Take Time To Lament
No one likes to dwell on their failures or mistakes. It hurts. In fact, many times we rush though the lamenting process, desiring to feel better as soon as possible. But lamenting is important, it is a vital first step in the process of learning from and changing our behavior. This is a process of lamenting, repenting, and cementing.
After Sean's sermon on Sunday, we discussed lament as a group. We talked about how it's more than just feeling badly about what happened. It runs deeper than that. It is an aching grief. It is a deep mourning. It is confronting the un-sugarcoated truth. And when we lament over our present circumstances because of the depths of our sin. It is life changing.
We often times rush through or skip over this process completely. We do not allow ourselves the time or space to truly grieve or feel remorse for what we have done.
Why? I think there are several possible reasons including not wanting to feel the pain you might have caused others or have brought upon yourself. We avoid admitting that a death has taken place and instead "pretend" everything is okay. Fake it till you make it, right?
Or maybe you can relate to this experience: you are criticized for dwelling on the past. Your friends or family no longer want to sit in a place of mourning with you and encourage you to move on. Maybe you've even been told by other Christians that your lamenting is really depression and you should seek help. I have experienced all of these and it left me feeling like something was wrong with me. But then I remembered that lamenting was important enough to not only be included in the Bible, but have an entire book dedicated to it.
It is only after you have taken the time to truly lament your sins that you can repent from them. Think about it, repentance is turning away from something and instead choosing to move on in an opposite direction or manner. If you have not given yourself the time to lament and really examine what you have done, how can you truly turn away from it?
Repentance is more than just saying you're sorry for something. After all, we teach our children to say sorry when they've done something wrong but that doesn't mean that they really understand what they did or even feel remorse for doing so. Even as adults, we can find ourself in the same place where we say "sorry" out of obligation but not out of a place of true grief over our actions or a desire to turn away from them.
To repent is to acknowledge you were wrong, identify the right manner in which you should live, and then doing it. I explained it in much simpler terms in my "Teaching Your Children" series last year. But what stops us from tripping up a second (third, fourth, fiftieth) time?
Our Sunday discussion showed how closely lamenting and repenting are connected. We all agreed it is a two-step process: first you lament and then you repent. But then my daughter, in her six year old wisdom and first grade talent of rhyming said: "And then you cement!" Little does she know how wise those words are.
Lamenting alone does not change who you are or your actions. Skipping over lament and quickly repenting for your actions may result in repeating those actions again in the future. You truly need both to cement the change in your heart.
Speaking from personal experience, it is easy to become a master lamenter; someone who dwells on their past sin and never allows the grace of God and others to heal them. It is also easy to become a master repenter; someone who quickly says they are sorry and tries desperately to make things better by saying they'll "never do it again" (aka walk in an opposite direction).
It was only when this master lamenter and repenter allowed those two to collide that the weight of my sin and the embrace of grace became real to me. They cemented the cracks in my soul and allowed me to make true changes.
I hope you'll join us in this series as we learn the importance of lament. Understanding the process of lamenting, repenting, and cementing is only the tip of the iceberg; there is much more to uncover. Sign-up for our newsletter at empty.church/sad to ensure you don't miss anything during the series.