My sadness may commend the Gospel

Photo by Ben Mack on

Jesus is described in Isaiah 53:3 as

a man of sorrows,[cand acquainted with[ grief;

We would do well to pay attention to this as it provides the starting point to the other side of the coin to Lloyd Jones’ comments about the failure of unhappy Christians to commend the Gospel.  Jesus himself experienced suffering, sorrow and sadness.  Jesus grieved at a graveside. Jesus wept. 

The Bible constantly points to the fact that believers will experience trials and suffering. This suggests that we too will be people of sorrow, we will be “acquainted with grief.”  A Christian who is oblivious to pain and unresponsive to suffering has embraced stoicism, not the Gospel.

Furthermore, remember Jesus’ promise that blessed are those who mourn.  The idea there is not just of grief because of bereavement. Rather, along with spiritual poverty, there is a mourning for sin including grief at our own sin and distress at the sin we see around us in society.  It is not only okay for Christians to be sad sometimes, it is right and proper that we should be.

Our sadness can then commend the Gospel if it is clear why we are sad, if the things that cause us to weep are the same things that would cause Jesus to weep.  This helps our friends and neighbours to see what is truly of value.

Our sadness can commend the Gospel if people see how we carry ourselves through it.  This can even include with depressive illness.  Do I allow my sadness to become all consuming? Does it lead to a kind of self-pity, love turned in on itself.  Or am I known as someone who continues to look outwards and to seek the wellbeing of others first, even through my own pain? Am I seen as someone who mourns but not without hope, who traces the rainbow through the rain?  Do I cling to God’s promises through my sadness?

If I am doing these things then I can commend the Gospel even through my sadness.

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