After reading the article “Slim Possibility of Overcoming a Weighty Problem” I felt compelled to write a response. I am thankful for the people who write articles for the Beacon Lights and the staff for oversight of this publication. I do not want to discourage this author or anyone else from submitting articles.
For the past forty-five years I have sat at various places on the overweight chart. Sometimes in the “slightly” category, sometimes in the “moderate,” and sometimes in what the American Heart Association calls obese. For several days during those forty-five years I was right where I should be. Let me state up front that I am the first who should take heed to what I will say in this response.
Overeating, usually resulting in being overweight, is sinful. The sin is gluttony. The Bible speaks plainly of this: Proverbs 23:21 reads, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.” Also I Peter 4:3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” There are many reasons people overeat. They are happy. They are sad. They are depressed. They just enjoy the taste of good food and can’t get enough of it. They have done so well in battling this spiritual problem that they deserve a reward which means taking a break for a while or indulging. These are all excuses that are used for this sin. They are commandment breakers (no other gods, improper care of the body, lust for food).
The statements about “psychological problems” and “low metabolism” are excuses also. There is spiritual and medical help if these problems truly do exist.
For the individual who is very overweight, “contentment” is not the answer. Contentment will not prevent more weight from coming on. Contentment will not take away the physical or medical problems which an overweight person experiences. Contentment for those who were born with a physical or mental disability with no possibility of change is a must. Being content in the sinful state of obesity is wrong and should be handled with repentance and change.
The overweight person, young or old, should be treated with compassion by those around them. A heavy person’s besetting sin literally hangs where everyone can see it. Just because someone is overweight does not mean they never do battle with this sin and bring it to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes we unmercifully pick on and tease “fat” individuals, especially children, and make their lives miserable. Everyone has their own battles with particular sins. Because obesity is such a visible thing it is inexcusable to single out those burdened with it and treat them unkindly for it.
Something must be said to parents and grandparents regarding their children being overweight. We must make sure our bad eating habits and lack of temperance do not pave the way for our children to be obese. Almost everything they eat has been made available for them by their parents. We are to train them properly in this area also.
Many times those who battle gluttony and gluttonous ways look to the newest way to curb this problem. Shots, pills, clinics, support groups, combination eating, no carbohydrates, or high amounts of carbohydrates are just some of the many ways people use to overcome this spiritual problem. While some of these ways may be used to assist with weight loss, the solution is repentance and turning to God in daily prayer to be delivered from the temptation to overeat. Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Pray for temperance when Satan tempts us to overindulge. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Joe Van Baren
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Just a little remark on the article by Rita De Jong, entitled a Response to “Slim possibility of overcoming a Weighty Problem.” First of all it was a nice article. But I have just a little problem with it, and the problem is the part when she speaks of being proud that we no longer draw attention to ourselves because of our weight. I realize we so easily say I am proud of you, forgetting that there is no such thing as good pride. If we could rid ourselves of pride, what a load of trouble and trials would be taken away.
If we were shed of pride, a multitude of problems would disappear, problems in marriage, problems in regard to our fellow saints, etc.
I grow bold to say that I believe all sin can be traced back to pride. Oh, that we were by God’s grace able to say we have conquered this sin, what a joy that would be, what a load of trouble we might have been spared. But thanks be to God that He causes all things to work for our good. For He shows us our every weakness and through it shows what a marvelous love He has for us, that He even forgives these grievous sins. Oh what a joy will be ours when we see Jesus and these sins too will be wiped away, by His redeeming blood.
Your brother in the Lord,
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This letter is in regards to the response of Rita De Jong to my article, “Slim Possibility of Overcoming a Weighty Problem.”
She states that gluttony and obesity are sinful conditions. I fully agree, that gluttony is sinful. However, I do not think that being obese is necessarily sinful.
Some people can eat almost twice as much as others and not gain weight. These people might think everyone that is obese is a glutton. This is not so! This is where the problem arises for those with a low metabolism. It is almost impossible to stay on such a low calorie diet. These people might have to be content with their weight and not make it such a big priority in their lives.
She states that we should be proud that we no longer draw attention to ourselves because of our weight. Proud that we silence the “fat lady” jokes from onlookers. Proud that we confidently walk up to others, without fear of prejudice in their hearts (this would be their problem, not mine) and share the good news of salvation with them. I think thankful would be a better word than proud. Proverbs 16:5 says: “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”