Most people are familiar with a Bucket List. It’s a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” or, put more plainly, die. I have a different kind of list. It’s a list of things that I am going to do when I am well, when I go into remission, when I am healed – or maybe just when I’m having a good day! Most of the things on my list are things that I used to love to do but am not able to do now. Do you want a peek at my list? Here are a few things:
Go on a long motorcycle trip
Roll down a hill
There are times when I think of the things on my list and I feel really sad. I feel a deep sorrow, and I grieve the life that I once had and the life that I thought I would have. I also praise the Lord because He meets me in my pain. He has blessed me and given me new dreams. I am doing things that I never thought I would be doing, and for that, I am so grateful. That being said, I do not think it is wrong to grieve. In fact, I think it is necessary. We won’t be able to move on with life unless we grieve what was lost.
Did you know that it is also possible to grieve the Holy Spirit? It’s true. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:30, “…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” This verse is in the midst of verses that tell us what we should not do. Things like stealing, corrupting talk, bitterness, wrath, slander and malice. When we do these things, we grieve the Holy Spirit. We cause Him sorrow and distress. We may look at that list of things thinking that we aren't thieves, we don’t tell dirty jokes, and we don’t have malice toward others. But what about bitterness? I know I have been guilty of being bitter because of my sickness. I have felt anger and wrath toward others when they say or do something stupid or hurtful. One thing that I have learned is that illness can make me mean. Medications I've taken have made me grouchy and angry. If I hear, “Well, at least you look good,” one more time it might just put me over the edge!
So what are we to do? Instead we are to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you,” (Ephesians 4:32). We need to make an effort to be kind to others (whether they deserve it or not), forgive others (whether they ask to be forgiven or not), and have tender hearts (which can be a huge struggle). It is easy to fall into negative thoughts which turn into negative actions, thus grieving the Holy Spirit.
I know this is not easy to do. I fail often. However we aren’t on our own to accomplish this. We can ask the Holy Spirit for His help. Yes, the very One we may be grieving is the One to help us change our attitudes. The Holy Spirit is also known as the Advocate, Helper, and Comforter. If there is anyone who can comfort and help us, it is the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. The same Holy Spirit who has experienced grief and sorrow is there to comfort us when we experience the same. He will comfort us and He will help us, all we have to do is ask. Will you?
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  ~ Jesus
© February 26, 2013
 Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (904). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 14:26–27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.