“The joy of the Lord is amplified in the presence of lament. As my close friend and colleague Russ Ramsey once said in a sermon, lament is a necessary skill in the art of rejoicing. Lament is a skill, and rejoicing is an art form. I like how that sounds. Don’t you?”- Scott Sauls
Scott Sauls concludes Prologue 11 of Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen as he talks about the spoiled malcontent. Someone who almost always moans, groans, and complains about things that other people count as blessings. However, this constant litany of complaint fails to equate with lament. Certainly, the spoiled malcontent has many things to be thankful for. But he or she sees the glass not as half-empty; it just empty!
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis stresses the great danger facing malcontents:
“Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others. . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself. . . . It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE hell unless it is nipped in the bud.”
In conclusion, Pastor Sauls gives two reasons why spoiled malcontents exist:
- They exist because sin exists. Entitlement and ingratitude lodge deeply within every human heart. As a result, spoiled malcontents simply wait for the chance to express themselves.
- Others nurture the spoiled malcontent’s posture of entitlement and ingratitude. Hence, Pastor Sauls stresses, only one way exists to unspoil such a person. Help him or her see the other side of the blessing coin – a curse of two from which that blessing spares us.
Today’s question: How do you find joy amplified in the presence of lament? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Wipe disingenuous smiles off our faces”