Mourning. Grief. Pain. Suffering. Struggling for hope. Unanswered questions. Regrets. What if’s. Irrational fears. The dark night of the soul. Turmoil. Confusion. How many ways can we describe it? And what difference does descriptions make? Mourning is a sickness in the soul brought on by the loss, whether sudden or expected, of someone so precious to us that the light goes out in our lives. Where can we find encouragement and support? Where can we find hope? In the words of our Lord. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
There is comfort in the promise of the rapture, as Paul said in I Thessalonians 4:18: Comfort one another with these words. What an amazing description of resurrection and restoration when we are reunited with those we love so greatly. We miss them now, but we shall see them again and enter into an unbreakable eternal fellowship.
Yet there’s another kind of mourning in this Beatitude that adds an additional dimension to our comfort, and that’s our mourning for sin and its impact in our lives. The Beatitudes cascade from one to another so each one leads to the next in this description of Christlikeness. Jesus is the ultimate citizen in His kingdom, the measure of all other citizens, and the Beatitudes show us who He is as few other passages do. To be poor in spirit is to be humble, and Jesus describes Himself as exactly that in Matthew 11:28-30 as He invites us to lay down our burden and take up His. Jesus never needed to mourn over His sin because He never sinned, but He mourned over Jerusalem’s sin as well as over ours in Gethsemane (Matthew 23:37-39; 26:36-46). You see for most of us the way to humility goes through the brokenness of pride. This is why we mourn over our sin.
When I realize what my sin does to those I love, to my wife, my sons and their families, my friends and those I lead, what else can I do except to mourn? In my blindness I can’t see I’m sinning. In my deafness I can’t hear what they’re saying. In my powerlessness I can’t stop even when I want to. What’s worse sometimes I don’t want to because I’m convinced I’m right in what I’m doing, even when it hurts others. I desperately need the comfort of forgiveness as I mourn for sin. And that’s exactly what Jesus promises as a result of the blessing of mourning.
It is a blessing to mourn. It is a good thing to know how I hurt others. Granted it is a painful blessing because being broken is painful, but it leads to a restoration of relationships and a new freedom that comes through God’s comfort for us. There is no comfort like the comfort of forgiveness and healing that Jesus brings. That’s why it is a blessing to mourn.