It was another phone call, another text, another conversation. As usual, I sat and listened to her. I paused my thoughts and nodded without surprise. I highlight not one instance, but instead, I choose her to symbolize them all. It wasn’t the first time that I managed to listen, seemingly without judgment. But was I really not judging...or due to experience, was I simply devoid of all surprise?
How’d I end up here?
When I was ten, I listened to my mom and one of her girlfriends recount a fight that had happened outside our nearby middle school. Without pause, an indescribable heaviness cloaked my entire being as tears fell without thought. The act of someone being hit, kicked, bruised...hurt. I didn’t know it then, but I was grieving. I was grieving over the fallen world in which I was living in and would later witness of its deepest fallacies even more—many of which would be found in me.
That heaviness remained throughout the day. But somewhere along the way, my grieving stopped. My tears remained dry. And I became accustomed to hearing story after story.
I thought that me listening to the sins of this world without blinking, without being surprised, meant that I’d finally matured from the quick act of judging when I’d hear another speak of one’s hidden sins; when I’d hear of the most perverse act; or when I’d hear of the crudest revenge played out on the news. I thought the fact that I could listen and not feel surprised meant that I created a safe space to allow another to confide in me and speak freely. But, one day recently, the Lord showed me that sin ought to not surprise me...but it ought to make me grieve. No, I don't mean that I should always manifest grief through tears, as I did when I was ten (though some circumstances may call for that).
Instead, what I'm saying speaks more to the matter of the heart.
Because sin is death, it's okay to grieve and feel a certain level of spiritual heaviness when taking witness to sin in my life and even in others. When I don't, it's substitute—cynicism—easily slips in and skews my view on life. Once cynicism takes root, it leads to hopelessness, and hopelessness leads to despair.
But, you may still be wondering, "Why Grieve?" "Grieve" is such a strong action word.
Because when you see God offering a storage of everlasting water, yet persons walking around thirsty for illicit sex, attention, validation, love, money; when you see God offering us unshakable joy, and yet so many paying high costs for temporary gratifications; when you see God offering us eternal dwellings, where moth and dust cannot destroy, and yet so many settling for makeshift tents; when you see God offering Himself...and us exchanging Him for _____ because He just isn't enough, it should make you and I grieve.
The heaviness that I felt as a little girl when witnessing hate is reminiscent to the heaviness I feel when I see the disintegration of a friend’s marriage, when I hear of another’s struggle with sexual immorality, when I see a family filled with strife and dysfunction, when I hear of a former friend now hooked on cocaine, and when I see my own inner pride choose to unleash venom towards my beloved. No, I don’t have to be surprised. BUT, I ought to take pause to grieve.
Because, this was never the Lord’s intended plan. This was never the Lord’s intended purpose for our lives. This was not how it was meant to be. And that my friend, should make one grieve.
I encourage you to take time to grieve and feel the Father's heart. And once you do, simultaneously grab onto hope for dear life. Pray—acknowledging how messed up this life and you are. And then, with all eyes on the light of Christ, with all eyes filled to the brim with the vision of a life that is to come but not yet, silently ask, “Redeem that which is broken. Fix what my eyes can see is messed up. Take back allllllll that Satan has stolen. And make new again.”