In the coming days, many of us will take part in prayer and repentance gatherings to heal our hearts in an attempt to heal our nation. One of the themes for these gatherings is the subject of lament. Lament is an expression of grief and sorrow. The recognition of lament is what joins us with and helps us recognize the grief and sorrow being experienced by our fellow citizens. The subject of lament motivated me to begin reading the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament. It is a book filled with heavy and dark images of suffering that come as a result of unrepentance. Jeremiah held nothing back when he penned Lamentations.
“Your prophets have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not save you from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope” (Lamentations 2:14). When I read those words, I was struck by the blindness we can so easily embrace when we fill our minds with things that deny our part in our current social sorrow. These issues are the subtle and hidden attitudes we possess that are deceptive and can be overlooked if we think we are not complicit in some way.
When we live a life without lamenting the sins of our ancestors and the sins we currently choose to ignore, we set ourselves up for consequences that are not God’s intent for us individually or as a nation. We need to prophesy hope, coupled with responsibility. Without personal responsibility, we will only paint false images that will fill us with false hope and lead us to believe that real change can take place apart from repentance.
What we see playing out on our TV and computer screens is the result of people either accepting false hope or someone experiencing the loss of hope. Hope is only possible when we offer the Lord our hearts and allow Him the opportunity to mold us through acts of repentance into people who can reflect His heart to those who suffer and will continue to suffer if true repentance does not take place. This hope is only found in Jesus Christ. Every other offering of hope is a false hope.