World Wide Wolfmueller

Law and Gospel in Joyful Clarity

The Sin of Boredom The Sin of Boredom The Sin of Boredom

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

The devil tempts us to boredom. He tempts husbands to be bored with their wives. He tempts wives to be bored with their husbands, or the devil brings along some guy who is more interested in her. This boredom, dear friends, is a sin.

The devil tempts Christians to be bored with the Scriptures. Even if the Lord’s people believe the Bible is God’s Word, perfect and holy, they still fail to read and study it; they are bored with the Bible. The devil brings the temptation to boredom in church, to be bored with the Lord’s Service or with the preaching. This boredom is sin.

The devil (that master of a thousand arts) tempts pastors to be bored with the doctrine, with our Lutheran Confessions. We read them and subscribed to them, but we don’t read them because we don’t delight in them. We are bored with the Lutheran Confessions, and are looking for something more exciting. The devil tempts pastors to be bored with the members of the congregation. This boredom is a sin.

When it comes to boredom, we act like the problem is out there. If I’m bored with my spouse or the Bible of the doctrine, then my spouse and the Bible and the doctrine must be boring. Wrong! Boredom is not a state, it is a sin, it is a terrible form of despair. The problem is us.

Repent. Repent of your boredom. Repent and know that Jesus delights in you, that He has left everything behind so that He could have you and forgive you, and know that He is never bored or tired of forgiving your sins. Wonderful!

And then, dear friends, know that the Lord Jesus has given your spouse to you to be your delight. The Lord have give you His Word to be your joy. Dear pastors, the Lord has given you the doctrine and your congregation to be your joy and delights. We delight and find joy in the Lord and His gifts, and the Lord (can you imagine it) uses this joy to beat back the devil. Amen.

Lord’s Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

18 Comments

  1. Thanks for that reminder Pastor. Maybe I should go be interesting so my pastor doesn’t have to be bored. 😉 Kidding! 😉

  2. Thanks for that reminder Pastor. Maybe I should go be interesting so my pastor doesn’t have to be bored. 😉 Kidding! 😉

  3. Excellent. Thank you.

  4. Excellent. Thank you.

  5. And it reminds me of how 5 and 6 year olds tell me they are “bored”. Or the parents tell me their child misbehaves because they are “bored”. Bored just means they don’t want to do it.

  6. And it reminds me of how 5 and 6 year olds tell me they are “bored”. Or the parents tell me their child misbehaves because they are “bored”. Bored just means they don’t want to do it.

  7. A friend of mine that is a Lutheran Pastor sent me here to read this. I’m not sure if it was to claim that perhaps I got bored and subsequently left my faith, (I’m an ex-Christian, atheist) or if he just wanted an honest commentary – but I’ll settle for the commentary, since the former certainly isn’t true – this will make discussing with my friend a little easier later if I just make my comments here.

    “The Devil” is the worlds greatest scapegoat really. I find that to be quite unfortunate as “he” makes it all too easy to blame the difficulties in life on someone or something other than life itself.

    I get bored because I’m a human – I like to look at women because my instincts are to do so. I get bored with the scriptures because at this point they’ve become redundant (though I do think it’s incredibly shameful how few Christians actually study the Bible with any regularity – when I was a Christian I loved the scriptures and I devoted an awful lot of time to them that I’ll never be able to recover.). I get bored with congregations because they are hard-headed and never seem to want to change – I get bored with members because sometimes it’s like banging your head against a wall to get them to do whats good for themselves. The devil didn’t make me bored, I simply am, and often because the object of my boredom is – well – boring.

    Lets at least be honest about it.

    You aren’t bored with your wife (hypothetically) because the devil tempted you into it. You are bored with her because her cooking stinks and she’s not so great in bed. You can’t help but think “what if” when you see a better looking, better cooking, better everything woman sitting in the pew. It’s easy to be tempted by that woman (not the devil, though arguments could be made) because you are experiencing a natural reaction to that which you find attractive. It’s not sin, it’s nature.

