Contrary to what many people believe, there’s nothing morally wrong with living in a larger body. It simply is not a sin to be overweight. It is, however, a sin to judge someone based off the size and shape of their body.
On my blog/social media, I get a lot of questions about gluttony. “Isn’t it gluttony to overeat or be overweight?” This question frustrates me to no end because it exemplifies one of the key ways that our culture distorts scripture to feed an alternative agenda. We have absolutely no way of discerning the details of someone’s spiritual life based on the appearance of their body.
We have absolutely no way of discerning the details of someone’s spiritual life based on the appearance of their body.Tweet
Not all people with higher levels of body fat are shaped that way because of sinful over-consumption. First of all, body diversity is a thing. Second, thin and thick people alike have equal risk of gluttonous behavior. As with other forms of idolatry, gluttony involves the use of a good thing in an improper way to try to fill a need that can’t actually be met by it. Being in a larger body does not mean that a person is a glutton. As Christians, it’s really important that we don’t call something a sin that isn’t actually a sin, so as to breed unsubstantiated guilt. As we read in Matthew 11:19, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” As with all other sin, shame only impedes the path to healing.
It’s also important to remember that meticulously avoiding food to the point that it results in an unhealthfully low body weight can also be the result of sin. In our culture, the unfortunate reality is that an extremely thin person’s body is revered, whereas an extremely heavy person’s body is looked down upon. But the truth of the matter is that this viewpoint is the outplay of evil forces in our culture, not biblical love. The enemy sows seeds of envy, hatred, jealousy, and shame. Our bodies are not a reflection of our value as people and should in no way be treated as such. We are no more valuable if we are thin, and no more valuable if we are not. Likewise, we are no worse off if we abuse food through overconsumption than if we abuse it by under-consumption, or by dedicating the majority of our waking thoughts to limiting it. God grieves idolatry in any form, and so it is important for all people to not view food or bodies as more valuable or powerful than they are. Just like a flippant attitude towards temptation is unwise, fearing food or weight gain is not of the spirit of God.
So, all of this is to encourage you to a) not take it personally if someone is judging your body or your food choices and b) to take caution when you find yourself making assessments about other people’s eating/exercise habits or the size/shape of their bodies. I also want this to serve as a reminder that even if you are dissatisfied with the way your own body looks in any given moment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that God disapproves of your behavior, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that he shares your attitude of condemnation towards your reflection.
Our struggle to accept ourselves doesn’t come the spirit of God. It comes from the evil of this world, which twists our brokenness into the belief that we and our bodies are bad. But our culture does not have the power to condemn what God has called very good. Body fat, curves, blemishes and stretch marks—though devalued by this world—are loved by the One who created them.