Summary: By suffering the punishment of our sins, God has given us a lasting remedy for the stress caused by guilt.
Stress. Anxiety. Pressure. It comes in many forms. The cry of a baby at 3:00 in the morning. A huge presentation at work. A sound system that doesn’t want to work when you’re about to have your first services in Doral. The loss of a spouse. The news that your father has alzheimers. The daily arguments with your husband. We live in a very stress-filled world. In fact, experts say that 43% – almost half of all adults – suffer adverse health affects due to stress. One million workers here in the United States are absent on an average work day because of stress related complaints.
So the world looks for ways to diminish stress. Take this pill, do this exercise, read this book and the stress will go away, but for some reason we keep on worrying. Well, today and next Sunday, we are going to talk about God’s simple remedy for stress. And we’re going to see that it’s like that song by Bobby Macfaran that was popular in the early nineties. Do you remember it? “Don’t worry, be happy!” Now you are all probably thinking, “Come on, Pastor. That’s a little simplistic, don’t you think?” But really, God in his Word tells us not to worry and he gives us many reasons why, reasons which we are going to talk about today and next week. And so through the study of God’s Word, my goal is to give you all the most practical advice you’ve ever received on how to deal with stress.
Dr. Rae Baum, PhD, a known stress expert, once wrote: “Stress is your bodies biochemical reaction to how you live your life. Stress can develop into distress and disease through your personal adaptation to internal and external environments.” In other words, stress is our way of reacting to things that happen within us and outside of us. And since we will be talking about this topic for two weeks, I’m going to divide up our series in that way: the stress that comes from within and the stress that comes from without. The stress that comes from without is the stress that comes from problems, deadlines and events around us. And we’ll talk about that next Sunday – how to deal with work-related stress, sickness, loss of a loved one, and many other things. But today we are going to talk about the stress that comes from within.
I. You should feel guilty
I want you to in your minds make a list of the things in your life that stress you out. OK, now, raise your hand all those who had “unresolved guilt” at the top of their list of things that stress them out. OK, well, raise your hand those who even included guilt on their list. We don’t usually think of guilt as one of the main causes of stress in our lives. Work, the kids, marriage, stuff like that is what causes stress, right?
But think about it for a second. Why do the long hours at the office stress you out? It could be just the pressure of the job. Or maybe because deep down you feel that you should be spending more time with your kids or your wife. You feel guilty. You try to be superman at the office and at home. And you get stressed out.
Is it the baby crying at three in the morning that stresses you out, or is it the doubts that maybe you are not being a good parent. Maybe your stress comes from the fact miss your father who just passed away, or maybe you feel guilty for not taking care of him like you should or telling him that you loved him. And now it’s too late.
And you know, there is no more stress in life than trying to cover up for the bad things we do. I don’t want anybody to find out about the lie I told, so I tell more lies...and man is that stressful.
So, maybe guilt should be little higher on our list of things that cause stress. But now the question is what do we do about it. Modern psychology has many solutions: they tell you not to feel guilty because “Deep down you’re a good person.” “Nobody’s perfect.” “ There is no right or wrong, only alternative ways of doing things. Nobody should ever feel guilty.” But we still have that pesky voice in us that tells us that something is wrong, that inner turmoil that won’t leave us alone. The fact that somebody tells me that nobody’s perfect or that deep down I am a special person doesn’t give me lasting peace of mind. Because I don’t always feel so special. In fact when I see some of the things I do, when I see the people that I’ve hurt in my life, I don’t feel very special at all.