“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV)
“Good grief!” That was one of Charlie Brown’s favorite lines. But what is so good about grief? How can we put those two words together?
It is good to shed a tear. Grief is necessary. Grief is a process through which we confront our most difficult loses in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should not grieve. Loss is real. The Bible tells us that even Jesus wept (John 11:35). We need grief mixed with hope to confront the darkest realities and consequences of sin.
But through it all, for those of us who are believers, we grieve with hope, knowing that Jesus lives and the victory is ultimately won (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Grief needs hope. Without hope, grief becomes despair. But grief mixed with hope is an extremely healthy response to the realities of life and death.
Grief points us to our need for a Savior. As a pastor, I frequently officiate funerals. One of the things that I remind people attending the funeral is that death is a fate we will all face. One day we will be the one in the casket with our friends and family members gathered for our funeral. That is sad. But it is that grief will also draw us to Jesus the Savior who gives us hope.
Today is Good Friday. In the same way we might ask what is so good about grief, we might ask what so good about this Friday? It is the day which Jesus died on the cross. Why would we call it good?
It is good because it is for our forgiveness. It is for our salvation. It is good in that the ultimate act of love and grace was played out on this day. It is a day of mercy. It is a day fill with hope because we know that Sunday is coming.
On this day, the followers of Jesus were grieved over his death. This was the one they had dedicated their lives to follow. This was the one in whom they had placed their hope. The combination of grief plus the loss of hope led to despair. That is not a place we want to be. Grief is good, but despair is not.
Grief + loss of hope = despair
Today we are grieved that Jesus had to die for our sins. But we are at a much different place than the disciples. We see death of Jesus in the light of the resurrection. We know it was not the nails that held him to the cross. It was his great love for us. We observe the events of the cross with hope. Grief mixed with hope produces a much different result.
Grief + hope = trust in Jesus
Grief and hope will open the door for the 40th – and final – thing not to give up for Lent which we will share tomorrow.
- Do you think that grief is good?
- What does Good Friday mean to you?
- How is grief different with hope and without hope?