Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children because they are no more.” Jer 31:15
“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” – (Habakkuk 1:3-4).
The problem of Lament: Lament Vs. Complaint
If lament is encouraged in the scriptures, then where do we draw the line for people who always get fixated on “my feelings and my emotions” and refuse to hold themselves responsible and make God the culprit of all their problems?
In the book Rachel’s Cry, Billman and Migliore suggest that the critics of lament sometimes point out to the fact that we are in a culture that always desires victim status and few are willing to assume personal responsibility for their situation. This spirit of complaining is quick to assume evil in others and accuse the institutions and authority figures that have betrayed us. People sometimes use complaint as a calculated game of power where they hold the power of emotional bribery to create and ascribe guilt on those around thereby causing disharmony. The reason for this is the powerlessness a person experience while going thru grief. They feel out of control and powerless, and the only way to get that back is by perhaps assuming a grip on power thru complaining.
While this is a possibility and we need to exercise caution against such a mindset, in Lament, we take your place before God as our authority and power, with an acknowledgment of our losses and our place of powerlessness.
I can’t imagine if I were not allowed to lament how I would have survived the afflictions the Lord had send my way. Those days I couldn’t write. My words were few. I couldn’t pray. I forced myself to thank God, I felt that was artificial. I couldn’t listen to songs. I needed the Psalms of lament to give me the language I lacked to inform my grief and cry out in my afflictions. It worked internally and externally and it was worship in my Ground Zero.