Weeping Over Sin

By Pastor David M. Choi

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also, you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:20-24)

There is an alien power at work in the world that holds every human being captive. This is what Jesus tells us in John 8:34: “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” Surprisingly, and yet unsurprisingly, the world cheers for and rejoices over this reality, because the world lives on to echo that haunting line from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, where Satan says, “Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.” Or, to put it differently, better to die an eternal death so long as we get to be our own gods than to live a life that is everlasting by surrendering ourselves to Jesus. Just sit with that for a while, and let that sink in.

While the world rejoices over the very cause of its own misery, however, the Lord says his disciples will weep, lament, and have much sorrow. Indeed, this all sounds quite rather unpleasant. But which makes more sense? To rejoice over your sins, or to weep over them? Blessed are those who weep and mourn, Jesus says, for weeping is a sign that we are well on our way to the God of comfort (Matt. 5:4). How so? It’s because only the Holy Spirit is able to convict sinners of their sins (John 16:8). Yet, there is another reason why we bear such sorrow. It’s because the life of Christ within us is now working to make us whole and new. By no means is this a “pleasant” process, let alone an easy one. Instead, it’s like a woman giving birth in anguish. It’s painful and drawn out. Teeming with love, however, the suffering mother to-be says the excruciating pain is worth it. Why? Because though she suffers for a little while now, new life is on its way.

So, too, following Jesus is painful. Every single day, you are called to die to yourself, take up your cross, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Again, nothing about this seems pleasant – and Jesus never says it will be. But here’s what he does say: it is worth it. That is his promise. Yes, sin makes us sorrowful for now, and the birth pangs of moving from death to life (i.e. growing in dependence upon Christ as we slowly learn to let go of our pride and renounce our idols) causes us much anguish for now. Nevertheless! There is joy arising in the midst of sorrow, because the new life within you is now on its way. It is the new life that burst forth from the womb of God’s empty tomb. And very soon, says the Lord, that new life will burst right through every pain, sin, and sorrow of yours. As he stands before you in the fullness of his radiance and majesty. As he wipes away every tear and blots out every sadness. And as you go on to live in the joy of Christ forever.

Reflection + Prayer Journaling:

  1. If you’re not weeping over your sins, then you are rejoicing over them. Do you weep because of sin? Do your sins actually cause you to feel sorrow and cry out to God in anguish? Why or why not? What is the Lord revealing to you about where your heart is right now?
  2. How is God moving you further away from death (e.g. pride, envy, guilt, and other temptations, idols, and struggles) and closer towards life (i.e. freedom in Christ)? How have you found yourself resisting or surrendering to God in the process? How are you asking the Lord to further grow you?

Author: cyg-pd

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