I was reading an article about all the strange deaths of groups of animals over the new years and this one about Turtle Doves caught my eye. Very strangely the reason for the death of these birds is indigestion due to overeating. I have been thinking lately about how gluttony has been taken off the sin list of churches these days and is often actually encouraged – just look at any potluck function! It is so politically incorrect to even mentioning gluttony as a sin I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon on it. Yet, like it did with the Turtle Doves, it has a devastating effect on our lives and the people around us. Overeating causes a burden to health care systems, shortens life expectancy and in extreme cases can cause a person to become a burden on their family.
Now before you get mad at me you should know (those who have met me know already) that gluttony is a problem I struggle with – for most of my life I was very overweight and although I have managed to get things under control it is still a struggle for me – I love food and cooking so I have to watch what I eat. I acknowledge that overeating is a sin – it is hard on the body and hard on the pocket – but I think we as a church have got too politically correct to call it what it is. Instead people go to seek help with diet groups and schemes – all useful and all work to some extent if they are followed – but we never deal with the really disobedience and sin aspect. If I was addicted to drugs or alcohol I’m pretty sure people in the church would take me aside and try to help me clean up my life, but if you see someone addicted to eating too much food you feel guilty to mention it as you don’t want to shame them – their sin is obvious but unmentionable.
Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Just as sexual immorality is bad for health so is overeating:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.
Maybe it is time that we get back to calling a spade a spade – not for the purpose of embarrassing or shaming people but to be really in a position to help them. I’m not suggesting that the church should be filled with skinny-minis, but as someone who struggles with this issue I feel that we do ourselves an injustice if we ignore this problem and pretend it is not a sin issue. For myself I know that when I am overweight it is largely a sin issue and a disobedience problem so I figure for most others this is also the case.
I know this is not my most politically sensitive post, but what are your thoughts? Do you think as a church we are soft on sins that may upset people?