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Grieving God: Do You Care?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany years ago before we ever even moved to Alaska, we were staying there for a visit at the home of someone in the church. I was channel surfing and came across something inappropriate. Not pornography mind you, but something I didn’t need to be watching.

In those brief moments, I could feel the Holy Spirit withdrawing. That may sound crazy to you, but it’s true. Within a few seconds of realizing what was happening, I snapped out of it. Quite honestly, it scared me a bit. I turned off the TV and repented.

I know God never leaves or forsakes us, but the choices we make either promote or discourage intimacy and relationship with Him. His holiness will not be violated and it underscored again the emotions of the Holy Spirit.

I wish I could say I have had that awareness ever since then when confronted with the temptation to impurity, ungodliness, or other such things, but I would be a liar. I’ve dragged God plenty of places He didn’t want to go, said things, done things, and acted wrongly in a whole host of ways.

Each time it hurt Him.

Not hurt in a sense of lessening or weakening Him, of course; but disappointed and pained Him because of choices I or others made. He knows what those “little” indiscretions could cost us or others. He feels it deeply (as scripture is an indication).

God created feelings. Sure, like anything else, they can be misused and abused. But the intent and purpose of feelings came from God. Since He created emotions, why is it difficult to believe that He Himself has emotions? The Spirit is grieved when there is a breach in relationship, whether it be relationship with God or relationship with other people.  –Francis Chan, Forgotten God

He is grieved when you break trust or relationship with Him in some way (and you can’t hide it like you can with your friends or family), and He’s grieved when you choose not to forgive or love or care for others. You may or may not know that intellectually, but it’s another thing entirely to experience that grief.

Do you care?

Do you care that it pains the Holy Spirit when you gossip about the family across the street? Do you care that He is hurt when you deal harshly with your kids or spouse or coworker? Do you care that He’s grieved at the unforgiveness you hold toward your parents or former church or leaders?

Honestly, I can’t say that it’s always bothered me, but I want it too. To whatever measure possible, I want to feel the grief of the Holy Spirit when I choose ungodly patterns of behavior or when I see marriages fall apart or people choose hate and indifference instead of love and compassion.

I believe that if we truly cared about the Holy Spirit’s grief, there would be fewer fights, divorces, and splits in our churches. Maybe it’s not due to a lack of belief but rather a lack of concern. I pray for the day when believers care more about the Spirit’s grief than their own. –Francis Chan, Forgotten God

Does this resonate with you as it does me? Hard question, but where would you place yourself on the spectrum of caring more about the Spirit’s grief than your own?

Welcome to Chapter 3 of our book club discussion of Forgotten God (disclosure) by Francis Chan. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it (1 chapter per week). If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!


  1. I care…sometimes I don’t. I know that sounds heretical, but some of how much I care is determined by how I feel at the moment. I am not always as sensitive to the HS as I should be. There are other times when the sensitivity is immediate. Thanks for the challenge Jason.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..SourceMy Profile

    • You are saying exactly what I’m saying, Bill. I have to be honest and say that sometimes my life proves I don’t care. I want that to change! I want to be so aware of His heart and carry that everywhere I go. Thanks Bill.

  2. I know there are many times I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, but I’m so thankful for His forgiveness and the ability to reconnect, over and over, with Him. What a gracious God we serve!
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..I Love You, God!My Profile

    • Absolutely. There is no condemnation and I am thankful! Ready to walk more closely so that our hearts beat as one and that grieving Him becomes less and less. Thank you, Martha!

  3. Great Post Jason. We really don’t think about how it pains the Holy Spirit in that way. Its so easy to do, and there are no immediate consequences from it but the guilt you feel. Thanks for shedding some light on this.

    • Yes, and I want it to be harder and harder for me! Really appreciate the thoughts, Lincoln. Thank you.

  4. So very grateful for the sweet conviction the Holy spirit brings when I mess us. I usually don’t listen to Him when I am too busy or too tired to care or wanting to please others instead of Him. Thanks God for His forgiveness and that He never forsakes us. Good post Jason.

    • Amen to everything you said, Betty. I want to live in such a way that it would grieve me deeply to grieve Him even a little. What would my life look like if that were true? May we all be passionate enough in pursuing Him to find out! Thanks so much, Betty.

  5. Jason, I love your sentence . . . “I can’t say that it’s always bothered me, but I want it too.” Amen. That’s my prayer. That the thought of disappointing Him bothers me to the point of turning away from temptation and turning toward Him. There is a song by Ray Boltz titled, Does He Still Feel the Nails. It may not be theologically sound, but it is a good reminder to stop and think.
    Deb Wolf recently posted..Announcing . . . Hillsong -- Let Hope RiseMy Profile

    • Turning away from temptation and turning to Him… that’s a beautiful way to live--one I want and cry out for. It’s never about condemnation or simply shame; it’s back to relationship. Thank you, Deb.

  6. “I drag God with me.” That’s an awesome perspective, and yes, I’ve dragged Him, or He’s allowed my free will to take him into the human condition that grieves His perfect being. I too am trying to adopt this mindset, it is powerful.

    • I think it goes hand in hand with the fear of the Lord. If we know Him, we will love Him and fear Him and honor Him. The more we know, the more the others develop. Thank you, Floyd.

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