Godly Grief

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10

Pride Month is drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean the challenge to affirm the LGBTQ+ movement is over. The emphasis may switch to some other minority, but the underlying assumption for many will still be that public approval is the solution to personal shame. What good can come from causing so much grief?

The painful experience of shame is real, and it drives us to do things we regret because they harm others and ourselves. This destructive behavior should not surprise us because it is what the Bible tells us will happen when we exchange truth for a lie and worship ourselves instead of God (Rom. 1:24-27).

We are all susceptible to these lies and bent on placing ourselves at the center of our world, where only God belongs. We sense this is not right, so we look to gather those around us who tell us what we want to hear (Rom. 1:32). The resulting darkness is the destructive power of sin and shame.

But God has not left us without hope. He sent his Son into the world to be a light in the dark (John 1:5). When we believe Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for our sin, God makes us his children (John 1:12-13). This is the gospel message, and the gospel alone offers the promise of being unashamed (Rom. 1:16).

The gospel alone offers the promise of being unashamed.

The Pride movement is succeeding in making homosexuality and transgenderism socially acceptable. In doing so, they are hoping to be free from shame. But these efforts are motivated by pride and self-righteousness, so they will not bring freedom from God’s judgment and punishment (Rom. 1:18).

We must agree with scripture that these things are wrong. But we must also be on guard against our own proud and self-righteous hearts and not judge those who are part of the Pride movement (Rom. 2:1). Thankfully, God has patience with us all as his kindness leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:3-4)

So how should we respond? If you have not placed your hope in Jesus, you must do that now. For those who have trusted Christ, the confrontation of Pride month is an opportunity to examine our hearts.

Do we see anger or self-righteousness in ourselves even as we see those attitudes on display during Pride Month? Are we grieved by what we see around us, or do we try and separate ourselves by condemning others?

Jesus grieved over those who rejected him (Luke 13:34). He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3), and he told his followers to expect the same (John 15:18-19). But Jesus also promised that in him, our sorrow would turn to joy (John 16:20).

Pride Month celebrates those who deny God, and demand approval for something the Bible and the created order say is wrong. That celebration directly contradicts what we believe and will stir up many emotions.

Anger and shame can provide intense, short-term motivation, but sadness and grief can create good change in us in the long run (Matt. 3:8). We must first be grieved by our pride and attempts to justify ourselves. Then we can grieve over the darkness of shame and the desperate measures we, as fallen people, will take to escape it.

In that grief, the words of Jesus provide true comfort: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Then, by the power of his Spirit, we can see Jesus’ prayer answered in us as we make his love known to those trapped in darkness and desperation (John 17:25-26).

When have you had the strongest emotions during Pride month?

What are those emotions? How can they lead you to godly grief?

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