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4 Challenging Examples of Grief Over Sin

Do you experience grief over sin?
Do you experience grief over sin?

Do you experience grief over sin around you?

A previous post laid a foundation for understanding the Beatitudes. Then we discussed Jesus’ words about spiritual poverty and spiritual hunger. The third Beatitude: “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21b).

Jesus presented values that were contrary to the thinking of the day, and this is a perfect example. The world doesn’t say those who weep are blessed. The world says they are unfortunate or cursed.

Jesus isn’t describing the joyful weeping that might take place at a wedding or the birth of a child, or even the sorrowful weeping that might take place from a loss or suffering. We live in a fallen, sinful world. Everyone weeps at times. In other words, Jesus isn’t saying blessed are those who experience something painful.

Instead, just like the first two Beatitudes, the third also needs to be viewed spiritually. Jesus is describing weeping over sin and wickedness. If you have a heart for God, you’re going to be grieved by the evil that surrounds you, because you know it’s rebellion against Him. Here are four examples…

FIRST: DAVID EXPERIENCED GRIEF OVER SIN

Few titles in Scripture – if any – can rival what God called David: “a man after My Own heart” (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). Considering the terrible sins David committed, we might wonder why God would refer to him this way. Part of it had to do with David’s repentant heart, but the bigger reason is David had a deep love for God and this was shown through the grief he felt over other’s sins.

Psalm 119:36 Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (see also Psa 119:53 and 158).

SECOND: SOME OF THE MEN OF JERUSALEM EXPERIENCED GRIEF OVER SIN

Before Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews into exile, God chose to spare some men by putting marks on their foreheads. I believe this took place in the spiritual realm, but was played out in the physical realm.

Ezekiel 9:4 The Lord said to [the angels], “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

THIRD: EZRA EXPERIENCED GRIEF OVER SIN

The Jews were taken into Babylon, because they failed to remain a holy people. When Ezra lead them back into the Promised Land, almost unimaginably they started intermarrying with the people around them.

Ezra 10:6 He rose up from before the house of God…and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.

FOURTH: NEHEMIAH EXPERIENCED GRIEF OVER SIN

Around fifteen years after Ezra’s day, Nehemiah led the third and final return of Jews back into the land. Once again they started intermarrying with the surrounding people.

Nehemiah 13:25 So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.”

While this isn’t instructive for us – no, you can’t pull out someone’s hair if their sin angers you enough – the frustration Nehemiah felt should challenge us.

We should ask ourselves:

  • Do we grieve over the sin around us?
  • Does it sadden us to see people blatantly disobey God?

Next post we’ll discuss the even more important way we should grieve: over our own sin.

These four examples of grieving over sin are far from the only ones in Scripture:

  • What other examples can you think of in Scripture?
  • Would you be open enough to share a time in your life when you were particularly grieved over the sin around you?
  • What sins around us do you think should be particularly grievous to us?

Share any thoughts below!

You can listen to the sermon this is drawn from here.

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