Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:15-16)
As a gracious heavenly Father, God knows that the act of lamenting may heal our broken souls and our broken world.
Lament is not:
- Lament is not despairing.
In reality, lament is a relative of joy. Think about what Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn.”
- Lament is not whining or self-pity.
Self-pity is just about me—my pain, and my problems. Lament opens us up, connecting us to the larger story that God is writing.
- Lament is not guilting.
Motivating people through condemning guilt rather than through the convicting work of the Spirit, doesn’t change anything. It typically leads to more division, more bitterness and more resentment on every side.
- Lament expresses deep sorrow, loss, grief or regret.
Without lament we often end up with a superficial faith and a stunted compassion, presenting a shallow faith to a hurting world that doesn’t want easy answers.
- Lament brings pain into God’s presence.
If we don’t see the necessity of lamenting over suffering and pain, we will forget the reality of suffering and pain.
- Lament connects us to a larger story with a larger God.
When we lament, we leave behind a small story with a small, manageable god.
- Lament causes us to grow in compassion.
Lament says, “I hurt, but I see that you are hurting also.”
Let’s take time to engage in the biblical call to lament.
- Pray the communal psalms of lament, which express deep sorrow for the travails of a nation and a people, and are asking for God’s blessing or intervention (Psalms 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 85, 90).
- In what specific ways do I need my heart softened? Where do I need to turn toward the “other” in this hour?
- Is there any point of conviction that the Holy Spirit is bringing to my heart that I need to respond to in repentance?