“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” vs. 4
Should I Laugh Or Cry
As a pastor I have the opportunity to perform funeral services. Some services have an overwhelming sense of sadness while some seem very upbeat and more of a celebration. The problem that many people run into is knowing how to handle and control their reactions. Sometimes you just want to cry or be quite. Other times, you want to laugh, smile, feel that sense of peace; but for some reason we feel awkward about that or that it is inappropriate. It is hard to know sometimes should I laugh or cry? One of the things I try to do as a funeral starts is to give people permission to express what they feel. To realize that one is not right and one wrong, sometimes it’s just how you are feeling that day.
I think death is a difficult thing to comprehend. We know that life is a set period of time and some people are ready to face death yet we who are left are flooded with a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Another difficult concept that goes right along with death is mourning or sorrow. We experience those emotions but it’s not easy to understand them. They come sometimes when we least expect it. And how do you get past them? You can’t just take a pill, say a certain word, go to a certain place, etc. and they just go away. Another thing about mourning is it seems to be constantly on your mind. You can’t go too long without thinking about the thing you are mourning about. Jesus talks about this difficult subject in the beatitudes, we find it in Matthew 5. If you are able, please stand as we read Matthew 5:1-4.
Read Passage – Matthew 5:1-4
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Things We Mourn
What do you think of when yo hear the word mourn? I think of death and more specifically, the death of someone I know or am familiar with. But mourning is more than that isn’t it? I’ve made a list of some things that we mourn.
-Death of a Loved One
Obviously at the top of the list is death and the death of a loved one, someone we care about.
Ill. On Valentine’s Day one of my aunts passed away. A wonderful Christian woman. Actually and interesting story, she married into the German Baptist. They are an interesting group. Most of their churches look much like this (show picture). Pretty plain and simple and the inside goes right along with it, white walls, nothing on the walls, no instruments, they sing A cappella only, and their hymnals which come from 1867 have words but no music. They all dress the same, the women all wear the same style dress and bonnet (show picture) and the men all wear the same style suit, and most have beards but no mustaches. And they don’t wear jewelry. Anyway, as different as they are, I loved my aunt, I will miss her but know that she loved God and knew Jesus as her Savior.
-Loss of Possessions
A second thing we mourn is the loss of our possessions; things like pets, house(s), car(s), maybe pictures from our past that we lose in a fire or flood, or in some other way. Some of our possessions are very close to our hearts and when they are gone, we struggle and o mourn.
Ill. One of the toughest things I have been through was the loss of our dog. We loved her and she meant so much to us.
A third thing we mourn is the loss of circumstances or situations
Ill. Maybe we lose a job that we really loved. We don’t get a job we were counting on or really wanted. I remember when I was 16 and my parents told us we were going to the Philippines. We were so excited. We ran into visa problems and passport problems and when everything fell through, we kind of mourned not being able to go.
The Character Of Godly/Spiritual Mourning
Today we want to really try to grasp the kind of mourning Jesus is talking about here in verse 4 and somehow discover his desire for our life by living it out. This mourning he is conveying to us here is a Godly or Spiritual mourning.
- Sorrow About Others Sin and Condition
The first part of this Godly or Spiritual mourning is our emotions and feeling s that come up in us when we have sorrow about others and their sin and their lost condition. Jesus showed us this kind of sorrow in his life, we see it explained to us in Matthew 23:37-38:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:37-38
In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples and the crowds and he is warning them about claiming to follow God but not living it out in your heart. He may even have Jerusalem within his view at this point. The point is, when we see others in sin, when we see them hurting themselves or hurting others, there is a sorrow (or maybe there should be a sorrow) in our heart. Jesus is seeing the people of Israel follow leaders who don’t love God, they love themselves. They love their power, their control, their riches and they lord it over the people and they are falling for it. They are supposed to be ready for his arrival instead they have killed the prophet, they have rejected the message, they have missed the point about their relationship with Gid and are more concerned with law keeping and rituals.
Ill. My niece. A beautiful young women, a real joy to be around and life of the party. Went through difficult times and turned to drugs and alcohol. The pain we as a family experienced watching her go through that. The pain in our hearts. Never stopped loving her but struggled watching her destroy herself and eventually die at only 32.
- Sorrow About Our Sin
A second part of this spiritual or Godly sorrow is the sorrow we have about our own sin. God wants us to experience full joy and peace in life by growing in our relationship with Him and doing the things that build us up. Sin only destroys and tears down. A great example from the Bible is David. David was a man after God’s own heart, he was God’s chose to be king, and he was chose to have the birth line of Jesus to go through him. But…he sinned, badly, and in multiple ways .
Here’s the story, he is standing out on his deck and he can see straight into the place a beautiful woman is taking a bath. He doesn’t cover his eyes and look the other way, no, he lusts after her and even calls for her and convinces her to sleep with him. She get pregnant and then he tries to scheme to get her husband to sleep with her so it looks like it’s his child. When that doesn’t work he puts him in a place in war where he is sure to get killed. Then he marries Bathsheba. To top it off, when he is confronted about this by the priest, he won’t fess up to it. He finally does. Now we read about that in the historical accounts but we don’t really get a good idea about David’s emotions until we read the Psalms. They are David’s pouring out of his heart. So now, listen to David’s words from Psalm 51:3-6 where he laments his sin:
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” Psalm 51:3-6
See sin can seem innocent enough or even pleasurable for a while. But it catches up with us. And…you know it don’t you. You know when you are doing something wrong and that you’re not in the space you need to be. Unfortunately, many times we just block it out or even think that somehow, someway, we might just get away with this one. Here’s another verse of David’s that maybe we can identify with in Psalm 38:17-18:
“For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.” Psalm 38:17-18
Sin is tough on us and it does cause sorrow. Here is a little equation to take with you and think about this week:
Sin = pain = sorrow
- Godly Sorrow
And that leads us to this deeper understanding of what Jesus is saying in verse 4, it comes from 2 Corinthians 7:10-11:
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” 2 Cor. 7:10-11
There is a thing called “Godly sorrow.” Godly sorrow is the idea that we begin to look and see things through God’s perspective. See God has a much bigger picture than we do and he understand what is necessary for us to thrive, to find true peace, deep joy, and real life. His perspective of sorrow leads to life. But there is worldly sorrow too and that kind leads to death. Worldly sorrow is empty, unfulfilling, and drains the life out of us. I can honestly say that I choose life. I want life and I want it to the full (John 10:10).
We have an example of this kind of perspective in Luke 18: It’s the the story of the tax collector who recognizes the error of his ways and repents. He says in Luke 18:13:
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” Luke 18:13
A Godly perspective of life and sin leads us to repent and to beg for God’s mercy, which he freely and gladly gives to us. Now if the verse ended with “Blessed are those who mourn…” we would miss the promise that comes with it.
Moving Ahead With Strength
When we understand the promise that accompanies “blessed are those who mourn,” we find a great nugget of
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” vs. 4
Comforted – the word implies strengthening as well as consolation. Those who bear their sorrows patiently grow in patience; those who sorrow for others grow in sympathy; those who sorrow for their own sin deepen their penitence; and those who choose Godly sorrow find comfort and new strength. The comfort comes trusting God, his guidance, his truths, his perspective, and his ways. A description of that comfort is found in Rev. 1:7 in the phrase, ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Revelation 7:17)
But wait, it gets better! Listen to Is. 40:30-31:
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31
Embracing Godly sorrow, choosing to live with God’s perspective, not only helps you live, it allows you to soar like an eagle. Wow!