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.