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Mourning Our Sin

Mourning our sin isn’t about beating ourselves up and living a satanically condemned life. It doesn’t mean that we tell ourselves how rotten and miserable we are, and, “If you were really a Christian, you wouldn’t do that stuff.” It’s not about feeling unworthy, unlovely, and unlovable.

This mourning is understanding that we live in a world characterized by sinful actions. This type of mourning is living with sensitivity to our sinful actions that break God’s heart, and then responding with godly sorrow.

I had a conversation with a friend about this over lunch recently, and we came to the conclusion that it’s not until we realize that our sin breaks God’s heart that we learn to mourn over our sin. As long as we think our sin just angers God, we won’t have true sorrow over it. If you sin against someone, and you can tell by looking at their face that they’re angry because of what you did, you’re going to become defensive; that’s how we typically respond to anger. It doesn’t touch our hearts—they’re mad, we’re mad, and it just blows up.

If, however, someone whom you’ve offended looks at you with tears streaming down their face and says, “Man, you devastated me. You cut my legs out from underneath me. You broke my heart,” you’re not likely to respond out of anger. You’ll probably be deeply sorrowful because the person is broken. As long as we see God as only being angry about our sin, sitting there with a big baseball bat waiting to beat us down, we’re never going to learn to mourn. It’s when we realize that our sinfulness causes God to weep that we have sorrow over our sin.

We have to learn to mourn over our sin, because our sin breaks God’s heart and many times it breaks other people’s hearts. The shallowness of the common Christian experience doesn’t get the job done, and it doesn’t lead to God’s comfort. It leads to anger, not sorrow. It doesn’t resolve; it covers up. We must go deeper.

Steve Berger is the Pastor of Grace Chapel Leipers Fork and the author of Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth, and several Bible study guides.

21 responses to “Mourning Our Sin”

  1. Julie Dumond says:

    Oh Pastor Steve,
    Now in my heart not just my head- it breaks his heart..not angers him only.
    Maybe it is because when my heart is broken I lash out in anger and so I think God does the same..once again I am not God! HE is GOD and I am just a creation of whom he has chosen to stick by and love… Thank you thank you for giving me these words today!
    forgiven- Julie

    • Steve Berger says:

      Julie, thanks for the comment. I am also grateful that He sticks by us and loves us. Amazing.

  2. Derek Brown says:

    Steve, thanks for this reminder this morning. Thankful for you brother.

  3. Very deep & thought provoking post. Thank you!

  4. Dawn Graves says:

    Many years ago I had a false belief in how God felt about my sin. I was deceived into thinking He was always mad and that the negative things in my life were His way of punishment. How freeing it is to know that this is completely false! His “training” and “correction” in me doesn’t involve anger, but Love Love Love. Everlasting Love! Thanks for the reminder Steve.

  5. Lona says:

    Often times when I see angry people I instantaneously think of the pain they are in…to quote a cliche….anger is pain turned outward. Thinking of how Christ experienced pain on the cross, the pain of rejection by his beloved apostle, Peter, he neither resented nor was angered by those whom were guilty. He had faith in what God was doing and knew His plan for the salvation of man. Before my immersement in His lifewaters and firm belief in Him, anger and frustration were a regular part of my day and I waved my offenses like a banner above me. While there are times I feel, and very well may be, justified, I look to my example……Jesus Christ. He was merciful, as I in Him are called to be. Being a new creation in Christ, I now see anger as a shout out for prayer and repentance, love and mercy. When He could have been angry with His Father, with Peter, and with each of us, He renounced anger and doubt; a more broken heart there never was. He healed us with blood drenched hands, tender mercies, eternal love and everlasting understanding

  6. Chad says:


    On point my friend. I love the “we must go deeper” at the end. Anything that drives us into an evaluation of ourselves through His eyes is a great thing in my book! This blessed me!

  7. Todd O says:

    This is another great word, thank you! It makes perfect sense, especially to those who are parents, that a child’s sin mainly grieves a parent’s heart. I need to keep the ‘Abba Father’ relationship in mind more when considering the ramifications of my sin.

  8. Mike says:

    One of my “traditions” over the last 5-6 years has been to watch the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday. You have rightly said that seeing the pain in someone’s eyes has a more profound effect on repentance. I watch that movie and as sin presents itself as an opportunity throughout the year I reflect on the pain our Saviour went through and it (in most cases) stops me in my tracks. Thanks for the post. A+

    • Steve Berger says:

      Mike, great idea. The film representation is a startling reminder. Thanks for posting.

  9. David Ecrement says:

    Ditto to other’s comments here. Good word. It reminds me that there is a huge difference between just being ‘sorry’…and truly being ‘repentant.’ It’s a lesson I’ve tried to teach our kids…and one that I’m still learning with my heavenly Father, my wife, friends, co-workers, etc! Your post here is another poignant paradigm, Steve. Thank you!

  10. Pastor Steve: Like everything else I hear you saying, you have just turned the ‘conventional’ approach on its ear with this post. I’ve never thought of God in this way. It leads me to a heart of repentance.

    Thank you, my pastor!

    Dave Williamson

  11. Judith Marie Rudderham says:

    Being raised a Baptist Preacher’s Kid..need I say more? Like it was said above, this entry and everything you teach sets a life of always feeling guilty and a need to constantly repent on its ear. My readings lately have coincided with your entry. I finally realize that I have broken God’s heart with my past. Tears flow now not for my past but for the pain I have caused God. My Abba Father that loves me more..Thank you so much Steve. This is helping me move on in my walk with Jesus.

    • Steve Berger says:

      He loves you more than you can imagine. He’s there to dry your tears and help you move to the next step, with Him. Blessings, Steve

  12. […] my last post I wrote about mourning our sin. This type of mourning is living with sensitivity to our sinful […]