Archive for the ‘Accusations’ Category

Yesterday, someone wrote something horrible about me on Facebook. It was in response to an old joke about the time when I accidentally stood one person up because I hadn’t realised they had bought tickets in advance for the football and I had already arranged to meet someone else….boring, I can already hear you yawn. It was years ago, and there has been forgiveness since.

But someone else decided to chip in with some unwanted comments, saying that I should leave my friend alone as I had already done so much damage, and that I didn’t deserve him. Half their words were capitalised AS WeLL, just making the whole thing a LiTTlE mOrE FReaKY. Hmm.

I know the stats are really quite something. Cyber-bullying is massive. And this would barely even qualify. But it had been a bad week and it just hurt a little bit more than it should have done. Yeah, so it was all in jest. After all, it was an old joke. But some things just aren’t funny when you don’t know someone or what their intentions might be, it just makes things worse.

It certainly made me think about what I post in the future. And just makes me want to pray more for those for whom cyber-bullying really is a daily reality.

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I’m not going to lie. I know that I am a sinner, made clean through the death of Jesus. Every day I screw up in some way or other – I do something that is dishonouring to God and often something which is horrible to those around me. I am a sinner.

I think it is both easy and difficult to define sin. In many ways, the simple explanation is “sin is something which involves turning your back on God”. And that is definitely true. But someone once asked me whether I would consider someone who was acting in a particular way due to illness as a sinner – maybe someone who was bi-polar on a high behaving in a way that was not their normal self. Would I?

There are people who would answer yes to that question. But there are also many others who would say no. I was one of the yes people, until I realised that that was how I was seeing myself and my self-harm. Self-harm is a mental illness, which makes us behave in a way that we wouldn’t normally. If that is the case, can we really describe our self-harm as sin?

Sin grabs us and takes hold. Yes. But the devil also makes us feel guilty about the things that we can’t control. Instead of feeling guilty about my “illness”, I needed a new way to think about it. Yes, what I was doing did not honour and glorify God, and represented me turning my back on the future he has for me, but it was not like stealing from a shop or murdering someone.

Do not fall into the trap of seeing yourself as a worse sinner than anyone else because of an illness, whether self-harm, anorexia, bulimia, depression, or whatever. The Fall had many consequences, and a broken world was one of them. This is why sin is so difficult to define.

What does it mean for us that our actions arise from brokenness rather than sin? It doesn’t mean that it is ok to give into the temptation to self-harm. But it means that our confession and our cry out to God can come from a different place, a place that can be free from guilt and shame.