Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Grieve?

Why grieve when there is so much Scripture on hope and when hope is a so much more enjoyable and immediately (seemingly) rewarding experience?
Psalm 18:27 ... "For You save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes you abase."
We grieve because we are an afflicted people who need saving.

We grieve because we and our people are afflicted with satiation, distraction, consumerism, independence, isolationism, self-service, and a numbness that keeps us comfortable as our illness grows.

We grieve because the world of "others" - even those others in our own city - are afflicted by poverty, injustice, abuse, neglect, violence, addiction... and they are afflicted by our own inability to see them or know them.

We grieve ...
... because
we need to be saved
from our affliction.

Championing hope while our hands are still so blood-stained with American idolatry, while the exiles still remain so far away and so invisible to us, seems the wrong response to our predicament.

I am a child of American privilege. Many of my people, my beloved friends, are children of privilege too. Our culture has shaped our assumptions and taught us to believe that such self-serving rhythms of life are normal and acceptable to God. We have been deceived in the subtlest of ways.

Through grief, we learn to see our affliction and the affliction of others. Grieving leans us toward sympathy, humility, and repentance. If grief takes hold, it can drive us to desperate prayer and motivate us toward obedient change that cultivates hope and reconciliation as we forsake our idols and rediscover Jesus.

And, by the way, grief is never to be a passive-aggressive cover for self-righteousness or judgment.  It is to be the grief God feels for those he loves.  The grief out of love that compelled him to the cross.
Matthew 5:3-4 ... "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who grieve, for they will be comforted."

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