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.  




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.

28 thoughts on “Grief is Not Sin”

  1. Grief is love unresolved. I think you already said that Melanie in another post.
    God sees everything! Yes he does!
    I have found those days when I feel overwhelmed I just avoid gatherings or church ..I think the world is our “church” and find being alone, at one with my grief is sometimes the only way to cope. I say alone, but never feel alone, because Jesus walks with me. But people can, and have, hurt my heart so much ..I’m starting to avoid those who do.
    I love my darling boy eternally, and am living, I feel, in two worlds here and There. There is where he waits with Jesus. Here is where I cry, and wait. It’s all too much to bear. My other children need me ..I love them ALL the same. They are grieving ..they lost their younger brother.
    Melanie I think I speak for many on your blog that during the Covid pandemic it is YOU who have helped so many of us, searching for love, support and understanding…with compassion. That, and all the others who have shared their hearts on your blog have kept me going on this path . Thanks Melanie xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You speak my heart every time, every post. Thank you for putting the words to my grief journey (which is the same journey of countless other mourners.) It’s such a help knowing that there are others who know and understand what this feels like.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this article. I am reading this, while in bed. I called out of work today, I just couldn’t do it today. I lost my son my son to cancer 3 months ago. I wrestle with the “why, why my son” a lot. I know that God’s word and promises are true. It just hurts. I try not to let my mind stay focused on my questions. I also start to feel guilty for questioning God, but that is the enemy. I feel guilty for missing work today, but I needed time to grieve. Thank you for this reminder that grief is normal and needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear mama, I’m so glad this helped your heart. There are a lot of posts on questions, trust, faith that can be found by using then” search” function on the blog. Praying you feel the Lord’s love, mercy and grace wash over your wounded heart. ❤️


  4. The other example I often think of is Jesus crying at Lazarus’ tomb. He certainly had hope. He knew His Father’s purpose was to show his authority over death. And yet Jesus wept for and with Mary and Martha. I suspect he also wept for the devastation of death and separation from our Father. If Jesus could grieve to the point of perspiring blood yet also trusting in the garden and it wasn’t sin then I think we have a shepherd and high priest who can handle our grief even if others can’t

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Melanie! I just found your blog a few days ago and it has been a blessing to my weary soul. We lost our youngest son, Luke, about 16 months ago, after a two year battle with cancer. (He was 17 when he died.)

    No one has said to me that grief is sin, but for some reason I wrestle with this question internally. But I am honest with God and continue to wrestle with Him with all my questions and confusion. And I come away knowing that even if I don’t understand everything about God, I still believe and place my faith in him.

    Again, thank you for your ministry to other grieving parents! Thank you for pointing us toward Christ even as we grieve deeply our biggest loss in this life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This echos everything I have felt for 2 years since losing my son, Noah. “Is God good?” “Does God protect the ones he loves?” I still struggle with this everyday. When the song You’re a Good, Good Father is on the radio or sung at church, I can’t force the words from my mouth. But even this I know that God understands and loves me still.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. I still say that while I fully rest in the knowledge and truth that God’s ways are not my ways, I don’t understand how child loss is part of a loving Father’s plan. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe Him, it just means I don’t understand Him. And I can’t make up a tidy wrapped up package for other people’s consumption. I know in Heaven I will fully know as I am fully known. For now, I’ll just admit that I don’t know. ❤


      1. A light bulb moment for me when you said, ” It doesn’t mean I don’t believe Him, it just means I don’t understand Him. ” Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Melanie you wii never know how much you have helped me! My son died in 2017 and I lost my husband of 47 years two years later… half of my family 💔💔💔 You speak to my heart through every post.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I am sobbing while reading this. I cry every Sunday during Mass- especially after Holy Communion….. I have faith. I am hopeful. I believe in the Resurection. I know Scott is in God.s loving care. His cancer was cured and his agonizing pain left him with his last earthly breath. But When I sit in God’s presence at Mass, my broken heart is exposed…..I am most vulnerable……and I cry. Thank you for writing this blog. Your words touch me so deeply each and every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thankful it helps your heart to read and know you are not alone nor are you crazy or abnormal. You are a grieving mother. Grief is hard. Life after child loss is one giant struggle after another. Your heart is so tender and that is why you cry. Your tears bear witness to your love for your son. Nothing to be ashamed of. ❤


  8. 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. ❤


    2. What???? This is an awful thing to happen at your church if all places!! I’m so sorry they are not helping to comfort you during this time!! If they should …heaven forbid!!!….lose a child I can almost guarantee you that they would see grief like yours in a whole different light!! I’m so sorry this has happened!! We have been very fortunate at our church to have a understandING and loving congregation! God bless you!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 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.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. 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. ❤


  11. 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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