Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

As we continue our Beatitude series on what Kingdom citizenship looks like, this second beatitude in Matthew 5:4 on the surface appears to be a paradox: “blessed (happy) are those who mourn.” How can mourning make you happy? Why would I ever feel blessed if I’m sad? While the world might suggest that happiness and tears can’t coexist, God paints a different picture in Scripture. There is some sorrow which not only must be embraced but is necessary if we are to ever experience true happiness.

The Bible refers to this type of mourning as Godly sorrow, which differs from worldly sorrow, and has a much different outcome. In 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Paul references a sorrow felt by the Corinthian church because of the first letter he sent them confronting and rebuking their sins. While Paul was initially concerned about how they would receive his admonition, he now rejoices as he sees it filled them with ‘Godly sorrow’ which in turn led to their repentance. He uses their example to teach on the importance of Godly sorrow which can be distinguished from worldly sorrow by the outcome it produces. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and can ultimately lead to our salvation. In contrast, at the end of v. 10 he says that worldly sorrow simply ends in death.

This gives us a glimpse into what Jesus means by ‘blessed are those who mourn’: He’s saying that Kingdom character entails being someone who grieves over sin and wrongdoing. In Isaiah 66:2b, we read, “To this one I (God) will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.” These first two beatitudes in Matthew 5:3,4 are connected just as they are in Isaiah 66 and other scriptures. God loves those who are humble and contrite of heart. James 4:8-10 says that sinners should be miserable, mourn, and weep, and let their laughter be turned to mourning. We should grieve over our own sins just as David did in Psalm 51; we should grieve over the sins of our church or community as Daniel did in Daniel 9; and we should grieve over this painful, broken, sinful world that we live in as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:136.

If we have this sort of Godly sorrow, then God promises the blessing of comfort: “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” If our sin and the sin we see all around us moves us to mourning, then out of that sorrow (and repentance) can come the unspeakable comfort of a God who ultimately wipes away all tears (Revelation 21:4). It’s been said that the word of God is intended to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The faithful suffering because of the sin in this world can trust in the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet foretold of the Lord’s anointed who would come to “heal the brokenhearted” and “comfort all who mourn.” But that blessing applied only to the remnant of Israel which had been humbled and grieved by the nation’s punishment for it’s sins (Ezekiel 9:4). Thanks be to God, the anointed One has come, and with a heart that is sorrowful over sin, we can experience His abundant comfort (2 Cor. 1:5).