“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 ESV)
Today we continue our study of the Beatitudes, which are part of Jesus’ larger Sermon on the Mount. As we read through the Beatitudes we see that they do not stand alone. Each one builds on the ones before it creating a complete picture of a true disciple of Christ.
As we learned yesterday when we studied the first Beatitude, humility and recognition of a broken spirit are a necessity for entering the kingdom of heaven. Additionally, without true repentance-driven humility no one can possess any of the characteristics of the remaining seven Beatitudes.
Which brings us to the second Beatitude. Here Jesus states that those who mourn shall be comforted. Once a true follower of Christ becomes aware of their spiritual poverty they will mourn over their condition. The realization of their sinfulness brings deep regret and sorrow.
Many people express sorrow at some point. But there is a difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow [2 Corinthians 7:10]. Those who express worldly sorrow feel guilty over their actions; their sorrow is self-directed. They’re sorry they got caught or perhaps they are sorry for the consequences of their behavior. In other words, if their sinful behavior was not found out or did not have negative ramifications, they would not be sorry.
But those who express godly sorrow regret who they are; their sorrow is God-directed. They understand that regardless of the outcome, their behavior put a heavy burden on Jesus, who took on the penalties of their sin.
Real mourning is not a matter of mere words or actions, but of an awareness of how our thoughts, words, and behavior are an affront to God.
But notice the blessing. Those who mourn who they are shall be comforted. The Greek word for “comforted” here is παρακαλεο (pronounced: par-ak-al-eh’-o) which shares the same root as the word Jesus uses for the Holy Spirit in John 14:26. In other words, it is God Himself – the one we have offended – who comforts us when we mourn over having offended Him. How amazing is that?
This never happens in the real world. If I break a law and feel bad over it, no cop or judge will comfort me. If I hurt another person and later regret it, it is unlikely that person will comfort me. I’d have to go looking elsewhere for comfort. But when I sin against God and truly regret it (mourn over it) He reaches down and lifts up my soul.
This is the very definition of grace. Despite the selfish ways we live our lives, God offers grace and forgiveness if we want it [Numbers 14:18; 1 John 1:9 et. al]. He is never offended. He never turns His back on us. Instead He lifts us up and encourages us to do better next time. And for that reason we can rejoice in our God who turns mourning into joy [Psalm 30:11].
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