Most people gravitate instinctively toward the sound of laughter, but it takes a hero of faith to be stirred to action by the sobs of those who are sorrowing. The godly person knows what it means to be filled with joy—the joy of the Lord. But at the same time, the true child of God ought to feel a sense of mourning for those who do not know the Savior. We who are believers must not allow ourselves to be too comfortable in a world where people reassure one another that they do not need Christ, and that they should not believe in him.

The Apostle Paul told of his own sorrow in this regard—a sorrow so deep and painful that he could wish himself separated from Christ if that could change things. Paul’s great sorrow and heaviness of heart were caused by the knowledge that his Jewish brothers and sisters were headed for a Christless eternity.

Too many of us in this generation are distracted, shallow people who have few tears for anything except our own personal tragedies. The fact that we do not sorrow is a tragedy in itself, for sorrow is a dredge to the bottom of the soul. Sorrow deepens the channel of one’s personhood that God’s grace might flow more deeply into it. Sorrow is the plow that rips the topsoil that the gospel seed might be planted and watered by the tears of God himself.

Sorrow for the lost is essential to us as believers, that we might be complete people. Just as a tree needs deep roots to grow tall, the soul needs the depth of sorrow, that the tree of joy might blossom and grow tall. People shun sorrow and seek to comfort one another with eat, drink and be merry.…” Yet the Lord has said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The right kind of sorrow, godly sorrow, is not to be shunned. It moves us to pray and to act and brings us the consolation of God’s embrace.