Pastor Tim Howard
April 18, 2009
Grandchildren bring a tremendous amount of joy to a grandparent. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord and grandchildren bring honor and glory to the grandparent. Since our grandson lives with us on a regular basis, our joy is multiplied many times over! Having said that, I must admit it’s not all fun and games. My wife and I are learning again that life is full of laughter, joy, and happiness but there are times when sorrow, pain, and darkness supplant the light-hearted spirit. Tears flow as a result.
When people hurt they often cry. Even though tears can be the product of great joy, sorrow is more often the source. Every time we discipline our grandson he expresses his dislike and sorrow for what we have decided to do. He may throw a tantrum, act defiantly or inappropriately verbalize his feelings, but almost always tears accompany these demonstrations.
I can’t speak for you but when I see a person crying I want to stop, listen, comfort, and help them wipe away the tears. I don’t want them to hurt, experience pain, or be filled with sorrow. The quandary is the very tears that come from sorrow can become the spring waters that produce repentance.
In 2 Corinthians 7:9 & 10, Paul says to some Christians, "I am happy now, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance." “Repentance” is one of the most misunderstood words in the Christian vocabulary and possibly one of the most neglected experiences in the Christian life. Repentance is vital if you want Christ's life and power. It means more than shedding a few tears and saying "I'm sorry!" You may be sorry for getting caught, sorry that you have to pay the consequences or sorry for the misery you created, but Godly sorrow involves repentance. When you repent of a sin, you're not just saying, "Oh, I feel terrible about it." You say, "I feel so terrible about my sin, I'm going to stop doing it. I'll reorder my life so I don't have a relapse." That is abandoning your sin. That’s forsaking the sin. That’s repentance!
The Greek word for repentance is "metanoia". The first part of that term is “Meta” and is found in our English words like metabolism and metamorphosis. Therefore, “Metanoia” or repentance is something that brings about change. It is a change of action, thought, attitude, and direction. It turns us back to God who is the author of change and He does more than make us feel guilty. He actually changes us to look more like Him.
If Godly sorrow turns you from sin and helps you follow Jesus more closely then sorrow and tears becomes your friend. Knowing that sorrow can lead to repentance and repentance leads to no regrets, as verse 10 indicates, I’m not sure it’s wise to wipe the tears away so quickly. I like what God said to us in the book of James, chapter 1 verses 3 & 4, “…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” I’m going to remember this next time my little three-year-old grandson comes to his Grandfather with those baby blue eyes filled with tears. It might be the very thing he needs in order to become a man of God.