Laughter to Mourning
Friday, 04 April 2008 05:12 Jonathan L. Perz
In the context of humbling ourselves in the sight of God, James writes, “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9).Sin is very deceptive (Hebrews 3:13). Just ask the reveler and drunkard. While their inhibitions are loosed by the “lifting” effects of the intoxicating beverage or mind-altering drug, they have “fun.” They feel “glamorous” and “free.” However, when the effects have worn off, they suffer from the after-effects which are everything but “glamorous,” “fun,” and “free.”
Among these after-effects, one might find an enslaving addiction or two. In some cases, an unexpected and unwanted child with a matching abortion are found “the day after.” Some end up with a venereal disease, with the worry and very real possibility of an even more deadly disease. The lucky only end up with a headache and sick stomach.
Unfortunately, some of the most helpful of these after-effects are only temporary. The guilt, shame, and worry pass as quickly as the heart is hardened against them. Indeed, there is a reason why the Bible in one place refers to them as the “passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).
Yet, as awful as some of these after-effects may be, these are all only passing. While death may end these effects, it brings with it the worst after-effect of all—The Judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
It is with the certainty of this day in his heart, James can easily instruct the sinner to turn that laughter to mourning and that joy to gloom. Any soul who has exalted himself against the commands of God shall be humbled by He who is rejected and denied (Matthew 23:12).
However, there is a better way. Humble yourselves now, while there is yet still time. Put the passing pleasures of sin in your past and embrace the “lift” that can only come from humbling yourself in the sight of the Lord (James 4:10)!