The Balance Beam

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Psalm 37:1-2
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil, or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

We read this at church yesterday.
I was sitting with my family, and we’d just finished a great worship session. We had a lot of praise go around the room, and my heart soared with happiness. It was the first time in a long time that I felt very joyful at church- guilt and sadness have been some of the latest church experiences I have had due to several aspects of my life. As we got ready to close, the man leading worship today read the verse above.
Wow, I thought. Wow… this is… this is exactly what I needed to hear.
I read it over again to seal it into my mind. Do not fret because of those who are evil…

How many of you have been “fretting” or worrying over those “who do evil”? I’ll tell you something- this has been a struggle of mine for the last several months or so. After reading that verse yesterday, I felt like God specifically sent me that verse to tell me not to worry.
The recent court rulings that the government has issued in the last month have bothered me to no end. Those of you who know what I’m talking about will understand why. My heart was burdened that the government felt it could redefine marriage, boycott a historical flag and began to persecute churches and people who believe in the Bible and that marriage is between a man and a woman. So much has happened in the last month, so, so much. This is the beginning of the persecution of the church, we all know that. Ordinarily persecution doesn’t scare me very much, I have been waiting for it my whole life, knowing it was coming, but now my heart hurts for those who are making these bad decisions.
The reason I get so bothered by these things- actually there are a lot of reasons- is because when something bothers me, it tends to get stuck in my head. Images. Thoughts. I can’t get them out sometimes. I feel like such a bad person, because these things, these thoughts, these images, they get stuck in my head. I’m a very visual person. I have seen and will continue to see those who are in blatant sin. I deal with them often in my daily life, and I can tell you hands down that I treat them with the utmost respect and love, but inside my heart hurts for them.
But along comes this verse at church Sunday that tells me not to fret because of evil men, or those who do evil, depending on your translation.
I get very burdened by sin. I feel so bad for those who are in sin, I feel so sad that they’d sin against God, it just hurts my heart. I wasn’t meant to carry the sin or guilt of the world, that’s God’s job. But, on the flipside of the coin, there’s another side to this story.
I don’t want to be someone who is totally desensitized to the world around me.
A good example is one I will sheepishly admit and confess to all you readers- I am someone who loves comedy. Particularly political humor. I love political humor, especially when it comes to making fun of international relations. I find it hilarious. But, if any of you are familiar with things that contain political humor, you will realize that some of those things can get very dirty very quickly. My problem is I like to find all the “good” ones of a particular show or comic strip series and avoid the bad ones. Guess what? By trying to sort out the good from the bad, I expose myself to a lot of bad and impure things. Those things get stuck in my head. At first I am very bothered such things are stuck in my mind, but eventually I get used to it, brushing it off and thinking to myself, I found all these good ones and I don’t watch/read those bad ones, besides it doesn’t bother me so much anymore because I’m finally getting a grip on how to block that stuff out.
Wrong. Surprise- I just desensitized myself.
It's only been in the last month that I realized I did this. This is a serious struggle for me. I have to
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really watch myself, because when I think I have finally overcome my temptation to read and watch those things, I find myself doing it again and exposing myself to a lot of immorality. Things that used to bother me quite a bit didn’t bother me so much anymore. At first I thought it was because I had finally overcome my struggle of being so burdened, but then I realized because of my love for political humor I had compromised on several things that should have really bothered me. And because of that, I was coming to the point it didn’t bother me so much anymore. That’s not good, either. I never,
ever wanted to see or hear those bad things, but I wanted to enjoy a show and laugh a bit, and let it slide. I shouldn’t be filling my head with anything that I have to weed through to find the “good things”.
There’s a verse for that as well:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

My love for humor, particularly historical and political humor, isn’t bad. But exposing myself to all those bad things, such as immorality, language, and crude references, to find the “good” episodes or the “good” comics was filling my head with bad things and desensitizing me. That’s not right, either!
So how do we find a balance between “do not fret” and “thinking on praiseworthy things”?
To be honest, I don’t really know how to do this yet. I don’t know how to find the balance. I am a sinner. I am struggling with being overburdened by sin, and being totally desensitized to it. I think a lot of people are in this position. We don’t want to become part of the world, but we do live in it. We shouldn’t be shocked by the sins and atrocities committed by those who don’t love Jesus, but we don’t want to become hardened by it. We need balance. We have to have balance. We can’t be either way. If we’re overburdened by sin we have a hard time operating and witnessing to those who are in that particular sin. If we are desensitized to it, then we often don’t think enough to tell someone that what they’re doing is wrong and direct them to Jesus, who can save them. Both places are not good places to be.
There is only one way I know to live in balance between both extremes- through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is the only one who can teach us and show us how to balance this out. How to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
God put us in this world. We live in this world. We can’t close our eyes to the bad things forever, we can’t pretend they don’t exist, we can’t shut out the world. But we can’t accept it and ignore it, either. We must find balance. Jesus can give us that balance.
In conclusion, some of the things I’ve been learning recently from several wise church leaders and family members I will share with you now:

  1. If you are depressed, sad, or burdened for a particular person, sin, or things that are going on around you that are out of your control, pray about it. That could be God’s way of reminding you to pray for that situation. If it's constantly coming to your mind, then take an opportunity to pray about it. This is huge, and it works very well to come to a peaceful state of mind. Prayer is powerful!

