Wilful and Free Hopelessness is a Sin

One thing that a Christian must always remember–even though sometimes it is very hard to do so–is that hopelessness is a great sin, and thus the Christian must never despair, and the reason that he must never despair or become hopeless is because to do so is to literally admit–through one’s actions and one’s behavior–that Christianity is false, for true despair and genuine hopelessness could only arise in a situation in which we believed that God was not in control of creation or in a situation that negated Christ’s overcoming of the world and its foul sin, and yet, of course, CHRIST IS ALREADY VICTORIOUS, and so are all of us who stand with him, and so how could we ever genuinely despair if Christ is indeed victorious; so, as stated, the Christian cannot despair of this world, for to do so is to deny Christ himself, and thus the Christian who despairs literally cannot exist, for the Christian who despairs denies the foundation of Christianity, and thus the truly despairing Christian forfeits his Christianity the moment he genuinely despairs, and so remember, NEVER DESPAIR, FOR CHRIST IS KING (…and, of course, I do not mean that a Christian who has flashes of despair and hopelessness, or who is, say, clinically depressed, is not a true Christian, but rather that a Christian who begins to willingly and freely embrace despair and hopelessness has thus willingly and freely let go of his Christian faith, and he thus needs to repent of his despair in order to be able to genuinely retake the mantle of ‘Christian’ upon his shoulders).

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11 thoughts on “Wilful and Free Hopelessness is a Sin

  1. I think I see what you’re getting at but I also think it’s very dangerous to tell people “you should not feel ____”. That sets people up for shame along with an already difficult situation, which means they are not only denying what’s already accomplished, about which you are correct, but they’re also allowing themselves to become accused. Satan is a master of the subtle use of the word ‘should’.

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  2. Have you ever heard of depression? It affects hundreds of millions of people the world over – many of which are Christians. The chemical imbalance in their minds is not the sort of thing they can just pray away. Or think about Christ being beaten and dying on the cross and suddenly get cheered up. It doesn’t work that way. Anyone in the midst of depression might read your words and be made even sadder that they can’t snap their fingers and be all rainbow and sunshine and unicorns. Depression is a lingering sadness, a deep hopelessness, and profound despair that comes too often and stays too long – for some only medication can lift that fog just enough to begin to see – and feel – more clearly. It’s not written in scripture that hopelessness is sin and scripture can’t be made to say that it does. It’s so very human; like when David was fleeing from Saul – writing Psalms asking God when he was going to do something about his situation. Like when Paul prayed for that thorn in his side to be removed or when the disciples were locked in the upper room, hiding for those three terrible days that Jesus was dead and there was nothing they could do to make things different – and for the moment – no hope that was going to change. People can’t control what they do or don’t feel. If someone feels hopeless, there’s a reason for it. Telling them that it’s a sin to be hopeless is like throwing gasoline on the fire; it’s liable to make it even worse. Can you find a way to encourage people that they do have something to hope in and someone to hope for without telling them that they’re hopelessly sinning sinners by being hopeless in the first place?

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    • Jamie,

      You raise a good point, and I actually did not even have clinical depression on my mind when I wrote this given that I thought it obvious that this would not apply to the medically depressed (which is why I used the word “willingly”). Rather, the point is that people who are mentally healthy, and yet look at the world and then willingly and freely wallow in despair, are acting in a non-Christian manner.

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      • People don’t have on/off switches for our emotions – even the healthiest among us. When I heard about Brussels, I couldn’t make myself cheerful for anything. It’s not as if I could wake up this morning, see the beautiful blue sky, chirping birds, flowers, and say to myself: Today is a fantastic day – I’m going to willingly feel hopeless and wallow in despair. How does one willingly feel hopeless, anyway?

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      • Well then, you and I are different, for I definitely have on and off switches for my emotions…perhaps it is in virtue of my martial arts training. So we clearly come to this issue from different angles. I view the issue that will drives emotion, but not necessarily the other way around.

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      • That’s an interesting point. Do you believe it to be true of everyone who has had martial arts training and untrue of those who have not had martial arts training? The more I learn, the more I find that humanity cannot all be painted with one big brush – we’re all products of different backgrounds, different experiences, different beliefs so much so that finding common ground seems to be quite a challenge. When it comes down to things like cowardice – we have to be careful not to ignore the ‘fight or flight’ instinct that will drive most untrained people to run to safety – not out of cowardice though to those who are apt to fight, it might seem that way. Even then, sometimes those who tend to flee might find themselves fighting and those who fight might end up fleeing. People can be so unpredictable that way.

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      • Not sure, but I fully agree that people, though similar in many important ways, are also utterly different in critical ways as well, and thus you are right that it is often difficult–though not impossible–to paint people in broad strokes, at least not about certain things.

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      • How does one willingly feel hopeless? Quite easily. Hopelessness is an attitude towards life which is essentially borne out of intellectual nihilism. Feeling often follow mind and will, not the opposite (although the opposite is the case as well).

        As I said, our experiences concerning this matter are likely different, which is why we cannot agree.

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    • Jamie,

      Also, read Psalm 42-43:

      Why are you cast down, O my soul,
      and why are you in turmoil [despair] within me?
      Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
      my salvation and my God.

      Also 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (especially verse 8 and 16):

      7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

      13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

      16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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      • That’s not really all that helpful. The Bible constantly says: “Do not be afraid.” Is that because it’s a commandment for us to never feel fear? or a reminder that God is greater than that which we fear? I think it’s the same with hopelessness, it’s not written as a commandment, but a reminder that we do have something to hope in. People come with all sorts of emotions – to deny expressing them, to paste a smile on when we feel angry or sad betrays the reality of what’s going on with us emotionally and spiritually as emotions often indicate deeper truths about what we’re feeling. I keep on thinking about Thomas – how he doubted and his doubt lead him to have greater faith. I think hopelessness and faithfulness are the same way – two sides of a coin that are needed to make the other side that much more clearer. After all, how could we know what one is without the other?

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      • No…but it is commandment for us not to be cowards. To me, hopelessness in life–in action and behavior–is like cowardice, not like fear. This is why I say a Christian cannot be hopeless.

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