Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4, NASB1995).
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught what has become known as The Beatitudes.
In the second beatitude, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” The word “mourn” was a word in the first century used to describe actions at a memorial service.
I think the second beatitude is the most problematic of the Beatitudes as those listening to Jesus could have thought that He was saying, “Happy are those who act like they are at a funeral.”
Let’s consider what Jesus really meant when He told us to mourn.
I believe that Jesus was saying, “Blessed are those who mourn their sin and its impact in our world.” He was teaching that we find joy and happiness in fully facing our sin and its consequences.
Okay, let’s stop for a moment. The title of this Interruption is “Let’s Try Mourning This Week.” What is the one weakness, temptation, or sin that you deal with over and over in your life?
Our culture now exists to deny our faults, blame others for mishaps, and, when it is unavoidable to wriggle out of something — to minimize its impact or importance. We justify sin by saying, “We would be unloving to call that sin,” or, “That politician is the cause of all that ails America,” or, “What I just did doesn’t matter that much.”
When Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn,” He wasn’t teaching us to deny, blame or minimize.
The Sermon on the Mount has a unique construction. The Beatitudes are a type of pre-amble with the rest of the Sermon on the Mount giving further explanation of their meaning.
What should we mourn about? Jesus gives examples in the Sermon on the Mount . . .
- You are the salt of the world, but if the salt has become tasteless?
- Everyone who looks upon a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- When you pray, don’t use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do.
- If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
- Do not worry about your life as to what you will eat or drink.
Jesus said that we should mourn, but He wasn’t teaching that we should look miserable. He meant that our mourning for sin must happen before we can be filled with God’s Spirit — and then we will be blessed!
We must be convicted of sin before we can experience joy.
Too many want joy without conviction or blessing with no repentance. If we want true happiness, we must first mourn. The negative happens before the positive.
Let’s stop for another moment. Let’s ask the Spirit to convict us of anything hindering our joy in life.
Jesus says that the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are only a few who find it. Those who mourn will open this gate into a life of boundless blessing.
If you are forlorn and miserable this week after reading this Interruption — I am not responsible!!! If you are jumping for joy and turning cartwheels, you understand Biblical mourning.
Blessed are those who mourn!