Grief is Not Sin

Grief is not sin.  

It wasn’t until another grieving mom asked the question that I realized there are some (many?) in the community of believers that think grief is sin.

Not at first, mind you-everyone is “allowed” a certain amount of time to get over the loss of a dream, the loss of a job, the loss of health or the loss of a loved one.

But carry that sadness and wounded heart too publicly for too long and you better be ready for someone to question your faith.

And (heaven forbid!) you drag your limping soul to church on Sunday and sit silent during worship, tears streaming, as the rest of the congregation heartily affirms all the things you now wrestle with every day.

Is God good?  ALL the time?  Does God protect the ones He loves?  ALL the time?

“We bring the sacrifice of praise….” What sacrifice have you made lately?  Have you buried a child?

I think anything has the potential to be sin.  If I allow my heart, mind and soul to focus exclusively on what I’ve lost instead of what I’m promised through Jesus Christ, that is sin.  

But grief itself is not sin.

Paul said, “We do not grieve as those who have no hope”  NOT  “we do not grieve”. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

Sadness is not sin.  Sorrow and missing my son is not sin.

For a time, especially at the beginning, grief occupied most of my field of vision.  It’s that huge.  

We are made of dust and it cannot be otherwise.

Death is awful and the redemption of what was lost in the Fall cost God His only son. “The whole creation groans” (mourns, grieves) “to be set free from bondage to decay”. (Romans 8:21-22)

death matters lewis

Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?” as He bore the full weight of sin and sorrow of the world.

I believe that grief becomes sin when I choose to turn my face away from God and only toward my sorrow.

If I am holding it and dragging it with me toward the foot of the cross, that’s not sin.

If I turn my heart and face toward the One Who made me and trust that even in this painful place He is carrying me and will care for me, that’s not sin.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of bringing the “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15).  It is no sacrifice to praise God for the beautiful blessings.

It is quite the sacrifice to praise God for what Joni Eareckson Tada calls a “bruising of a blessing”.

If I continue to wrestle, like Jacob-clinging and begging for the blessing-I am not sinning when I walk away with the limp the wound leaves behind.

Jesus has opened the way to the throne of grace by His own blood.

I don’t have to hide and I don’t have to be afraid. 

He knows my pain.  He knows my name.

I keep bringing my broken heart to the altar and lift it up in broken praise.

That’s not sin.

It’s the widow’s mite-it’s everything I’ve got.  

 

worship-that-means-something-costs-something

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

10 thoughts on “Grief is Not Sin”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. We lost our son 5 weeks ago. We sit in the back of the church but I guess the tears that flow were offensive to the church leadership. (This is a very small church and today’s sermon was obviously agenda driven and directed at us.) It was all about how if we are grieving we need to repent of our sin. They even had an altar call for those who needed to confess this sin. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so, so sorry this was your experience. It’s not the only time I’ve heard of something like this and it hurts my heart-for you, obviously-but also for the others who think grief is a sin. What are they going to do when loss and death come to their doorstep? What a terrible twisting of the grace of God. Praying that the Lord lifts you up and encircles you with His loving arms. May He overwhelm your broken heart with His grace, love and mercy. ❤

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  2. The image at the end of this post is where I am this week: a long, dry road, that seems to have few places to rest. When trudging along this road it is easy to long for a pleasant surprise, a happier time around the bend. But the road is straight, hot, dusty, narrow, and lonely sometimes. But God is walking it with me. I cry in church because I can’t believe I have the privilege of worshiping Him while hurting like this and that while it cost me something to worship while in pain, it truly means something and yes, it is totally worth it. Because He is worth it.

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  3. This touched my heart deeply this morning Melanie! Just what I needed. Thank you so very much. I too, believe our loving God sees our heart and understands our pain, and I know He is patient with his children. Thank you again, you are truly gifted to write something so very true, but yet so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cathy, I am sorry that you know this pain. I’m thankful the words spoke courage to your heart. May the Lord give you the strength you need for each day and may He fill your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

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  4. I do not know why anyone would think grief is sin. God sees the heart and hopefully with His help over time, He can lessen the unbearable to the bearable. He loves His children also and can do anything . I hope Hector gets off o.k. It is so cold here and the wind is awful. Today is inside …….So many are sick and a couple of people have a low form of pneumonia. God Bless all. Hector we love you, Mom and Dad

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