    The Devil you say!

    • Well, Matt, I’m sure you’d find Lutherans more than willing to take responsibility for their own sinful natures and their innate ability to destroy healthy things in this world because of a constant desire to make everything about themselves.

      What I find unclear about your argument is whether or not you think such “natural” things are good and praiseworthy. It seems like you’re using the idea that “it’s natural” as the world’s greatest scapegoat–you want to seem to take responsibility for your actions while at the same time removing yourself from responsibility. This would give the appearance of a moral high ground without the obligation of guilt for actions that are wrong because, hey, if it’s natural, it can’t be wrong.

      But I hope I’m misunderstanding you. I hope you realize that things such as desiring another wife and destroying your current relationship in pursuit of one are wrong. If that’s the case, then you would need a source for determining which things are right and wrong. You would need an agent through which wrong would enter the world, as an existence with no alternatives excludes the very concept of “wrong”. Finally, if you recognize that things are wrong, I would hope that you would desire all wrong to come to an end, rather than resign yourself to it by labeling it natural.

      • HI Gary,

        I think you do misunderstand me.

        Though I’m not one to require strict interpretations of right and wrong I do find that often the law of empathy tends to lead us most often in the best direction. You know this law as the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Rather than to blame an entity called “the Devil” for all life’s ills or for tempting you to take the wide road, you might just want to admit simply this; “I’ve chosen to break the golden rule completely of my own volition, I’ve allowed my natural instincts to prevail where my compassion and logic should”.

        Natural != necessarily OK, it never has. Often what is natural is different from day to day or two very natural instincts might contradict one another – we are still full of remnants from the past as far as instincts go and therefore should use some standard to rectify what nature might promote.

      • Hi Matt,

        I want to clarify that Lutherans are more than willing to confess that sin is their own, without using the devil as a scapegoat. I confess this every Sunday:

        “Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your holy Name. Amen.”

        They believe that these things come about because of concupiscence, or a sinful nature, that is an enemy of God and is set on making selfish, bad choices.

        You seem to agree that there is something wrong with our natures, as you see that our natural instincts conflict with themselves, and that we dont do unto others as we would have them do unto us. That being said, I believe the question would be why?

        The devil is not used as a scapegoat, but as an agent of temptation and an enemy of God. Yes, he tempted Adam and Eve, but they are responsible for their own sin, which is why they died for it. Yes, he tempts humans today to continue to wage war against God by going against his will, but he doesn’t force them to sin. Our own sinful natures want to go along with him, justifying our actions using whatever reasoning or explanation seems best. Furthermore, we live in a world that has also fallen to sin, which presents other obstacles to obeying God and temptations into sin. Our sinful nature also aligns itself with this fallen world.

        Nonchristians resist this in a sense because of their conscience, which God has given everybody to curb sin and prevent it from overrunning the world. You have this, I have it, everyone has it. This is why you “naturally” agree with Jesus’ teaching of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Christians resist this because they have been set free from bondage to sin. While Christians remain sinners, they have also received God’s Holy Spirit which aligns them with God against the devil, the sinful world, and their own sinful natures, so they are able to fight against these enemies of God in their daily struggles against sin.

  8. A friend of mine that is a Lutheran Pastor sent me here to read this. I’m not sure if it was to claim that perhaps I got bored and subsequently left my faith, (I’m an ex-Christian, atheist) or if he just wanted an honest commentary – but I’ll settle for the commentary, since the former certainly isn’t true – this will make discussing with my friend a little easier later if I just make my comments here.

    “The Devil” is the worlds greatest scapegoat really. I find that to be quite unfortunate as “he” makes it all too easy to blame the difficulties in life on someone or something other than life itself.

