The Beatitudes and What it Means to Mourn
This is the second of an eight-post series on the Beatitudes. In the last post, we discussed exactly what it means to be poor in spirit. This has nothing to do with our finances or how much we are giving to others. Being poor in spirit is realizing how spiritually broken we are. You and I are not bad people who need to do better. We are sinners in need of a Savior.
This week, we will be looking at the second point Jesus makes with the Beatitudesis the perfect example of our need for keeping the Bible in its proper context. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus tells us,
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Often, someone will read this, and their mind will take off racing in one of two directions. They either tell themselves that Jesus intends for them to be sad and gloomy, or they believe mourning over any situation will create a blessing.
With both misconceptions, our relationship with Jesus can suffer significant harm. When we're unable to understand what Jesus is saying, we can't obtain what He is promising. Be careful with that. I'm not saying there is something to do right or a prize to be won. I'm simply saying that if we wish to follow Jesus to the best of our ability, we want to make sure we fully comprehend what He said.
The blessing mentioned in this verse is not based on an individual circumstance. We aren't simply going to be blessed for mourning when we experience painful situations and circumstances. When reading this verse in the context of the eight beatitudes, mourning over life's difficulties simply wouldn't make sense.
The beatitudes are filled with words such as blessed, the Kingdom of Heaven, comforted, inheriting the earth, being satisfied, mercy, pure, seeing God, and being Sons of God. These are words and statements of joy and fulfillment. Not pain and sorrow.
Therefore, with Jesus' intention of blessing us, why in the world would Jesus want us to mourn? Answering this question will bring us more comfort than we have ever known.
With the rest of this week's post, we will look at why we mourn, precisely what we are grieving for, and how we should respond to this mourning. Each of these feeds off, and into, the other. Until we realize what we are mourning, we will never know our reasoning behind it. If we can't understand what we want our mourning to provide, we will never know how to respond. Let's look at this verse again in its entirety and then break down these three sections.
Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Living the Beatitudes
As I mentioned earlier, this verse is not intended for individual circumstances. This mourning is specific. Mourning is not resolution and regret. The mourning Jesus uses here is the breaking of our hearts for our own sins.
As followers of Christ, yes, every one of us is forgiven for our sins. We have been washed clean by His blood on the cross. Still, our actions always have consequences. Sin always creates collateral damage in our lives. When this goes unaddressed for too long, we will be affected. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when.
These consequences aren't limited to ourselves. Often, those closest to us will feel the repercussions of our actions just as much as we do. This realization is supposed to hurt! God is all for love, mercy, and forgiveness. Yes, and amen. He is also a holy and just God. He cannot be accepting of our sin. It separates us from Him.
The consequences of our sin should lead to mourning in our lives. Not because you were caught, and there's a punishment to face. We should mourn because our sin breaks God's heart. We get tired of hurting the One who loves us so much that He would give His only Son.
Blessed are you when you finally realize the depravity of your own sin.
You will be comforted.
For What Are We Mourning?
Our sin creates spiritual, emotional, and financial losses in our lives. It leaves us broken, spiritually bankrupt. We are not bad people who need to do better. We aren't in need of a life coach or motivational speaker. We are sinners, dead in our trespasses, in desperate need of a Savior.
When we finally become aware of our brokenness, when our hearts become broken because we are tired of breaking God's heart, we mourn. We aren't simply mourning because we need forgiveness. We mourn because we are in desperate need of healing we can only find through the Holy Spirit's work. This awareness sets us up to work our way through the rest of the beatitudes.
Furthermore, we may have exhausted ourselves trying to be better. Only to find it didn't work. On our own, we are never going to meet God's mark. We can try over and over again. Unless Jesus shows up and shows off, it is doom and gloom for us. We cannot fix ourselves. We mourn because we desperately need God to heal us.
Here's what you have to remember. It's not like God sees our sin and turns around, leaving us. Through our sin, we are the ones walking away from Him. We tell ourselves, "I got this. I can do what I want, when I want, with whoever I want to do it with." Next thing you know, we're in the garden with Adam and Eve sewing leaves together to cover up the mess we have made.
God's mercy, grace, and healing are what we mourn for. Not only for the sin we have already committed. We mourn because we don't want to sin anymore.
Blessed are you when you finally realize that you will never be able to fix yourself without God.
You will be comforted.
How Shall We Respond to Our Mourning?
If your mourning doesn't lead you to repentance—a change of mind, a remembrance of the previous verse that you are not God and He is, leading to a change of behavior—you'd want to ask if your heart is really involved? I'll be careful here. I've already made it clear that we cannot fix ourselves. The beatitudes teach us without what Jesus accomplished through the cross, we are never going to be enough.
Yet, when you finally get wrecked by the Gospel, when you experience the mercy of a resurrected Jesus Christ, lifestyles are going to change. You cannot experience a grace that saves without being changed by it. Not because of what you are doing. Because He loves you, and you let Him change you with His love.
Repentance is not a prayer you mumble before falling asleep. It is a way of life that leads to joyful blessings. Repentance is only an option because while you were a sinner, God the Father loved you. He sent His Son on a rescue mission. When Jesus stood up on His nail-pierced feet and said, "Tetelestai," it is finished, that counted for you. That counted for your sin. So that what? So you could be blessed in your spiritual poverty by living in the Kingdom of Heaven, so you could mourn your transgressions against His better judgement and be magnificently comforted!
God looked at you, knowing your depravity, your spiritual brokenness, and said, "I want that person. They belong to me." He knew you would never be enough, and still, He wanted you. And He still wants you, every day.
Blessed are you when you become fully aware of your need for Him, and it leads you to mourn.
You will be comforted!
This series on The Beatitudes is a preview of my next book, The Tea Room Scrolls: Volume 2. The book can be preordered at this link!
Blessings to you,