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Read Introduction to James


“Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”


This verse contains five of 10 commands in a series. This verse calls us to repentance and hits a very sober note.


We now come to the 6th of 10 commands – “lament.” The word “lament” means to suffer hardship, distress, to go through hard labor. This word comes from two words: to bear, to undergo, and hard, callus. The idea is to undergo hardship, carry a sense of brokenness.


A spiritual believer does not rationalize sin but admits it and grieves over it.  


The brokenness here is conviction of sin in the life of the believer. There is a clear connection between dissonance and proper terminal values. We will not change our terminal values until God shakes us to our roots.

There is an appropriate time to have a sense of misery because of our sin. Our culture condemns misery of any kind, but God doesn’t; He wants us to feel misery over our sin. He does not want us to subjectively pay for our sin, but He wants conviction of sin. Subjective guilt robs the finished work of Christ on the cross. Objective guilt enables us to face the truth about our sin.

2 Co 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

Jesus bore the penalty for our eternal punishment — that is done and finished. However, we have a responsibility for our sin – admission, recognition, and confession. Jesus’ responsibility is to pay for the sin; it is our responsibility to recognize and confess our sin. To get rid of the burden of our sin, we must deal with it, not neglect it. Full conviction always brings grief over sin.

This command to hardship has nothing to do with depression about personal problems. Neither does it refer to becoming a religious monk. “Sadness” has to do with holding values outside God’s will. This is the polar opposite of indifference toward those who commit a grievous sin. This is the brokenness over indifference toward sin.

Col. 2:23, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

There is a time to undergo misery because of the spiritual state of the church or ourselves. If we do not get serious about sin, then we will persist in apathy and indifference towards the seriousness of sin.

Christians who live in unconfessed sin live in misery. When we become slaves to sin, we lose our liberty. Loss of liberty means misery. In this case, no matter what we do, we will always end up in spiritual misery.