“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
As I started thinking about the topic of mourning, there was no shortage of situations I could think of from recent days that are causing grief and sorrow in lives within my own circle.
- A friend’s twelve-year-old daughter will have cancer surgery tomorrow to remove her thyroid. The surgery will be followed with radiation.
- My sister and her fiancé are heading out of town for the funeral of a beloved cousin who has died.
- A friend at church is mourning the death of her granddaughter, who died at the age of 25 and leaves behind a five-year-old daughter.
These are the kinds of situations we usually equate with mourning. And those of us in a relationship with God know that He brings healing and comfort into our lives when we lose people that we have loved and who leave a hole in our lives when they leave us. We do not forget them, and we continue to miss them, but we find comfort and peace knowing they are in the Presence of God in a place where there is no more pain or suffering.
Commentaries on this verse suggest a different kind of mourning as well. Harper's Bible Commentary suggests that Jesus was speaking of sorrow for one’s own sins and a desire for moral change in one’s own life and the lives of others.
The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
There is not one of us who is able to say, “I have never sinned.”
I seek God’s comfort often for sins I have done that have hurt others, myself, and most of all God. I can find comfort in His Presence because through the blood of Jesus and my salvation, I have been forgiven for those sins.
The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7b (NKJV)
The Word of God also says:
"as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
Unfortunately, once we have sinned, we cannot remove it. Sometimes we can make amends and receive forgiveness, and sometimes we cannot. We can always, however, receive forgiveness and restoration in our relationship with Christ when we sincerely seek forgiveness for our bad decisions. Although God promises forgiveness, He does not promise to remove the natural consequences of our mistakes.
Going beyond sorrow for our own sin, we should also mourn for the sins of others in this world. One has to look no further than the daily media headlines to find multiple reasons to mourn:
- Chemical warfare on innocent citizens, delivered by their own government.
- School shootings of innocent children and those who try to save them.
- Acts of terrorism—bombings, driving into groups of people with vehicles, and the list goes on.
- Lives lost to addiction: drugs, alcohol, sex and other immoral pursuits that end in the destruction of relationships and families, loss of employment, and at the worst, death.
Jesus Himself sat above the city of Jerusalem and mourned that they were rejecting Him, God in the flesh, who had come to teach them of a way to a new spiritual kingdom. His kingdom is spiritual, eternal, and is full of love, forgiveness, compassion, humility, peace, joy, and health. Instead they pursued power, fame, fortune—the very opposite of the kingdom where Jesus reigns.
“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.” Matthew 23:37
True grief and mourning are raw, heart-wrenching emotions that can literally tear us apart. People mourn in their own ways, but grief is emotion that requires a process of dealing with loss. God is able and willing to comfort us in our mourning, today and always.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
(NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
HARPER'S BIBLE COMMENTARY. COPYRIGHT © 1988 by he Society for Biblical Literature. All rights reserved.
© 2018 Jeanne Dial