or me. Concerning myself over another’s actions or thoughts is worry, because I have no control over them.
Thank you, Dr. Jeremiah. You really lightened my load. Now, when a concern creeps into my mind or heart, all I have to do is answer this question: Is this person or situation something over which I have control or influence? If my answer is yes, then concern may be warranted. If the answer is no, then my concern turns to worry, ergo sin. And I’ll need to confess it and turn it over to God to handle it so I can avoid the worry wagon.
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¹Copyright 2002 by David Jeremiah. Published by Integrity Publishers, a division of Integrity Media, Inc., 5250 Virginia Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, Tn. 37027.