The Blessings of Sound Doctrine
(Part two of a three-part series)
Doctrine: “Act of teaching or that which is taught; scriptural teaching on theological truths.” https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/doctrine/
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Sound doctrine protects the griever from error and deception and from a potential spiral into despair.
The grieving are vulnerable. We can’t think straight sometimes. We forget to pay bills. We find it hard to engage in small talk. Some become so desperate to recover what has been lost, they may find it hard to resist temptations they would ordinarily flee from. Satan knows this, and he has no scruples about exploiting the weak, the hurting, and the helpless.
It pains me to see loss parents grieving harder than they ought because they do not know the Word. They have been taught erroneous ideas about God or have been heavily influenced by the constant barrage of contemporary cultural misinformation. The ubiquitous, anti-God, anti-Christ, you-deserve-a-break-today media bombardment of our day is certainly no help. We have been led to believe that happiness is the goal and measuring stick of spiritual success. We have been fed the idea that, if we are suffering, we necessarily must be doing something wrong, or that we deserve, and have been promised, a pain-free life because we are Christ-followers. God has promised no such thing. God’s people can and do suffer – they always have, and they will until Jesus returns.
That no man should be moved by these afflictions:
for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
1 Thessalonians 3:3
The more lies the griever believes, the more she will suffer. The more she understands God’s character, who He is, and what He says, the lighter the burden will be. To be ready for a hit like child loss, we must forsake the wishy-washy, God-is-my-pal-and-He-wants-me-to-be-happy theology so prevalent today.
It is true that God is Love, that He is my Friend, that He knows my frame and that I am dust. It is true that He keeps track of all my tears and understands my sorrow. He knows I am weak and tired and so very sad. But that does not give me license to wallow in it. It is wrong to presume upon His compassion in such a way that I make excuses for my sour face or ugly temper.
It is not wrong to have feelings of sorrow and grief, especially in the early months and years. It is healthy and necessary to experience the whole scope and depth of the loss. But it is counterproductive to coddle emotions such as self-pity and hopelessness which only serve to bring us down further and expand our pain to others. I cannot make it all about me. To do so puts me in spiritual danger.
I am not the first to suffer a loss. I will not be the last. I will not abandon myself to despair. I will not whine as if God’s plan is a bad deal. I do not need pity, for I am blessed, chosen to bear a light affliction for His namesake and I look forward to a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. This is His promise, His unfailing Word.
“Christianity is a way of life founded on doctrine. Some disparage doctrine in favor of the spiritual life. Paul, however, taught that spiritual growth in Christ is dependent on faithfulness to sound doctrine, for its truth provides the means of growth ( Col 2:6 ). The apostle John developed three tests for discerning authentic spirituality: believing right doctrine ( 1 Jo 2:18-27 ), obedience to right doctrine (2:28-3:10), and giving expression to right doctrine with love (2:7-11). Faithful obedience and love, then, are not alternatives to sound doctrine. They are the fruit of right doctrine as it works itself out in the believer’s character and relationships.”
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.