In modern medicine for mental health, there is a growing culture of victimhood associated with diagnoses. For many people, it’s no longer “I have a depression diagnosis” but “I am depressed, I am a person with depression.” The description that should guide behavior and lead to healing, the diagnosis, becomes a label that adheres to the identity and allows the person to become a victim of circumstance. This is not in and of itself wrong or sinful but it is a great opportunity for sin.

He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Mark 7:20-23

The Bible tells us who are believers that it is the heart, not the cardiac muscle but a person’s will, that is the origin of sin. We decide to sin. We purpose in our hearts to be disobedient.

“Ah, but I didn’t mean to sin, Lord! The situation I was in, things just sort of happened. It was out of my control.”

Now, putting aside any responsibility for being in a situation where things that tempt you are surrounding you inescapably, let’s just focus on what happens the moment a person sins. The temptation is there, the sin appeals to the person and then the person decides to allow himself to sin.

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

We know that feeling. But some Christians, rather than experiencing any sort of guilt or repentance, tell God, “you know how hard this is for me, so forgive me, but it’s going to happen again.” The Hebrew writer scolds his readers saying that Jesus died because you sinned but you haven’t even got a scratch resisting sinning in the first place (Hebrews 12:4)! Paul has to warn the Roman Christians not to allow the excuse of “showing God’s grace” to become a reason to sin (Romans 6:1ff)! We must not be deceived by our own desires.

The world will tell you over and over to follow your heart. God tells us to lead our hearts to him.

Ethan Kirl