Tag Archives: apologizing
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit –Let’s Not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God!
One of my seminary students wrote a paper on “The Lost Art of Lament.” She made the case that we have virtually forgotten how to grieve over our sins. Isn’t it true that our prayers are often skeleton supplications for God to bless us? When we worship or adore God in prayer, have we skipped lament? We ought to grieve over our sins, but do we ever grieve the Spirit of God?
When it comes to God the Holy Spirit, some believers overemphasize Him while others overlook Him. We want a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity. We begin this morning with a series of posts on how we respond to the Third Member of the Trinity.
We are not to GRIEVE Him. We read in Ephesians 4:30 —
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
There are quite a few verses in the Bible about grieving.
Gen 6:5-6- 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (KJV)
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous . . .
The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.
1 Samuel 20:34
Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.
2 Samuel 1:26
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland!
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
1 Thessalonians 4:13
[ Believers Who Have Died ] Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
Here are my observations about GRIEF in the Scriptures:
1. GOD grieves! God is “grieved at his heart” that he had made man (Gen. 6:6).
2. God grieves at the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (“their sin so grievous”) (Gen. 18:20).
3. People grieve for other people in the Bible (the Israelites for Moses [Dt. 34:8], Jonathan’s grief at his father’s shameful treatment of David [I Sam. 20:34], David’s grief at Jonathan’s death [2 Sam. 1:26], etc.).
4. Job defends himself as grieving for the poor and weeping for those in trouble (Job 30:25).
5. We are told very specifically that Israel rebelled against God and “grieved him in the wasteland” (Ps. 78:40).
6. In the Old Testament we learn that the Israelites “rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them” (Is. 63:10).
8. Jesus says that there will be both weeping and rejoicing: “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (Jn. 16:20).
9. Lastly, we are to grieve at the death of those we love, but we are told, “you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (I Thes. 4:13).
Conclusion: We can — and often do — grieve God the Holy Spirit. Grieving our and other’s sin is right and good. But we must recognize that because He is a Person, the Spirit of God can be grieved by our unbelief and rebellion. Anything you need to apologize to the Holy Spirit for?
Apparently, after John Lennon made his unfortunate statement about Christianity (“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now . . .”), he followed it up later by saying, ““I wasn’t saying whatever they’re saying I was saying. I’m sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still don’t know quite what I’ve done. I’ve tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I’m sorry.”
There’s a lot of confusion about apologizing, don’t you think? Someone named Mark Matthews said, “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.” I don’t know — whenever I apologize it usually means I’m admitting I was wrong in my words or my actions or my attitude.
This is the ninth habit I’m working on — the necessity of the practice of apologizing. It’s always painful for me. I do want to value a relationship more than my ego. Asking forgiveness puts one in a vulnerable position in which the other person might well choose not to forgive.
Jesus says in Matthew 5: 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” How important is apologizing? Getting reconciled with another brother or sister? Admitting one’s offense and trying to straighten things out? Important enough to interrupt one’s worship of the living God! Does a habit get more important than that?
May I suggest this includes also apologizing to those who are not yet Jesus-followers? The more friendships we have with those not yet in God’s family means the more occasions we will have to disappoint them, hurt them, offend them. And those become opportunities to admit our wrongs, to ask for their forgiveness, and to respond in a godly way (even if they choose not to forgive). Allow the chinks in your Christian armor to show. You are not yet perfect and neither am I. So, apologize already! (to be continued)
May I ask you a rather personal question? Is there anyone you need to apologize to? Sometimes we can allow bitternesses and little hurts to accumulate in our hearts, when a simply apology will cleanse a relationship and give us a healthy dose of humility.
In an excellent article in Psychology Today entitled “The Power of Apology,” Beverly Engel points out that “Apology changed my life. I believe it can change yours, as well. Almost like magic, apology has the power to repair harm, mend relationships, soothe wounds and heal broken hearts.”
Much is made in the Bible of apologizing. It is intimately connected to forgiveness. And that’s something all of us need!