What does God have to say about overweight believers? This was the question raised by Christian radio host Dr. Michael Brown, who sought to understand whether or not God condemns people who have no discipline over their food consumption.
"When responding to this question, we should answer it for ourselves and not for others, since there are many potential reasons for people to be overweight and we don't want to pass judgment on them based on outward appearance alone," he wrote in an article for The Christian Post.
Brown said a small percentage of people have medical conditions that contribute to their obesity, such as thyroid disorders. Other people struggle with depression or abuse, so they eat to mask the pain and despair. As for women who have had several children, some of them find it challenging to lose weight, all the while juggling their endless responsibilities as a mom and wife.
For Brown, it would be wrong to pass judgment on any of these people. But for others, they need to step up in losing weight.
"That being said, if the tent of our body is destroyed by unhealthy eating, that is a serious matter, and if my obesity is due to gluttony or lack of self-control or choosing fleshly indulgences to the detriment of my health, then yes, it is sinful for me to be obese," he said.
The Bible said the glutton will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The Bible passage from Proverbs 23:20-21 even speaks about gluttony in very negative terms: "Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags."
Brown stressed that people must personally assess their eating habits, and if it's in harmony with their biblical calling. If they cannot exercise discipline and self-control over their food portions, they need to shape up.
"Some of us say that we're willing to die for Jesus but we're not willing to control our appetites for Him (or, at the least, we're not willing to make a serious effort to control those appetites). This simply doesn't line up," he said.