Grief Is a Healthy, Helpful Choice
Life is tough. Would you agree with that? Since Adam’s sin, the world was broken, and nothing works perfectly. Your body doesn’t work perfectly; the weather doesn’t work perfectly; the economy doesn’t work perfectly; no relationship works perfectly. Life is full of losses.
You need to understand a couple of truths that will give you a better perspective as you face the inevitable losses in your life and rise above them.
First, God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time.
There is this myth that Christians should be always smiling, always happy, always cheerful, like Pollyanna or Little Orphan Annie.
In fact the Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens …. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NIV).
Sometimes the only appropriate, logical response to life is grief. The Bible says you are to grieve over your losses, including your disappointments, your sin, the suffering in the world, and your friends who are spiritually lost. God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time. In fact, he wants you to be intentional in your grief.
Second, grief is essential to your health.
If you never grieve over anything, it means one of three things: You’re out of touch with reality, you’re out of touch with your own emotions, or you don’t love. Because when you love and you see sad things, then that makes you grieve.
Grief is a painful emotion, but it’s a healthy and helpful emotion. And it’s God’s gift. It’s the tool that God gives us to get through the transitions of life.
Some of you were hurt many years ago growing up. Maybe your parents divorced. Maybe you were abused. Maybe you were hurt by something somebody said about you. But as a child, you didn’t know how to grieve in a healthy way, so you just pushed it down deep inside you.
You need to go back and grieve over it. Why? Because if you don’t grieve, you get stuck emotionally, and you spend the rest of your life reacting to something that happened a long time ago and taking it out on the people around you now. It’s unhealthy!
David talked about this in Psalm 32:3: “When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (NCV).
The bad things that happen to you are not your choice. But grief is a choice. You say, “I don’t like feeling sad.” Not everything that’s helpful and healthy feels good. You’ve got to let yourself mourn the losses of life so that you can move on with your life and receive God’s blessing.
Talk It Over
- What loss have you failed to grieve? How has it affected you physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
- How do you know when it is time to finish grieving?
- What does it look like practically to allow others to grieve and support them in their time of loss?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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