Select Page
Read Introduction to James


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


Let your laughter be turned to mourning

The 9th command has to do with change. The Greek word “be turned” means to turn around, return, to change the form. The idea of this word is to change our lives 180 degrees, a complete turnaround. God sends dissonance in our lives to get our attention so that we will head in an entirely different direction.

The Greek grammar indicates that we cannot do this turning by ourselves (passive voice). We are to let God turn our laughter into mourning.

“Laughter” is usually a normal, healthy thing. There are times when it is not. Laughter and gaiety can mask sin. In this case, laughter trivializes sin. We do not laugh at sin; rather, we mourn over it.

When we develop callous attitudes toward sin, God injects discord into our lives so that we might reconsider the path of our sin. He wants us to change the form of our standards for life.

“Mourning” carries the idea of downcast, dejection, heaviness. The idea is mental gloominess and dejection. A downcast attitude is an indication of repentance.


At a time of spiritual decay, there is no place for triviality.


It is easy to develop an attitude that treats sin in a trivial way. A frivolous, fun approach to life can blunt our spiritual lives. There is a time for mourning.

Ecc 2:2-4, “I said of laughter—‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’ 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.” 4 “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance.”

Luke 6:21,25, “Blessed are you who hunger now,

For you shall be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,

For you shall laugh.

25 Woe to you who are full,

For you shall hunger.

Woe to you who laugh now,

For you shall mourn and weep.“

At a time of spiritual decay, there is no place for triviality. It is a time for lamenting, mourning, wailing. In other words, it is time to get serious about the dreadfulness of sin. When Christians have no concern about sin, the future of dynamic Christianity is at stake.

When afflictions come our way, we need to tune our antennas to God’s wavelength to determine whether these difficulties are God’s sovereign injection into our lives. We cannot deal with sin in a trivial way; we must take sin seriously. Many Christians go blithely along with their Christian lives without dealing with issues from God’s viewpoint.

Re 3:17, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— “