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Dad and son - grief because of sin

Hurting The One Who Loves Us

The most touching words you can say are a sincere “I love you.”  They are even more meaningful in a time of loss. In those times, we grieve.

Grief is a natural response to a loss, whether it be the death of a loved one, a broken engagement, a home loan denied, or losing the promotion you had diligently worked for.

Imagine the grief David felt as his son, Absalom, raised an army against him and then was killed by David’s army in the battle. Reconciliation was no longer possible. David cried out in 2 Samuel 18:33, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”  Regardless of Absalom’s sin and rebellion, this was David’s son, and he loved him.

You don’t genuinely grieve unless there is a personal love relationship. On the news, you learn of a great tornado, hurricane, a bridge collapsing, or many dying on a war battlefield. At those times, we are sad and distressed for the victims and seek to help in any way we can. But if one of your close loved ones died in one of those tragedies, the sorrow would be intensified  and you would grieve. This victim was a person you had known for years. You talked to them recently and shared good times and bad times. But now, suddenly, they are gone. And the real grief begins. The pain of loss may seem overwhelming, and it continues. Your emotions go from one valley of despair to another until you can manage it.

Ephesians 4:30 commands, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”  We grieve the Holy Spirit because He loves us personally.

Jesus told the disciples, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.” (John 14:16). Jesus tells who the Comforter is in John 14:26. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.”  Comforter is from the Greek word parakletos, which means called to one’s side, intercessor, or advocate. When you go to a friend or loved one who has lost a loved one, perhaps the best thing you can do is to sit down beside them and just be there. You might not say anything, but because you are there with them, it makes a world of difference for them. The Holy Spirit comes alongside us and dwells in us to comfort, intercede, or advocate for us.

Not only that. He is there to “teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (Jesus) have said unto you.”  (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is called alongside us to teach and mentor us with the Word of God. He has sealed us (put God’s stamp of approval on us) until the day of redemption. (when our redemption is complete and we are physically in God’s presence). ( Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8:23).

He is our intercessor. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  (Romans 8:26-27).

Because the Holy Spirit indwells us (1 Corinthians 6:19), comforts us, teaches us, and guides us (John 16:13), He knows us very well. By reason of his caring relationship to us, He can intercede for us when we don’t know what to pray for as we ought.

Since the Holy Spirit has invested all this time with us, He has an intimate relationship with us. When we sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit. Consider a godly father who has spent much time with his son for his first sixteen years, teaching and training him in the ways of God. Then, the son turns away and falls into sin. The father is grieved and in great sorrow because he loves his son. He doesn’t give up on him. He prays, and he helps. He guides his son when the son will accept guidance. He keeps loving his son and tenderly urges him to return to God and himself.

The Holy Spirit is grieved with us when we sin. Because He loves us, He doesn’t give up on us.

The Scriptures surrounding Ephesians 4:30 reveal several ways to grieve the Holy Spirit. There are the sins of lying (4:25), stealing (4:26), negative speech (4:29), uncontrolled emotions (4:31), sinning through anger (4:26), and finally the sin of unforgiveness (4:32).

In this context, Paul lists the ways to conquer these sins. Instead of lying, speak the truth (4:25). Rather than stealing, labor so you can give to others (4:28) . As an alternative to negative speech, say things that edify or build up another person (4:29). Replace uncontrolled emotions and anger with kindness and a tender heart. Substitute unforgiveness with forgiveness (4:32).

The most excellent antidote for grieving the Holy Spirit is to give ourselves over to His control. Ephesians 5:18 commands, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.”  Intoxication with wine or other alcoholic drinks brings you under its control. Instead, be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit, submitting to His control. The result will be the fruit of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:” (Galatians 5:22-23).

We can never measure or comprehend the love that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit extend to us. The more we grow in the Lord and understand His love, the more we want to please Him. The last thing we want to do is displease or grieve Him. We want to hear him say to us, “Well done!”

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Thank you Dale
    I love your articles – they are filled with love and wisdom.
    This is a great message and will resonate with many.
    And every Christian will agree – we all want to hear “Well done!”
    God Bless~

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