“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
This passage demands deep, prayerful reflection. It gives a clear command: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. The Greek word for “grieve” is lupeo, and it means to cause or experience intense pain, sorrow, or distress. We are therefore informed that our sin brings great sorrow and pain to God and, given what the rest of the passage says, this is especially true for the “sins of speaking” that cause disunity and strife among believers.
Not wanting to hurt the Spirit should be strong motivation for not intending the harm of God’s people or purpose.
Our thoughts, actions, and words affect God’s heart. We must always remember that the Holy Spirit is not a distant, abstract deity; he is not an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is a divine person of the Trinity who thinks and feels. Consider, then, that our disobedience and violation of God’s standards bring deep sorrow to the Spirit of God. When we act like the world, talk like the world, and respond the same way the world does, we cause the Spirit of God to feel shock, hurt, and grief.
The same Spirit who convicts my heart of sin, generates my love for God, gives me new birth, provides my ability to see the beauty of God’s grace in the world, and seals my redemption until the coming of the Lord—this same Spirit who loves me so intimately and perfectly, I can cause to grieve … to experience intense pain, sorrow, and distress
This passage also assures us that the Spirit does not abandon us when sin is committed, because we are sealed by the Spirit for all eternity. The Spirit deeply grieves over sin, and Paul presents this as a truth that should motivate us to diligently avoid indulging our sinful desires—whether it be gossip, stealing, uncontrolled anger, lying, lustful passions, or any other violation of God’s standards.
Trust God, be obedient, and do not grieve the Holy Spirit.