I received an e-mail from someone recently. They attached the following article and asked my thoughts on what Kenneth Copeland said in it.
As you read the following article, before you read my response, determine if you agree or disagree with him. If you disagree, what are the biblical verses you would bring up to give weight to your position?
So, is Kenneth Copeland right? I have discovered that I rarely have to think long on that question when it is in regard to Kenneth Copeland (who I believe to be a false prophet). My answer is generally “no.”
But is there a more substantive answer? Does Scripture tell us why it is ridiculous and wrong to condemn grief and sorrow as emotions that needed to be avoided? Is there a biblical understanding that tells us that grief and sorrow are natural, healthy emotions that God can use to help us walk through difficult times?
The following is my response to the person who wanted to know what Christians should think about grief and sorrow.
Thanks for forwarding this article to me for my reflections. I’m honored that you would seek my counsel.
But, to be completely honest, I soundly disagree with Mr. Copeland on this.
First, we understand from how the human mind and heart works that sorrow is a necessary part of any significant loss. People that refuse to grieve are simply shoving their emotions into the shadows. But those emotions will resurface at some point with a vengeance.
Second, Jesus grieved. We are told in John 11:35 that “Jesus wept.” If Jesus cried, then by definition it’s OK for us to do so.
Third, we are told not to grieve (make sad) the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). If we reflect on this verse, we are told that the Holy Spirit is capable of being put into a state of grief and sorrow by our disobedience. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit is capable of grieving when it is appropriate, then so can we.
Fourth, godly sorrow/grief is a reality. Christians can and should grieve but there is a way in which we are to do so. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.” In other words, there is a way that Christians can grieve and experience sorrow that produces a godly result.
Finally, Christians should grieve at appropriate times but we must inject it with the hope of the Gospel. When we grieve, we grieve with the hope that God is working things for our good, and one day we will be in Heaven where there will no longer be any reason to grieve or experience sorrow. When we look at the following text, we hear the Apostle Paul tell us that we will grieve when loved ones die (something Mr. Copeland is encouraging his readers NOT to do) but we should grieve with hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (CSB): “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep (a softened word for “dead”), so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
I hope this helps,
Friend, I want to encourage you to get into your Bible. There have always been counterfeits to the truth since Satan distorted God’s words in Genesis 3:1-5. Jesus also warned us against false prophets (Matthew 7:15-18) as did the Apostle John (1 John 4:1-6) and others.
To sniff out error when it comes your way, you have to be like the Christians in Berea. You have to be so familiar with your Bible and ready to consult it every time you hear something, including a sermon by the Apostle Paul (if we had lived during his day).
Acts 17:10–11 (CSB): “As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”