I remember being told as a child to remain quiet out of respect to the mourners. I wasn’t supposed to laugh or joke, or run around with other kids at the funeral. I was to mourn with the family who had lost someone special. I’d like to share something with you about the time of mourning that each of us must have in our lives. It’s a command in scripture, a command I think we often forget.
In James 4:6-8, God gives a recipe for revival. God explains that if we want to grow close to Him we must humble ourselves, resist the devil, and purify our lives of sin. Okay great! Sounds simple to me, if we will just do these things, then we will be coming close to God, He will come close to us, and we’ll have a great relationship!
But, it doesn’t end there. Verse nine gives another command, or ingredient if you will. The verse reads, "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." That’s not a verse I like to spend a lot of time in. It’s not something that we like to talk about. Weeping over sin. Mourning our loss of service to God. Coming face to face with the seriousness of the sin that separated us from our loving Savior. It’s not fun. But there is hope.
1 John 1:9 reads, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God says that he will forgive us and cleanse us if we simply confess. Isn’t that amazing? But what is confession? Is saying that we’re sorry really enough?
Many people think that confessing our sin is simply saying, "Oh, I lied, please forgive me. I stole, forgive me God. I was lazy this afternoon, forgive me." The word confession means "to say the same as." So, in essense, God wants us to say the same thing about that sin that he would. Do we speak of sin, or think of it, as God does? When you make a decision to turn from sin, do you take it seriously? God isn’t interested in His servants having a flippant attitude towards sin, sin that was so serious, that it’s atonement could only be brought about His death on the cross. Sin is serious.
My friends, do you take sin seriously? Or do you acknowledge your sin and make a half-hearted decision to change later. I am very guilty of treating sin as something of no consequence, but God commands us to view sin as He sees it. He tells us to mourn over it. Do we mourn? He tells us to weep. Do we even shed a tear? When you confess your sin, take a moment to realize the greatness of your offense and what it cost Christ.
I’ve said it multiple times now, but sin is a serious matter. When you repent, it’s a time to mourn, it’s a time to weep. Take the time to mourn. Don’t simply mention how you’re sorry and then pretend like nothing happened. Realize your guilt, and acknowledge it. Then, afterward, rejoice in the Lord. God promises to forgive you once you have confessed your sin. You don’t have to live in guilt. Weep, but realize that joy comes in the morning, and your God will always be ready to forgive and cleanse a contrite heart.