Seven Deadly Sins of Self-Abuse

Here are seven things that modern medicine agrees are hazardous to your health–with ancient wisdom from the Bible to support the evidence.

1. Worrying. Living in constant fear of things going “wrong” leads the brain to believe that things are going wrong right now, and to keep adrenaline levels constantly high in response–leading to increased blood pressure, a weakened immune system, a queasy stomach, and all sorts of other physical reactions that, when allowed to set up lasting housekeeping, have highly undesirable long-term consequences.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

2. Multitasking. Doing two or more things at once–or even thinking about “what comes next” while working on one thing–uses more energy than doing the same things in succession, because of the extra energy spent in continuous microshifts of attention. Constant multitasking leads to increased stress and fatigue and all the health and safety hazards that go with them.

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:41-42). 

3. Excessive screen time. Whether the device of choice is a smartphone, a desktop computer, a television set, or even a digital camera, every-waking-hour close proximity to a lit-up screen (especially one with a continually shifting flow of images) overstimulates the brain, interferes with rest, distracts attention from other important things, and ultimately leads to multiple stress and anxiety problems.

“‘Look at the birds of the air … See how the flowers of the field grow. [Pay attention to the three-dimensional world around you!] … Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness'” (Matthew 6:26a, 28b, 33a).

4. Staying up all night. It’s no secret that sleep deprivation puts a person at higher risk for dangerous accidents the next day and chronic health problems in the long term. Whether a night is spent out on the town, at home in front of the television, or lying awake in bed worrying about tomorrow’s responsibilities–night after night of doing things other than sleeping is playing loaded-gun roulette with one’s immediate and future health.

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat–for [God] grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2).

5. A constantly negative attitude. The person who refuses to enjoy anything unless it goes 100% the way he likes, is the person with permanent wrinkles from scowling, sore muscles from going about with shoulders slumped and back hunched, and major depression brought on by self-pity. This is also the person who misses out on the health benefits of fulfilling relationships, because he projects the unspoken message, “Stay away from me, I hate everybody.”

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Laughter is not only fun; it’s a very healthy exercise!

6. Trusting everyone’s judgment except one’s own. Perhaps the most dangerous form of worry is the kind that never stops worrying about “what others think of me.” It’s a problem not only in matters of conscience; thousands of people are chronically miserable–and suffering from all the stress-related health issues that go with that–from working for years in jobs they hate, or affecting personalities that are antithetical to their instincts, or hardly lifting a finger to attempt anything, because their parents or friends or some long-ago teacher fed them a line about “pursuing a sensible career” or having value only if perfect. Good advice is certainly important, but ultimately, only the person who accepts that the “right” decision is between him and God will be happy with the results.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

7. Laziness. While workaholism and hyperactivity are fraught with health hazards, so is chronic lack of activity–sitting or slouching about and never getting up to exercise. People who rarely burn more calories than required for walking across the room are far more prone to obesity and all its related health issues; they also develop flabby muscles, and increased back pain from constant pressure on the spine. And did you know a person can be in constant motion and still qualify as lazy–if he occupies himself with busywork and refuses to leave his comfort zone, which ultimately takes its toll on mental and physical health through “something’s missing” frustration and lack of fresh stimulation?

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4). 

Take care of yourself. God is pleased when you do!

Leave a comment


  1. What an excellent source of peace! I will read these verses when feeling anxious or fearful! God bless you.

  2. janetanncollins

     /  May 1, 2015

    After reading number 3 I’ve decided NOT to check my messages just before going to bed anymore. Thanks.

  3. Jo Swank

     /  May 2, 2015

    Good stuff, Kathy! I hope this article is published. : )

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I love it how you link the wisdom of the Scripture to the modern challenges we experience in our daily lives. This is precious, especially since Bible doesn’t operate such concepts as multitasking or screen time, and yet, astoundingly, it is able to provide guidance event for the situations that did not exist in ancient times.


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