As leaders, we must make time for grief.
I covered over my losses for years and years, unaware of how they were shaping my current relationships and leadership. God was seeking to enlarge my soul and mature me, while I was seeking a quick end to my pain.
For my first seventeen years as a Christian, I treated grief as an interruption, an obstacle to my path to serve Jesus. In short, I considered taking time to grieve a waste of time that prevented me from maximizing my leadership. “Just get over it, Pete. It will pass,” I would mutter to myself.
The problem here is that this is unbiblical and a denial of our common humanity. The ancient Hebrews physically expressed their laments by tearing their clothes and utilizing sackcloth and ashes. Jesus himself offered up prayer and petitions with loud cries and tears (Heb. 5:7). During Noah’s generation, Scripture indicates God was grieved about the state of humanity (Gen. 6). After the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah wrote an entire biblical book called Lamentations!
There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under heaven (Eccl.3:1). To reject God’s seasons for grief and sadness as they come to us is to live only half of our lives. What makes this particularly tragic is that Jesus Christ came to set us free to engage life fully, not escape from its reality.
Pete Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and the author of two best-selling books: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church. This story was originally posted on Scazzero’s blog at EmotionallyHealthy.org.