The Right Way to Grieve


“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Cor. 7:10

I am a long-time writer and editor so it shouldn’t have surprised me when a beloved brother in the Lord wrote me a brief message about sin in response to a devotional I had written that I found a seemingly insignificant word the general public would probably look over that I felt convicted by the Spirit of God makes an extraordinary difference in the message it was used to convey. I know well the heart of my brother in the Lord and his exceeding love for and devotion to the Lord and His Word, and easily discerned the heart behind his message for I know his desire as my own to live a live fully committed to loving, pleasing, and worshiping God. I knew he had not purposely used the wrong word, but I also knew his unintentional error contains a gravely important message for us all.

Here is what he wrote: “…besetting sin should grieve us…and how it grieves the Lord.” Can you guess what word might have been better replaced with another one? If you’re not a long-time writer and editor, or not extremely familiar with God’s Word, perhaps not. The word is “and.”

Sin should not grieve us AND grieve the Lord. Sin should grieve us BECAUSE it grieves the Lord. Stick with me please as I explain.

For decades, I LOVED my sin. If it ever grieved me, which it most assuredly did, it was because I despised the consequences of my sin – like broken relationships, hangovers from drunkenness, lost jobs because of my attitude and behavior, sickness and hospitalization because of an eating disorder, etc. I was grieved because of my sin AND God was grieved by it. There was no connection between the two. I lived for myself. I wasn’t living for God. Decades ago, I didn’t believe in God. Of course I didn’t care what God thought. I didn’t believe He existed. Tragically, for a long while after I came to believe in Christ, I still didn’t care that my sin grieved God. I honestly was too self-consumed to even consider what God thought. But the more I studied His Word, the more I came to know Him, the more I began to love Him, the more I love Him now, the closer I became to Him, I began to hurt over hurting God. I began to grieve over grieving Him. Sure, I still despised the consequences of my sin at times. But my greatest grief now is when I hurt the one I love more than anyone or anything in the universe. I grieve BECAUSE I grieve God. I grieve BECAUSE I wound the one I adore. The verses above speak of “worldly sorrow” and “godly sorrow.” Godly sorrow is when we grieve over our sin because we’re hurting the Lord God almighty. This is the right way to grieve. Godly sorrow leads us to repentance which leads us to eternal life with Christ! Are you grieving the Lord? Repent and turn to Christ!

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