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Jesus teaches us to do things that are the opposite of what everyone else would do. He presses us into grief. He knows that grief is the only way to be free from our pasts, sins, and failures.
Disenfranchised Grief. Ken Doka coined the phrase disenfranchised grief about twenty years ago.
“Grief that persons experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned.”
He proposed several reasons that our grief might disconnect from its cause. The loss isn’t seen as worthy of grief. The relationship is stigmatized. The mechanism of death is stigmatized. The person grieving is not recognized as a griever. And, the way in which someone is grieving may be stigmatized.
We need to accept the reality that all losses will be grieved. If grief becomes disconnected from its cause, it will be very difficult to resolve and will manifest in unexpected ways.
Proverbs 14:13 (NLT) Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Our Fear of Sadness Robs Our Joy. We can’t keep running from our grief. Our excuses aren’t cutting it. “Everyone is struggling.” “My loss is no worse than anyone else’s loss.” “What can I do?” “I can’t just feel sorry for myself.” But, that is exactly what your heart is doing, whether you verbalize it or not. Grief can heal you.
Luke 6:21-23 (NLT) God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
We Should Grieve Our Sins
We Have Rebelled Against God. This rebellion is the deepest and greatest grief we were born into. We were born under a curse upon humanity that is the deepest grief of all. Because of it, we rebelled against and abandoned God. That’s how we lost our Father, and we don’t know the way home. We need to accept our personal responsibility for our rebellion.
We Have Harmed. We love to consider ourselves kind and good people. We believe ourselves to have more kindness than God. After all, we wouldn’t allow suffering. We would stop the pain. What kind of tyrants would we become as we forced people to accomplish our will? We should be so glad that God is God and we are not.
We hurt people all the time. We are rude. We are angry. We are impatient. We say awful things. Imagine the world you would live in if everyone acted just like you.
We Are Not Good People. People are not basically ‘good’, and you aren’t either. We can’t fix it, but we can grieve it. We can feel the pain we have caused. We can realize that our bad days and horrible moments have consequences. We can feel the pain we have caused God and each other. We can GRIEVE and let go.
Romans 8:22 (NLT) For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
We Should Grieve Our World
It’s Broken. There is so much that should not be in our world. Slavery, oppression, and the forcing of others to anyone’s will. The condemnation of the innocent, while the guilty remain free. There are so many who have more than they will ever need, while others will never have enough. There is chronic, sudden, and terminal disease. People are sick and getting sicker. People’s minds are not stable.
It’s Corrupt. Evil people have so much power. We incarcerate our petty thieves and elect the truly horrendous ones. In the name of science, simple cost-effective solutions are outlawed, while expensive ineffective ones are forced upon us. Wealth is continually being transferred from the poor and middle classes to those who are already filthy rich. Good men and women are silenced and slandered.
John 3:36 (NLT) 36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
It’s Condemned. NO ONE is waiting to be condemned. Everyone is already condemned. We were born onto death row. When will we grieve this? When will we allow our hearts to be broken? When will our grief overtake our appetites? When will we awaken to dire situations our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are inheriting? God has already judged everything of this kingdom on earth as corrupt. We should stop loving it and needing it. Instead, we must start grieving it.
1 John 2:15 (NLT) Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
Luke 6:49 (NLT) But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
We Should Trust Our Lord
Do You Choose Your Own Way? I am completely aware that Jesus’ teachings are the dead opposite of what makes sense and what we want to do. People often declare Jesus a revolutionary. They love to point to His temple cleansings and argue that Jesus would have straightened out city hall, or local, state, and federal governments. But that is incorrect. Jesus did not waste his time on those corrupt institutions. He challenged people within them. Jesus did not cleanse the Roman Praetorium in Jerusalem. He cleansed the temple.
Jesus was a revolutionary and this is why. You are the Temple that needs cleansing. You are the table that gets flipped. Jesus has the nerve to speak to you directly and say, “This is the way! Everything else is wrong. It’s not the way to God or peace or anything good. I AM THE WAY!”
Will You Choose Jesus’ Way? Moment by moment, day by day, will you trust Jesus’ teachings to guide and inform you? He says to love your enemies. He teaches us to rejoice when we are persecuted for His name’s sake. He teaches us to forgive and infect the world with forgiveness and freedom. Jesus teaches a way that is different than what you know and believe. So what will you do?
In fact, in light of what we have discussed today, are you willing to be sad? What if sadness is the chasm between my present pain and my future peace? If Jesus says that mourning is how you find joy, will you believe Him? You see, that’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He teaches us the way, and we walk in it, especially when it doesn’t make sense.