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Sorrow is one of the consequences of sin in the world. This does not mean that personal sorrow is always a consequence of personal sin; it means that sorrow occurs because of the damage sin has done in human society. Jesus was sorrowful because of what sin had done to the people of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). He was sorrowful also because of what it had done to human relationships by bringing death and its consequent grief (John 11:33-36). But by his death and resurrection he conquered death and gave sorrowing believers hope (Romans 6:5-10; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:31-37). The triumphant resurrection of Jesus guarantees the triumphant resurrection of all who believe in him (John 11:25-26; Romans 8:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; see RESURRECTION).

Like Jesus, Christians sorrow because of the death of those they love; but they do not sorrow as unbelievers, who have nothing to look forward to beyond death (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11). Just as Jesus’ resurrection changed the original disciples’ sorrow to joy, so it gives joy to believers of all generations; and nothing, not even grief, can take that joy from them (John 16:20; John 16:22; Romans 8:38-39; Philippians 3:21; Philippians 4:1; Philippians 4:4-7; see JOY). The Christians’ expressions of sorrow are therefore not the unrestrained demonstrations of grief that characterize those who have no hope in Christ (see FUNERAL).

Besides death, there are many troubles and sufferings in life that are likely to produce sorrow. Christians should not allow themselves to be overcome by such problems, but should turn them into experiences of learning and training that can help them become stronger Christians (James 1:2-4; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 1 Peter 4:19; see SUFFERING; TESTING). Christians are to be sympathetic to those who are downhearted because of their trials, and do all they can to help them triumph through them (Romans 12:15; see ENCOURAGEMENT).

Those who refuse to trust in God may find that sorrow can have a destructive effect on their lives. Even sorrow for wrongdoing, if it is no more than shame or self-pity, can have deadly results (Matthew 27:3-5). But if people submit to God, see their wrongdoing as God sees it and ask God to forgive them, their sorrow will soon be replaced by joy (Matthew 5:4; Luke 7:38-39; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; James 4:9-10; cf. Ezra 9:6; Ezra 9:13; Ezra 9:15). This will be a foretaste of the greater joy that will come in the new heavens and new earth, when sorrow will be banished for ever (Isaiah 65:17-19; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Sorrow'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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