It concerns me whenever a parent uses any term but “sin” to describe bad behavior — their own, or their children’s. We all have a natural tendency to want to excuse our own poor choices, as well as those of our kids. The unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t help a bit. In fact, it often hurts.
In our culture, it’s fairly common for “professionals” to diagnose — and even medically treat — certain conditions based solely on behavior or parental observations. While some behaviors may be curbed and parents placated by various treatments, if sin is involved, there is only one true cure.
A person who gives in to uncontrolled anger can be destructive to themselves and others. Usually, there is a difficult circumstance coupled with a self-focus at its root. Regardless of the legitimacy of the injury, God instructs us to get rid of anger and wrath (Colossians 3:8).
Since getting rid of this anger is something God commands, we know it’s possible, and we also know that to disobey His instructions is to sin. Whether anger takes the form of outbursts or pent-up frustrations, its destructive tendency can be overcome.
Philippians 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:7 both contrast anxiety with prayerful reliance on our Heavenly Father. Certainly, some circumstances provide more of a tendency toward anxiety than others, as do certain dispositions. However, the Truth is that God can help us overcome such tendencies.
Isaiah 26:3 describes the flip side of what usually leads to anxiety: A mind focused on Christ. Psalm 62:2 reveals a godly approach to difficulties — not being “greatly” shaken. When we focus on our problems instead of on the One who can help us overcome them, we can easily fall prey to this enemy of our faith.
It’s amazing that in our culture, even stubbornness and rebellion are being classified as “disabilities” or “illnesses.” If such were the case, the Old Testament practice of stoning rebels (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) would make absolutely no sense!
First Samuel 15:23 directly refers to rebellion as sinful and even compares it to idolatry and witchcraft. What’s more, it clearly goes against one of the 10 commandments — and usually includes breaching others in the list, as well.
The most frightening result of labeling these and other deviant patterns as “illnesses” is that it leads people to a hopeless conclusion: There is no cure.
In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, this article took our culture’s viewpoint to task: “Today, the medicalisaton of deviant behaviour has made it difficult for us to accept notions of ‘evil’. . . . [The] diminution of religious imagery of sin, the rise of determinist theories of human behaviour, and the doctrine of cultural relativity have led further to the exclusion of ‘evil’ from our discourse.”
For evil, there is a cure. It’s found in the forgiveness offered by Christ on the cross. Let’s not be too quick to label our kids’ shortcomings (Romans 3:32) in a way that keeps them from realizing their sinfulness — and accepting the cure for it.