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Yesterday I noted on social media how frustrated I am with the common evangelical lingo of saying, “I’m struggling with…” fill in the blank with some persistent sin, anything from gossip to jealousy to pornography. I suppose there’s probably been someone out there who has said, “I’m struggling with serial killing,” or “I’m struggling with sex trafficking,” though I haven’t met that person yet. Here’s why this language is starting to wear on me.
I’ve noticed that way too often “I’m struggling with…” language seems to really mean “I don’t like the fact that I like doing this sin that I’m going to keep doing it, no matter what.” In that sense, “I’m struggling” becomes a more spiritual sounding way of saying what a woman once told me about her explosive anger fits, “Well, that’s just how I am.” Often, this language comes up in discipleship settings with believers caught in some pattern or in marriages in crisis. When confronted with a pattern of disobedience, someone will say, “Well, yes, I struggle with addictive gambling,” or “I struggle with straying from my wedding vows.”
Something - Impulse - Metaphor - Israel - Word
There’s something really right with the impulse here. “Struggling” is a good biblical metaphor. After all, “Israel” is a word that comes from Jacob struggling with God by the riverside. The Apostle Paul tells us we “wrestle” not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers in the heavenly places. The language of fight is all over Scripture. What’s also right is that God tells us that we should never see ourselves as free from sin. We should know not only that we are sinners but also that we should know where our specific points of vulnerability are.
It does me no good to spend a lot of time studying how to manage fits of anger, unless I’m...
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