It is strange that lament is all over Scripture, yet it is perhaps an arena less frequented by Christians.
I have realized that lament and its practice, as a subject, is far reaching in its scope, relevance, and application. In this particular blog, I’ll look at lament and its connection to injustice.
Needless to say, almost daily, we hear of news of injustice here and abroad that angers us. Knowledgeable of what justice is, we are swift to be on the front lines, calling out perpetrators. While the swift action is good, sometimes the practice poses a problem because we tend to find ourselves in an angry disposition and worse, we stall in that emotion. While righteous anger is a good impetus, oftentimes, we end up frothing in our mouth with curses on Social Media. There is something lacking in our approach, and that is lament.
To begin with, we need to understand a sharp distinction: To cry is human, but to lament is Christian. To lament is not to simply cry because lamenting is prayerful weeping. It is the type of prayers David uttered to God, which sometimes sounded like borderline accusatory. To lament is to ask about His nearness and to appeal for His mercy. Lament is deep sorrow expressed in groans and pains.
Lament should be the precursor to any acts of mercy or compassion. It should be precursor to the confrontation of injustice. Any extension of compassionate ministry begins with lament. Any confrontation to any forms of injustice begins with lament. We do not move forward without lamenting first. In this case, lament could be a reflective silence and inner sorrow and compassion.
Lament allows us to search deeper. Lament is a safe place to bring our complaints to God. It allows us to unzip our deepest anguish, sorrows and even anger. Tearful lamentations ask the question, “why?”
Why do we say that it is a good precursor?
It is because lament leads to trust. A prayerful lamentation has a destination. It ends up in trust and hope. Lament amplifies the sovereignty of God. It allows us to make a conclusion about our fallenness and realize the beauty of the work of redemption. It allows to see the fragility of life and the steadfastness of God. Lament solidifies our hope in Christ.
No matter the contrast and the conflict, lament brings us to the heart of God. In the context of injustice, journeying in lament allows us to understand that as much as you grieve, God does too. Remember the shortest verse in the Bible is a lament.
It is my prayer that all Christian acts of mercy and compassion will be driven by souls that have come from lamentation. It’s just different when we come from the table of His presence and have partaken of His grace.