Q: What’s the difference between a really bad habit and a habit that just annoys or irritates people, but doesn’t really matter? My wife gets after me over some of my habits, but I don’t think they’re all that bad. Does the Bible say anything about bad habits? — B.R.
A: A bad habit is anything we do on a regular basis that hurts us and holds us in its grip so strongly that we can’t seem to break free from it on our own. It may even destroy us, if it involves something dangerous or destructive (such as alcohol or uncontrolled anger).
And yes, the Bible certainly has much to say about bad habits — because God doesn’t want us to be slaves to anything that harms either us or those around us. And in extreme cases, any habit that enslaves us can be very deadly. Judas, one of Jesus’ little group of disciples, was a secret slave to greed; the Bible says he even stole some of the money that had been given to support Jesus’ ministry. In time his habitual greed destroyed him, because it made him betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and eventually commit suicide.
Have you become enslaved by a bad habit? If so, face it honestly, and turn to Christ for the help you need. God loves you, and Christ gave his life for you — not just to forgive you, but also to free you from the slavery of sin. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
But even if you only have some personal habits that irritate others, ask God to help you overcome them. The Bible says, “Husbands … be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect” (1 Peter 3:7).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.