Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Moving on now to the next blessing that goes with living daily as followers of Christ.
What does it mean to mourn? And what does one mourn over?
To mourn is to lament, to grieve intensely. Barclay says the word used here is what is used for mourning for the dead, the passionate lament for one who was loved.
What is one to mourn about? To mourn over sin and its effects, both individual and in society. To be heartbroken, recognizing our personal sin, to accept, not try to justify or explain it away. Not to blame anyone else for one’s wrongdoings, but to take full responsibility. Most importantly, to see my sin, as the Lord sees it, and not in comparison to someone else’s ‘greater’ sin.
We are also called to mourn, not just for our own sins, but the sins of others. Now, that is a tall order if you ask me. If I am to mourn about the sins of others, it means that I need to own and accept the sins of others as my own. Why would I want to do that? And yet, the Bible reminds us, we are called to do just that.
When Nehemiah is told about the condition of the walls of the city of Jerusalem, he prays one of the most powerful prayers, which sets us a great example. (Nehemiah 1:5-11). Nehemiah pleads with God to be attentive to his prayer, as he confesses the sins of the children of Israel, his father’s household, and his own sins. His prayer is all about ‘we have sinned.’ He is not self-righteously praying for the sins of others. He is praying in absolute humility, taking personal ownership for the sins of the people of Israel. He does not distance himself from the others, but acknowledges them as his own.
We are called to mourn.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:10 reminds us that this mourning is the godly sorrow that produces repentance to salvation. Does our heartbreak over our own sinful nature? Or are we often justifying or covering it up? Are we burdened about the sinfulness in our society, among our brethren? Do we sit in seats of judgment about all the things wrong in our society, church or community or are we bending our knees and rending our hearts in prayer for them, in godly sorrow?
The blessing that goes with this much-needed trait, is that we will be comforted. God promises comfort to those who mourn over their sinful condition. God allows grief in our lives as a path not a destination. Those who mourn can know the special fellowship with Christ in His sufferings (Philippians 3:10) and experience His divine comfort.
Are we people who mourn?
Lord, soften our hearts and open our eyes to our sinful condition. Fill us with godly sorrow that produces repentance, I pray.