Sunday, October 9, 2011


A month ago I wrote a post about bitterness and the series that we are doing at church called Hang On/Let Go.

One message in the series is about letting go of bitterness and hanging on to forgiveness.

As a result of that message I asked our pastor and friend what does one do when they are struggling with bitterness, but don't have someone to forgive?

Say, for example, with unemployment.

Or infertility.

Or disease/health issues.

No one did something wrong. No one needs forgiveness.

Yet there can be pain and loss and heartache and anger and loneliness and bitterness. 

My pastor gently reminded me that the spiritual practice of lamenting is a wonderful option in a case such as this.

He describes lamenting as righteous complaining to God that can end with praising God or end with bitterness toward God. 

The spiritual discipline of lamenting is a valuable tool when we are in a difficult place with no end in sight...or an end that is causing us deep pain and grief.

Laments can express our mourning, our sadness, our anger, our doubts, our lack of trust.

We can go before the Lord and lament from the depth of our heart....honestly, completely, authentically.

We can write out our lament. We can tell the Lord how we're feeling and what we wish He would do for us.

We can lament verbally by reading a Psalm.

Psalm 13 is a beautiful example of a lament. It is very honest and direct to the Lord: "How long, O Lord?" And it ends with a declaration to trust in God: "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he had been good to me."

Next to Psalm 13 I have these dates written: 6.1.08 and 2.20.11

In 2008 I was lamenting that we were without children. And now in 2011 I am lamenting our season of unemployment.

I read that more than half of the Psalms are lamenting Psalms so we can learn much from Scripture about the practice of lamenting.

Hannah gives us examples of lamenting in 1 Samuel. It tells us she poured out her soul to the bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.....she had been praying out of her great anguish and grief.

Author Ginger Garrett says, "When the answer is no the Bible instructs us to praise him, pour out our hearts to him...and to wait." 

Pouring out our hearts includes lamenting.

So if you've got bitterness in your heart...

If you're struggling to forgive someone...

If you've faced a devastating loss (death, disability, divorce, financial)...

If you're walking through a season of pain and heartache...

Why not try lamenting?

God already knows your heart and he knows your thoughts.

Lamenting can assist you in letting go of that bitterness and bring healing to your heart.


thanks be to God said...

What a wonderful post. After 6 and a half years of trying and 2 miscarriages I have done much lamenting before the lord. And now I pray that he will change my will to be In line with his. He has transformed my heart because of his unfailing love. It is good to be reminded that he is always there no matter our circumstances.

cybil said...

You are right, It's always good to lament and to just be very honest before God in difficult times!

Lisa Elliott said...

Ya so needed this one today thank you for this post I am having trouble forgiving lots of people in my life I so need to let go and let God do his job bless you

Ann said...

One of my favorite books is "Lament for a son" by Nicholas Wolterstorff (he's from Edgerton by the way). He wrote this beautiful lament as his way of struggling with his son's death (rock climbing accident). It's a short book but unbelievable beautiful and healing. I can't read it without crying... but a cry that heals.

"All in His Perfect Timing" said...

This is THE answer I've been searching for! I've been struggling with bitterness over my infertility and feeling hurt and angry that I'm not a mom yet.
THANK YOU! I now have direction for prayer and a change of heart!

Leslie Broussard said...

"He describes lamenting as righteous complaining to God that can end with praising God or end with bitterness toward God."

Thank you (and your pastor) for defining my problem. My lamenting ended in bitterness. Thank you. Now maybe I can heal :)

Ann said...

I think it's really interesting how after Jesus's resurrection, his disciples only recognized him by his wounds. He didn't lose those marks in his hands and his feet... and they identified Him. There is a beauty in that... I wonder if He too, will recognize us someday by our wounds. His wounds heal, maybe ours do too?

heartincharge said...

Thank you.