What Grieves the Holy Spirit

By Vladimir Savchuk | November 20, 2023 | 5 mins

What Grieves the Holy Spirit

In Ephesians 4:30-32, we are shown three things that grieve the Holy Spirit.

The word grieve in this text means to throw somebody into sorrow and to affect somebody with sadness. That tells us that the Holy Spirit is not a ghost, force, power, wind, oil, or a dove without a personality. He is a Person who lives within us, and we, as Christians, have the ability to have a relationship with Him. We also have the ability to cause Him deep heartbreak.

10 Things To Watch Out For

1. Toxic Emotions

We grieve the Holy Spirit when we hold on to toxic emotions. Bitterness, wrath, and clamor all describe toxic emotions. The closer we get to the Lord, the more we’ll become aware of these emotions and let them go.

2. Grudges

The reason many of us love to hold onto a grudge is that it takes time and energy to build, and we are unsure of who we are without it. People believe that harboring resentment stops them from getting hurt again. These things all make sense to our hurting minds, but the Bible warns against such choices.

You can have the Holy Spirit and harbor a grudge, but you cannot host Him. When you host somebody in your home, they get your attention and respect.

We cannot host the Holy Ghost properly if we harbor things in our hearts.

3. Offense

Offense is like an automatic weapon – once you pull the trigger, it keeps firing. It is always tied to pride and control. Your offense might give you an excellent, logical reason why you should feel or act that way, but as you yield to it, the sweet grace of the Holy Spirit is withdrawing.

Jesus said we will be offended in this world (Luke 17:1). We will get offended and hurt. But what hurts the Holy Spirit’s feelings is when we hold onto our hurt feelings and develop theories, gossip, switch churches, and become people who hold on to toxic emotions. When we allow these toxic emotions in our hearts, they become deep-seated bitterness.

4. Bitterness

Bitterness is different from offense:

  • Betrayal is what people do to you; bitterness is what you do to yourself.
  • Bitterness is internal, and betrayal is external.
  • Anybody can be betrayed, but bitterness is optional.

When you are not a believer in Christ, it is so easy to fall into that choice. A Spirit-filled believer needs to understand that it breaks the Holy Spirit’s heart when we hold on to bitterness.

5. Unforgiveness

When you release forgiveness to someone who wronged you, you are not setting them free; you are setting your future free. When you stay in that state of bitterness and unforgiveness, the person hurt is actually you. Holding unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and hoping a rat dies from it.

We all encounter these feelings but when we permit them to stay and grow, they push away intimacy with the Holy Spirit. You may still read the Bible and go to church but if you are holding onto the past, the Holy Spirit cannot be released to flow freely in your life. I encourage you today to let go and let God. The Holy Spirit wants to possess you so powerfully but He cannot possess a vessel that is filled with toxic emotions. You need to keep your heart pure for the Holy Spirit.

6. Evil Speaking

The Holy Spirit is grieved when our speech is morally rotten (Ephesians 4:29). What is the first thing the Holy Spirit does when He fills us – we speak in other tongues. If your tongue is not cleansed, the Holy Spirit is grieved. When Isaiah came into the presence of God, the first thing he noticed was that his tongue was unclean.

7. Cursing

The Bible says when Peter denied Jesus, he cursed and swore. That was the state of somebody who denied Jesus. Anybody who allows cursing to come out of their mouths already has something broken in their relationship with God. No Christian should be guilty of such unbecoming talk. Abort those thoughts quickly in your head and don’t give birth to them by speaking them out of your mouth.

8. Lying And Exaggerating

Lying is deceit. Deceit often requires sufficient truth to make something seem realistic, valid, or appear true, while in reality, it is not. Partial truth is not truth but a little lie. Exaggeration is not a mistake; it is a lie. When you exaggerate or present a half-truth, you align yourself with the father of lies. Remember, the Holy Spirit’s name is the Spirit of Truth. He honors and loves the truth.

9. Harsh Speech

Christians should speak with a sense of the grace of God in our words (Colossians 4:6). “The way it is” often hurts – we should give more grace than that. Even if we are correcting or reproving somebody, we cannot do it raw; it must be correctly seasoned with grace. The person might have messed up but they are not a mess. That is grace.

10. Rudeness To People

We grieve the Holy Spirit when we are rude to people (Ephesians 4:32).

The Scriptures say Jesus did not break a bruised reed. That is talking about people, not plants. You encounter people who are ‘bruised’ as the Scripture describes them. They vent on you. They act out of their brokenness and can be harsh to you unfairly. Instead of replying harshly and breaking them down, you can come with understanding that they are hurting.

The Holy Spirit is deeply affected by how we treat people. He loves people so much. When He sees injustice or that somebody becomes harsh and loses tenderness in their heart, He is grieved.

Find more in my new book: Host the Holy Ghost.

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