    I get bored because I’m a human – I like to look at women because my instincts are to do so. I get bored with the scriptures because at this point they’ve become redundant (though I do think it’s incredibly shameful how few Christians actually study the Bible with any regularity – when I was a Christian I loved the scriptures and I devoted an awful lot of time to them that I’ll never be able to recover.). I get bored with congregations because they are hard-headed and never seem to want to change – I get bored with members because sometimes it’s like banging your head against a wall to get them to do whats good for themselves. The devil didn’t make me bored, I simply am, and often because the object of my boredom is – well – boring.

    Lets at least be honest about it.

    You aren’t bored with your wife (hypothetically) because the devil tempted you into it. You are bored with her because her cooking stinks and she’s not so great in bed. You can’t help but think “what if” when you see a better looking, better cooking, better everything woman sitting in the pew. It’s easy to be tempted by that woman (not the devil, though arguments could be made) because you are experiencing a natural reaction to that which you find attractive. It’s not sin, it’s nature.

    The Devil you say!

    • Well, Matt, I’m sure you’d find Lutherans more than willing to take responsibility for their own sinful natures and their innate ability to destroy healthy things in this world because of a constant desire to make everything about themselves.

      What I find unclear about your argument is whether or not you think such “natural” things are good and praiseworthy. It seems like you’re using the idea that “it’s natural” as the world’s greatest scapegoat–you want to seem to take responsibility for your actions while at the same time removing yourself from responsibility. This would give the appearance of a moral high ground without the obligation of guilt for actions that are wrong because, hey, if it’s natural, it can’t be wrong.

      But I hope I’m misunderstanding you. I hope you realize that things such as desiring another wife and destroying your current relationship in pursuit of one are wrong. If that’s the case, then you would need a source for determining which things are right and wrong. You would need an agent through which wrong would enter the world, as an existence with no alternatives excludes the very concept of “wrong”. Finally, if you recognize that things are wrong, I would hope that you would desire all wrong to come to an end, rather than resign yourself to it by labeling it natural.

      • HI Gary,

        I think you do misunderstand me.

        Though I’m not one to require strict interpretations of right and wrong I do find that often the law of empathy tends to lead us most often in the best direction. You know this law as the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Rather than to blame an entity called “the Devil” for all life’s ills or for tempting you to take the wide road, you might just want to admit simply this; “I’ve chosen to break the golden rule completely of my own volition, I’ve allowed my natural instincts to prevail where my compassion and logic should”.

        Natural != necessarily OK, it never has. Often what is natural is different from day to day or two very natural instincts might contradict one another – we are still full of remnants from the past as far as instincts go and therefore should use some standard to rectify what nature might promote.

      • Hi Matt,

        I want to clarify that Lutherans are more than willing to confess that sin is their own, without using the devil as a scapegoat. I confess this every Sunday:

        “Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your holy Name. Amen.”

        They believe that these things come about because of concupiscence, or a sinful nature, that is an enemy of God and is set on making selfish, bad choices.

        You seem to agree that there is something wrong with our natures, as you see that our natural instincts conflict with themselves, and that we dont do unto others as we would have them do unto us. That being said, I believe the question would be why?

        The devil is not used as a scapegoat, but as an agent of temptation and an enemy of God. Yes, he tempted Adam and Eve, but they are responsible for their own sin, which is why they died for it. Yes, he tempts humans today to continue to wage war against God by going against his will, but he doesn’t force them to sin. Our own sinful natures want to go along with him, justifying our actions using whatever reasoning or explanation seems best. Furthermore, we live in a world that has also fallen to sin, which presents other obstacles to obeying God and temptations into sin. Our sinful nature also aligns itself with this fallen world.

        Nonchristians resist this in a sense because of their conscience, which God has given everybody to curb sin and prevent it from overrunning the world. You have this, I have it, everyone has it. This is why you “naturally” agree with Jesus’ teaching of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Christians resist this because they have been set free from bondage to sin. While Christians remain sinners, they have also received God’s Holy Spirit which aligns them with God against the devil, the sinful world, and their own sinful natures, so they are able to fight against these enemies of God in their daily struggles against sin.

