August 4, 2023

A Spiritual Leader Grieves Well

Written by Boyd Bailey

True humility exposes its grieving heart to gain what can only be given by God’s grace and the comfort and love of others.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 4, 2023

Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 2 Samuel 1:11-12

Leaders who lament well grow their capacity to lead well. When a friend or even an enemy falls from this fragile life, a leader who grieves over his loss honors the deceased. Dignity and respect resonate through a life that values another life. The best leaders do not gloat over an enemy’s demise, rather they see them (with their conflicting values) as a person created in the image of God. Grief is God’s governor on life to slow us down to remember what’s most important to Him.

David modeled what it meant to honor someone in death in spite of their severe differences. Saul, out of jealous rage, was the man who had maneuvered to kill David, but instead met his own fate. David, who refrained from attacking the King in his lifetime, did not attack him after his death. He chose to grieve, not get back. David also instructed his military to stand down and mourn the loss of his friend Jonathan. Grief preceded any attempt to gain power or affluence. 

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

Be careful as a leader to not rush through lamenting over the loss of a loved one. Work can wait. Problems can apply patience or be solved by another. Invite mourning into your emotions, like you would invite a wise and compassionate guest over for after dinner conversation. If you fail to feel your sorrow, you will miss out on the comfort of other Christians and sweet sympathy from the Man of Sorrows. Grief is God’s way to draw you closer to Him, and to enlarge your empathy. Empty your emotional cup of anger and fill it with mourning, which is converted into comfort. 

Jesus was acquainted with grief. He wept. He mourned. He agonized over the loss of sweet fellowship with His Father. He embraced friends and cried over the death of a friend. The comfort of Christ is necessary for a Christian’s heart to be infused with divine comfort, healed, and equipped to comfort others better than before. Beware of the temptation to be self-reliant so you are not a burden on others. Burdens become blessings when others support you in your loss. True humility exposes its grieving heart to gain what can only be given by God’s grace and love. Cry. Mourn. Be raw. Be sad. Be sorry for your loss. Be comforted. Learn to grieve well. Lament.

“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:1-3).


Heavenly Father, I cry out for Your comfort and the comfort of Your people, in Jesus’ name, amen. 


What loss do I need to truly grieve over? Who can I comfort in their loss with my prayers and presence?

Related Reading

Psalm 38:9; Isaiah 35:10; John 16:20; Acts 20:38; James 4:9

Worship Resource

Colin Buchanan: Jesus, Strong and Kind


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