Are you, as a Christian, complacent, laid back, and couldn’t care less about what is happening in both the world and the church? If so, you may well need to repent and ask God to share his broken heart with you. We should be grieving heavily over all that we find happening, especially in these increasingly dark days. Woe to us if we do not.
God’s people are meant to image God. We cannot resemble him in terms of things like omnipotence and omniscience, but we can and should resemble him in moral and spiritual ways. As we grow closer to God, his mind should be our mind, and his heart should be our heart.
That is, we should rejoice in what he rejoices in. We should love what he loves. We should hate what he hates. And we should grieve over what he grieves over. The things that concern God should concern us. That is one test to see if we are growing in grace and becoming more Christlike.
Thus if God hates certain things, we should hate them too. That does not at all sound like something most folks today – including most Christians – would ever countenance however. Such talk is totally foreign to them. ‘Christians hate? No way.’ ‘God hates? No way at all!’
But both are fully biblical. There are plenty of biblical passages to support both. But I speak to this matter in much more detail here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/23/divine-love-hate-part-one/
And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/09/12/yes-we-should-hate-evil/
But in this article I want to look at another way in which we are to imitate, to mirror, God. God grieves over sin and evil and wickedness – and so should we. That God grieves is clearly taught in the Bible. Let me mention just a few passages here.
Way back in the early chapters of Genesis we read about how grieved God was over wayward and rebellious mankind: “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6). Wow.
And God can be grieved over those he has chosen to use: “Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: ‘I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions’.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night” (1 Samuel 15:10-11).
The Spirit of God can be grieved: “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them” (Isaiah 63:9-10). And Paul quotes that passage in Ephesians 4:30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Jesus also was grieved by various things. In Mark 3:5 we read this: “And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
God’s people also grieve over the things that God grieves over. Just the other day I again read about this in Nehemiah. Consider what is found in Neh. 2:1-3.