Simply put, a song of sadness over our sins. Someone asked me, “What is lament and why is it important for us as Christians or is it a practice we no longer worry about because Jesus died for all our sins?” Yes, it is true Jesus died for our sins, but we are still fighting the fight of our lives as we grapple with our fleshly nature as believers. We need to put to death our flesh, for all our sin will lead to death. “But if we are led by the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the flesh and find hope in a renewed life.” (Romans 8:13). We are forever forgiven and redeemed by God; however, we are fighting the good fight of faith as we wrestle with our base nature of sin. A time of lament comes when we recognize how far we fall short, and we all do. (Romans 3:23)
Lament as a biblical concept is often found in a song of mourning and sorrow. Laments may be occasioned by bereavement, personal trouble, national disaster, or the judgment of God. We can see in the book of Lamentations an example from Jeremiah’s broken heart and the very real reality of the cost of sin and disobedience towards God. Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were taken captive. This means that Daniel the prophet is a contemporary of Jeremiah. Lamentations is his lament and contains sorrowful reactions to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 586 B.C. Jeremiah is writing out his sorrow, for this took place during his lifetime. In a way, we are reading his personal journal.
When was the last time you and I sorrowed over our sin and the sins of others? I know that corporate lament is not common to our public assembly. However, most of us do not even have private sorrow over our personal sin. We often make excuses for our sin instead of repenting. Now you and I do not sorrow as those who have no hope in God. On the contrary, we lament knowing we have received the grace of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) God loves us, but we should never forget our sins hurt the heart of God.