Wicked Grief

It is not the case that all wounds are self-inflicted, however, there is a great truth stated in Isaiah 57:21: “‘There is no peace,’ Says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” Sinning against God causes us grief in every facet of our life and robs us of any peace we might attain in this life.

Wickedness causes us physical grief. The “lifestyles” that lead to disease (Romans 1:26-27) and deprivation (2 Thessalonians 3:10) are the direct results of not living by God’s standards. Habits that harm us, like tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, and even intemperance in our caloric intake, can make our life miserable. “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags” (Proverbs 23:21). Health concerns can become obsessively consuming and steal our peace.

Wickedness causes us mental grief. Guilt often leads to depression, and depression to insanity. “Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness” (Psalm 38:4-5). The tragedy of suicide often begins with the perceived inability to deal with the burden of wickedness, and there is no peace.

Wickedness causes us spiritual grief. Sin separates us from God. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). It leaves the sinner in a murky darkness that causes the anguished soul to cry for light. Yet, while continuing in wickedness, there will be no peace.

The peace that passes all understanding can only be accessed when we leave our wickedness (Hebrews 12:1). To leave a life of wickedness is to embrace peace; to remain in wickedness is perpetual grief. “Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” Says the LORD, “And I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:19-20).

Repentance is not just a sorrow for sin, it is also the conviction to forsake that sin (Romans 6); anything short of this is just wicked grief.