Perhaps the most striking example of God’s sorrow can beseen during the time of Noah: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (Genesis6:5-6)
“Grief” isn’t a word we use much these days, but the definition for it is “to feel intense sorrow as in when a loved one dies.” If you’ve ever had someone you loved die, you’ll know how God felt. In the Hebrew the word used when God grieves means, “to breath forcibly, to pant, to groan while lamenting forcibly.” And the “heart was filled with pain” actually means “intense physical pain and anguish.”
Can you imagine the God of the universe feeling this way about His creation? I mean how intense must His love be that He would feel pain, actual pain, when human beings choose evil? Is it any wonder He went to such great lengths as to send Jesus to suffer and die to redeem us?
And yet we seldom think about God’s feelings when it comesto sin. We get so caught up in lifeless theology with words like “justification” and “sanctification” that we don’t even consider God’s broken heart when we pray for forgiveness. Here’s a good litmus test to think about: Would you believe a cheating spouse was truly repentant if they asked for forgiveness the way you do when you approach God after you’ve sinned?
My fervent prayer is that anyone reading this would understand that God cares deeply about what we do, say, and think. These things will either be done out of love for Him or not. No action, word, or thought is neutral in this life, and when we sin in these aspects, we grieve God, even if we’re redeemed.
This is why Paul writes, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians4:30-32)
Loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength means considering His love for us and not doing anything to grieve Him, and because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to love God like He loves us and can be forgiven when we do grieve Him.
May all the days of your life be pleasing to our Lord!