  1. If you begin to find that language or immorality or any number of things aren’t bothering you anymore, don’t just assume that “oh, that’s just not a struggle for me.” Examine yourself. Find out if you’ve desensitize yourself to the point of not caring about the sin. Pray about it! Don’t feel guilt if this is the case, feel convicted that God is pricking your conscience so you don’t become hardened to things he wants you to care and pray about.

  1. Finally, if you struggle like I do with mental things getting stuck in your head (I am a very visual person- I can see something for less than a millionth of a second and I will remember it for years. This can be a gift- and a really bad thing as well. If I see a bad image or picture it will be stuck in my mind for a very long time.) or bad words that ring around in your mind because you heard them said/saw something that bothers you, pray again. Prayer is so important, but what’s even more important in this situation is reading God’s word. You cannot extract a “bad” thought without putting something back in its place. Anytime I am struggling with my thoughts I try to read my Bible if its on hand to read, or, if I’m at work, I pray about it and pray for others to take my mind off the things I don’t want stuck in my head. Don’t feel horrid guilt that such things do come to mind, you are not alone. It could be the area that the devil attacks you the most is your mind. I can tell you with assurity that’s my area, and he tries very hard to make me feel like a wretched person for the things that get stuck there. Pray! Ask God to take it away! Sing songs, do things for others, read your Bible. Fill up the spots in your mind with good things. It really, really works.
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What about you? Have you struggled with any of these things? What are your thoughts and suggestions for living in the world but not being a part of it? Or, if you don’t have a problem with any of these things, do you have encouraging words for those who do struggle?
Thank you for reading and I hope this blessed you in some way. This has been on my heart to share for a while, but I wanted to wait until I felt pressed to write it. I don’t like to share something unless I really feel I’m supposed to. I want to be used by the Lord, and I want to make sure its His words being written down.

Take care and God Bless. Remember that you do not struggle alone. Everyone has struggles. Its the Lord who helps us overcome. Not on our own strength, but by His. <3


  1. I'm also a visual person. If I see a scary picture, or something like that, it gets stuck in my head for a long time. But when I remember ones that particularly bother me, I pray, or sing hymns or bible verses. And it really does help. Before I know it, they're all gone. :)
    Thank you for writing this Emily. It's really encouraging to be reminded that we're not alone in our struggles.
    God bless!

    1. I understand the struggle. Scary images, immoral images, any images, really, can get stuck in my head forever. Sometimes it will be years since I've thought of something and it will pop into my head expectantly. The singing has helped me a lot lately as well! I have become more confident in singing about my faith more than ever, now. I play the Christian radio at my work and sing along with the songs when I have no costumers at the moment.

      Thank you for your encouragement, Megs. Your suggestions are really good and great reminders. We are never, ever alone in what we struggle with. That's why I want to write these posts- to let others know I understand what it's like to struggle with these things!

      Take care and God Bless!

  2. I'm also a visual person. And no, I'm not just coping Megs comment. :) It's true. Thank you so much for this reminder to me. I really need the urging to pray and read my Bible more. To keep my mind filled with pure, good, just, etc. things that God has commanded us to meditate on.
    The things that have been going on in the news recently have shocked me into praying...which I believe is exactly what my walk with God needed. More prayer.
    Have all Americans become desensitized to the moral standards that were used to build the foundations of our Nation? This is serious. Things need to change, and Christians are going to be the ones who change. The World needs to see in us such a drastic difference that they start asking questions. Who are these people? They believe WHAT?? What makes them different from us?
    "In the world, but not of the world", "Innocent as doves, yet as crafty as a fox".
    Different. The love of Christ should shine from us, a light to those drowning in the storm of sin.
    We should definitely NOT be considered by The World as a part of them. We need to stand out and up for our faith in God. And above all, not be ashamed of it.
    Thanks again for this wonderful post Emily. We're going to have a LOT to talk about. B-)

    1. I think we all need the urge to pray and read our Bible more, Rebekah. :) Interestingly enough, for the last six months at my church its been pressed on the hearts of all the men in our church to urge everyone in the church to read their Bibles a ton. They don't know why. We don't know why. But we know it's important. It could be we may not have the word of God available to us too much longer in the next couple of years. It will happen eventually.

      Thank you for your very encouraging and heart-felt comment. I agree with everything you wrote a 100%! If we're to be called Christians, we are to live like Christ would want us to live. To not accept sin but not condemn the sinner. To love the sinner, but not the sin.

      For sure we'll have a lot to talk about. I'm excited to get to discuss these things with you. :) God Bless and thanks for commenting!

  3. Wow, this was great! I have a problem with things getting stuck in my mind. I think of something scary or bad and it just sticks in my mind. I forget about it for a little while, and then at random moments in the day it just randomly pops into my mind again. I can get really bothered by them to the point where I can't sleep at night. (I'm really sensitive.)

    But praying really does help! Every night before I go to sleep, or when I think about something bad or frightening, I pray, and ask him for help for dealing with those things. Pretty soon those bad images are out of mind.

    ~Lydia~ <3

    1. Yes, Lydia, exactly! You sound exactly like me in this area! Those things just get stuck and will pop up at the most inappropriate times in conversation or wherever. You don't want those things in your mind and yet they'll just pop up, no reason. Then you do forget and then here it comes again...

      You're right, prayer is one of the best ways to fight off those random thought attacks. I pray and pray, and you know what else helps me? Singing. I don't know why, but those times are the times I don't want to sing the most, and then I began to sing and it really just clears it away. It's really wonderful. God is wonderful to have escape doors for us against such things. :)

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your struggles. I always feel so much stronger when I know people struggle with the same things. :) That's why I share these things with others- I want them to know they're not alone!


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