"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, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:30-32)Paul refers to the Holy Spirit, not as some impersonal force such as the wind, nor as simply some sort of cosmic energy, but as a person who is able of being touched in their emotions; capable of being grieved and, correspondingly, capable of being moved to rejoicing and delight. The Holy Spirit is just as much a person as the Father and the Son are. He feels, He speaks, and He delights in relating to us on a daily basis. While Jesus has ascended into heaven, He has sent forth His Holy Spirit to dwell within us here on this heart. Jesus, speaking of His departure from this Earth, said, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17) Paul counsels us to be aware that we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and to recognize that He sees, hears, and feels all that we see, hear, and feel. The Holy Spirit feels deeply the results of our actions and words and is easily grieved by our sin and recklessness just as much as He is able to be delighted by our righteousness and kindness towards others.
It is interesting that Paul did not say that we should not anger the Holy Spirit but that we should not grieve the Holy Spirit. Clement of Alexandria, speaks of the rich and their need to have someone in their life who can reprove them and help them to walk a godly walk. He says to the rich, "Fear this man when angry; be pained at his groaning; and reverence him when making his anger to cease; and anticipate him when he is deprecating punishment. Let him pass many sleepless nights for thee, interceding for thee with God, influencing the Father with the magic of familiar litanies. For He does not hold out against His children when they beg His pity. And for you he will pray purely, held in high honour as an angel of God, and grieved not by you, but for you. This is sincere repentance." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 41) So is the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us. He grieves for us, not because of us. He is not grieved because we, once again, have sinned, but He is grieved because of the pain and hurt our sin causes us and those around us. He is grieved, not because He is indignant at our sin, but because He know we no longer have to sin and that Jesus has paved the way for us to live a new life; a life full of blessing and joy rather than a life filed with sin, hurt, and pain. He grieves for what our lives could be, not for what they are.
So what are the things that grieve the Holy Spirit? They are the things that bring hurt to us and those around us. Specifically, Paul mentions those relational sins that drive wedges in our relationships and that build walls of separation around us. Things like anger, bitterness, loose talk, and every sort of malice towards others. These things bring sadness to the Holy Spirit because of the pain they bring others. Paul's remedy for the grieving of the Holy Spirit is to put off these things and to put on a new life; to begin to life characterized by love for those around us. Instead of malice, kindness; instead of anger, forgiveness; instead of bitterness, tender-heartedness. With these things the Holy Spirit is delighted and rejoices in the demonstration of the love of God we show towards one another.