Those who Mourn
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4, NIV)
Jesus rarely taught in a strait-forward manner. He spoke and taught in ways that were designed to make people think. What do you remember clearest from school? The lessons where you were lectured and had to memorize facts and figures? Or the lessons where you were required to think, participate, and draw your own conclusions? Jesus wanted people to come to their own realization about what He was saying. It is why He often used parables to teach.
The Beatitudes, however, are not parables. But they are still designed to teach by making people think! At first, the beatitudes can appear contradictory or just plain nonsense. Many equate the idea of being blessed with being happy and having life going well for you. To be mourning, however, is to be in a state of deep sadness. How could someone experiencing deep sadness have a life that is going well?
Jesus is speaking to His disciples about spiritual matters, not worldly matters. Jesus is not saying a person who mourns will necessarily have a blessed life in this world. Instead, the blessing comes from knowing God. Jesus is speaking of a person being spiritually blessed. So then, what are we to be in mourning for to receive God’s blessing?
It is the very thing that separates us from God – SIN! The Apostle Paul notes in Romans, that we have all sinned. Therefore, we all experience separation from the Lord. This separation is definitely a cause for mourning. Anyone who has ever tried to repent of their sin knows the struggle of trying, and failing, to rise above sin. Sin is a weight that continues to drag us down, away from the Lord. No matter how hard we try, how much we struggle, we cannot free ourselves from our sins. It is always there; waiting, tempting. But that cannot be our excuse to continue to live in sin. Instead, we should mourn, feel deep sadness, that we are unable to live a life in perfect accordance with God’s word. The more we mourn, the more we turn to God in anguish and beg Him to help us overcome our sins, the easier it becomes to trust in Him for everything.
Understanding the spiritual nature of this Beatitude can also bring us comfort when we experience deep sadness in this world. Yes, this Beatitude can and has provided great comfort to those who experienced a great loss, like the death of a loved one. We know that we are not alone in our sadness. Our Savior, who has sacrificed Himself to bridge the gap between mankind and His Father, is there to provide comfort to us. And yes, relying on Him during our times of sadness, deepens and strengthens our relationship with Him. And growing our relationship with our Lord and Savior is always a blessing.
During times of struggle, we easily fall back on old habits, taking the easy path. When we live a life focused on turning to God to overcome our sins and build a relationship with Him, our habit when we experience a worldly loss is to turn to God. Are you turning to God? Are you in mourning for your sin? It’s a new year, build a new habit! And see where it leads you!
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