Grief Not Allowed
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. - John 16:20
In our culture, it seems more acceptable for us to be angry than sad. Consequently, many of us stumble through life without understanding our feelings, completely out of touch with our emotions. We may be deeply grieved by a number of circumstances, but we don’t feel safe acknowledging our sadness. It’s socially “okay” for them to vent their anger, but not to explore and discuss the deep hurt beneath it.
When you feel sad, anger seems like a safe retreat. It causes your adrenaline to rush. It commands attention and demands respect. It allows you to stay in control, and it keeps uncomfortable feelings and situations at a safe distance. However your failure to grieve can actually poison you.
The Bible offers no precedent for us to suppress our grief. The Old Testament depicts many people showing real grief. The men of Israel would rip their clothes, sprinkle themselves with ashes, wear black armbands, and spend time in mourning. They would wail before the Lord without feeling shame.
That experience allowed them to express their emotions and then move on without the baggage of repressed feelings. When we don’t grieve, we stuff our disappointments and sadnesses, and compensate for them with other less-threatening emotions, and at the top of the list is anger. But Scripture gives you liberty to grieve, so when you need to, openly grieve!
“To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.” - Erich Fromm (1900-1980)
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.