Monday, April 23, 2007

Why Don't Christians Grieve?

Have you come in contact with evil this week?

Have you run into people or situations that are sinful, unjust, or simply plain out and out wrong?

What was your response? Anger? Maybe.

Sadness? Probably not.

Here's another question:
What did the people of faith do or think or say in response to the situation you thought about earlier?

There was a Supreme Court Ruling this week. It had to do with the prohibition of a particular type of abortion. Bring up the topic in different settings, with different groups and you're likely to get very different reactions.

If you asked people what the most common emotion involved in such a "discussion"
would be, I'm guessing a large number would say "Anger".

We get charged up over such an issue and contention seems to be the immediate response.

There is certainly a place for righteous indignation when innocent people are wronged, hurt, or dehumanized.

But another significant event occurred this week as well. As you all probably are well aware, the Virginia Tech slaughter of more than 30 people has been plastered on every media outlet from television, to internet, to newspaper. And while much of this talk also eventually moved to the gun control debate (which also elicits significant emotion in the anger category), it is our collective, universal, initial response that I want to point out: grief.

Initially, our first responses were shock and overwhelming sadness. Before we had the luxury to move to anger, we saw the bodies of innocent people and stories of people who literally watched others die.

In such a situation, to have any emotion other than overwhelming grief would seem unhealthy, inhumane and inappropriate. Who's heart didn't break at the mass killling? We would all agree that would be a natural response.

So here's my question: Why is grief not ALWAYS a part of what the Church feels when sin is ravaging a life, a home, a community, or a society?

Amos was announcing God's judgment on His people when he proclaimed:
" did not grieve over the ruin of Joseph." (6:6)

Looking over the city where he would be falsely accused, laughingly tried, and unbelievably convicted, Jesus cried, " often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37)

I wonder: if injustice, sin, and the wounding of innocent people (even when self-inflicted), breaks the heart of God and causes Him to grieve, what should it do to me?

Next time you get angry over such an issue, ask yourself: have I been properly moved to grief? If not, maybe we need to look inside before we speak about what's happening outside.

Grace & peace

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