Good Grief

Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football? Have you ever walked away, waiting for her to throw it at the back of your head?

Sometimes, life is really hard. Relationships are messy. Trust is broken. Hearts are heavy. I can just feel Charlie Brown’s angst when he sighs that heavy-laden, “Good grief”.

It’s difficult to journey those days and it can seem as though you are wandering aimlessly through them with no hope. Things are bleak, gray and very, very lonely.

Psalm 31:10

For my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing: my strength fails because of my iniquity and my bones are consumed.

I was meditating on these kinds of hurts this past week and had something in mind to share, but when I sat down this morning, I reconsidered the phrase, ‘good grief’ and gained a new perspective.

Grief is hard. It accompanies loss and hurt. I am learning though, that there is bad grief and good grief. Charlie Brown is the ultimate cartoon example of good grief. Ever the optimist; believing the best in people; hoping, trusting, forgiving: Charlie Brown gets hurt A LOT. The thing is, he is always willing to try again. He desires real relationships. He puts himself out there, even when he knows that there is a high probability that he will be hurt – again.

Charlie Brown doesn’t show a great deal of discernment about toxic relationships (that Lucy is a real pill), but he does exemplify the principle of 70 x 7.

Matthew 18:22

Peter went to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? Seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy times seven.”

Just for perspective, that’s for the same sin!, the same offense. Jesus doesn’t make it easy to hold onto a grudge or blame. He is very clear that we are to work it out.

Ephesians 4:31

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

and here’s the kicker:

James 1:19-20

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

So, there are a few things to be found in these verses. The first is that God seems to be telling us that we will be hurt. I don’t think that so much of Scripture would be dedicated to teaching about grace, mercy and forgiveness if God didn’t know how much we would need it.

Second, God is clear about how to deal with sin in another believer’s life.

Luke 17:3-4

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, “I repent,” you must forgive him.”

Mark 11:25

And whenever you stand praying, forgive…

It doesn’t seem that there’s a lot more to be said about that. In order to deal with the hurt and grief in our lives, we must forgive; others and ourselves.

The third thing is that good grief involves putting away bitterness, anger and resentment.

Hebrews 12:15

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

James 3:16-18

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Good grief, then, means seeking to heal; hearts, relationships and perceptions.

Lucy doesn’t get to steal my joy. Failures and disappointments don’t get to shape my perspective. Bad grief – anger and resentment, jealousy and bitterness do not get to control my future.

I will choose good grief. I will choose to move forward seeking righteousness.

Psalm 147:3

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Good grief is an opportunity to grow, to learn and to reflect the face of the Father in His unconditional love. Good grief involves turning to God and believing that His plan for you is bigger than whatever this hurt/grief is.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

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