by Rick Warren — July 11, 2023
From How to Get Through What You’re Going Through
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
Grief is, without a doubt, the most painful emotion we go through in life. It’s also the most helpful emotion. How is grief helpful to you?
Grief is God’s tool for you to get through the transitions of life. If you don’t grieve your losses, you get stuck. Many people are still stuck at age 14 or 28 or 45, because they didn’t grieve a major loss in their life, and they got stuck there. Not going through the grieving process leaves us with all kinds of anxieties and fears and low self-esteem.
Jesus never did anything wrong or unhealthy—and yet Jesus grieved. The Bible says he was a man acquainted with sorrows. The Bible says that, when his friend Lazarus died, Jesus grieved. He even wept!
Sadness is not weakness. In fact, the stronger you are, the more confident you are and the less afraid you are to show your emotions.
There are two unhealthy reactions to loss: One is repression, and the other is suppression. Repression is when you unconsciously try to block painful thoughts from your mind. Suppression is when you do it consciously. You intentionally say, “I’m not going to think about that hurt. I’m not going to think about that pain. I’m going to put my head down and move forward.”
To not grieve losses is a mistake. Why? Because grief is God’s gift to get us through the changes in life.
If you don’t let your grief out in healthy ways, then you’re going to act it out in unhealthy ways.
When you swallow your grief, your body rejects it. Doctors have said that a lot of illnesses that people have come from unresolved grief, regrets, and resentment. A lot of the pain in our backs or our aching necks is there because we hold emotions inside of us that God never intended for us to keep bottled up. He wants you to let them out through your grief.
Life’s losses are unavoidable, but grief is a choice. You have to choose to grieve. You have to embrace it so that you can move forward with hope.