Avoid Sin in Times of Grief

a couple of years ago

God’s Word admonishes us to avoid sin, even in times of grief. The period of grieving has the potential to be a weak time for our spiritual lives because we feel helpless. Satan would love to see Christian women fall into despair and never recover. He wants us to rationalize and justify our grief. In essence, the Devil wants us to have a perpetual pity party.

Self-pity is fertile ground for the seeds of other sins to flourish. How do we know what to look for? What heart attitudes should we be wary of? Every sin stems from PRIDE. Let’s see how that can be further manifested in a grieving heart. Think of this as preventative maintenance rather than accusatory.

Avoid Sin – Do Not Isolate Yourself

woman praying avoid sinSatan loves to tempt you with feelings of isolation. He whispers to your heart, “You are the only one who has ever dealt with this. No one else understands what you are going through.” In our finite minds, we cannot know what others are facing. It is incorrect to suppose that God has left you all alone.

Even the great prophet Elijah experienced this right after one of God’s greatest Old Testament miracles. Elijah ran away to hide for his life. There, he complained to God that, “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (I Kings 19:10 & 14)  Of course, the Lord answered him in a still, small voice. He revealed to him that he was not the only one left serving God. “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (verse 18)  

Pride sets us on a pedestal that says our grief is unique to us. Even if that were somehow true, God is still with us every step of the way. We are never alone. Ignore those feelings and avoid sin, because God’s presence can dispel them.

Avoiding the Sin of Hardness

The next step down the path is the sin of hardness. Not only do you feel you are the only one, you start to think your grief is deeper than anyone else’s. You surely have it worse than the person beside you. Thus, your heart is allowed to harden. You become unable to grieve for others. Their grief has been ruled as “lesser” or “pettier” than yours.

The best way to overcome hardness and its root of pride is to look beyond yourself. Focusing on and giving to others erases your need to wallow and sulk. Do whatever it takes to set someone else’s trial before your own. Avoid the sin of a hard heart. Grieving isn’t a “who has it worst” contest but a “who needs me most” act of love. Never become so hardened that you are blind to those around you.

Paul encourages believers to, “…weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)  This fosters within you a spirit of compassion that combats your bent to self-pity. You may be able to help someone in their grief by reaching beyond your own. In the end, it helps both of you.

Avoid Sin – Do NOT Neglect Your Spiritual Life!

Separating yourself from the comfort of the Word of God is the most dangerous lie Satan can feed to us. That was the first tactic he used in the garden of Eden– to question and move away from God’s Word.  Our sin nature is prone to think we are self-sufficient. We can handle this time of grief without any help. Avoiding the sin of neglect takes work. Neglecting to do something is easy.

Neglecting to run to God is a sure way to expose yourself to further attack. “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” (Psalm 9:9-10) Why stay outside the refuge provided and risk it on your own?

Once again, pride is at work here. Lack of dependence on your Creator is an evidence of pride in your heart. Instead, release your grief to the Lord and let Him bear it for you. His shoulders are much bigger than yours. Meanwhile, comfort yourself in the stronghold of His promises. Surround your mind with Scripture to overcome stray discouraging thoughts.


Note from the Editor:

The main points are adapted from a testimony shared by Mrs. Jane Coley, missionary wife in Kenya, to the ladies of Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. The Lord gave her these words shortly after the sudden passing of her young adult daughter in her sleep from complications of influenza.


Articles in the “Biblical View of Grief” Series:

Because grief is manifested differently for each of us, no two women are alike. The Submissive Spirit team has asked guest writers to contribute their journeys through grief and how they coped Biblically. 

Hannah Schmutzler

About the Author

Hannah Schmutzler

Hannah and her husband Cameron are currently on deputation, raising support so they can begin full-time missionary work in Mongolia. She juggles the demands of traveling with those of a toddler and keeps a sweet spirit through it all. Hannah has authored two books in addition to her writing for the Submissive Spirit. She also blesses us with her beautiful voice.

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