The Saddest Person

Some of the saddest words ever written are by the prophet Jeremiah in his “Lamentations” for Jerusalem and the fall of the Kingdom of Judah. But in chapter 1:14, there is a description that can be applied to anyone whom God holds accountable for his or her own sins. I think such a person must be the saddest of all:

“My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they were set upon my neck; he caused my strength to fail; the Lord gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand.” (Lam. 1:14 ESV)

There is no relief for the person whose sins are formed into a yoke and fastened around her neck. There is no turning away from them, no putting them out of mind, no hiding them from others.

But the happiest person, by contrast, is the person whose many sins are not fastened around their neck, who is not held accountable for her sins:

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
(Ps. 32:1-2 ESV)

This person finds relief from his or her own guilt. This person does not ignore them, turn a blind eye to them, put them out of her mind, or hide them from others: in her “spirit there is no deceit” (Psa 32:2). No hypocrisy, no pretending, no hiding behind a mask or an image she projects to everybody around her. She does not need to turn from, pretend, hide, or ignore her sins because they have been dealt with. Not ignored. Removed. Applied to someone else who took the penalty she deserved, who bore the wrath she had earned: Jesus Christ.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21 ESV)

Through faith in Jesus Christ to be our sufficient sin-bearer, the saddest person becomes the happiest person (c.f. Romans 4:5-8).