  9. I think you are making a mistake in your analysis, assigning a moral quality to something that is morally neutral. (I assume we’re talking about the standard meaning of boredom, which is a lack of interest.)

    You write as if boredom is the same as denying the value of something. Two students may study something worthwhile. One finds the material interesting, the other, boring. Both consider it valuable.

    Interests are subjective and individual. Many things affect them.

    Morality comes into play in regard to what one does with his boredom. But even then, disengaging from an activity due to lack of interest is not categorically wrong.

    Soapbox #1:
    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that high doses of repetition are apt to cause the brain to “glass over.” It’s true in all areas of life. If you are already thoroughly familiar with something, what is there to spark interest? Even if the words are good words — for instance, ones to a favorite song — the brain ceases to process them the same if they’re excessively repeated. Rather than considering this a cause for shame, maybe we should acknowledge that the brains God has provided us don’t deal well with excessive repetition, and avoid it in our ministry with His people.

    Soapbox #2:
    Our hymns use vocabulary and sentence structures that are not in common use. The meaning often escapes even those that are college educated. If people are singing something they don’t understand, they might as well be singing in a foreign language. Are they apt to experience that as boredom? Not surprisingly, yeah.

    Soapbox #3:
    Personally, I have a concern that God gave us such a large book, and yet we only “camp” on a small subset of it. I think there’s a boredom that results from neglecting to teach the Bible as a whole.

    Soapbox #4:
    The Lutheran Confessions aren’t part of Canon, so I’m not sure why they’re part of your thought process on this.

    Before you heap onto humanity a new category of sin, you need to provide Scriptural support for your thesis.

  10. I think you are making a mistake in your analysis, assigning a moral quality to something that is morally neutral. (I assume we’re talking about the standard meaning of boredom, which is a lack of interest.)

    You write as if boredom is the same as denying the value of something. Two students may study something worthwhile. One finds the material interesting, the other, boring. Both consider it valuable.

    Interests are subjective and individual. Many things affect them.

    Morality comes into play in regard to what one does with his boredom. But even then, disengaging from an activity due to lack of interest is not categorically wrong.

    Soapbox #1:
    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that high doses of repetition are apt to cause the brain to “glass over.” It’s true in all areas of life. If you are already thoroughly familiar with something, what is there to spark interest? Even if the words are good words — for instance, ones to a favorite song — the brain ceases to process them the same if they’re excessively repeated. Rather than considering this a cause for shame, maybe we should acknowledge that the brains God has provided us don’t deal well with excessive repetition, and avoid it in our ministry with His people.

    Soapbox #2:
    Our hymns use vocabulary and sentence structures that are not in common use. The meaning often escapes even those that are college educated. If people are singing something they don’t understand, they might as well be singing in a foreign language. Are they apt to experience that as boredom? Not surprisingly, yeah.

    Soapbox #3:
    Personally, I have a concern that God gave us such a large book, and yet we only “camp” on a small subset of it. I think there’s a boredom that results from neglecting to teach the Bible as a whole.

    Soapbox #4:
    The Lutheran Confessions aren’t part of Canon, so I’m not sure why they’re part of your thought process on this.

    Before you heap onto humanity a new category of sin, you need to provide Scriptural support for your thesis.

  11. > You write as if boredom is the same as denying the value of something.

    I just re-read your post. At least on this point of mine, I see that I was writing as if I hadn’t read YOU. LOL!

    But I guess a question I have is, Does delighting in something, in a Scriptural sense, mean that we should never, in a moral sense, find some expression of it boring?

    And is this passage in Jeremiah prescriptive or descriptive? At first glance, it appears descriptive.

  12. > You write as if boredom is the same as denying the value of something.

    I just re-read your post. At least on this point of mine, I see that I was writing as if I hadn’t read YOU. LOL!

    But I guess a question I have is, Does delighting in something, in a Scriptural sense, mean that we should never, in a moral sense, find some expression of it boring?

    And is this passage in Jeremiah prescriptive or descriptive? At first glance, it appears descriptive.

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