BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN
In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for
they shall be comforted.” This is the second beatitude on the subject of happiness. Some consider Matthew 5:1-12 as the counterpart to the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20. All these beatitudes could be restated in the form of a commandment. There are only eight beatitudes, but if you will look closely there are ten commandments in this passage. Be that as it may, the second beatitude may be counted as the one that has most amazed the ears and minds of Bible readers, in the church and out of the church. . Like the first beatitude the statement seems contradictory. It one of His paradoxes. A paradox is a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd, but may actually be true in fact. Jesus connects happiness with mourning. That is indeed paradoxical, for sorrow and joy are normally opposed to each other. Does weeping and happiness go together? Nevertheless, Jesus says there is a sorrow that will make people happy.. The Lord did not define the nature of this mourning or what causes it. He wanted us to figure that out for ourselves, and He knew that a little study and meditation would reveal what He had in mind.
First, let us determine what this mourning is that brings happiness. What is it that He wants us to mourn about? The word mourn means to feel or express sorrow or grief such as we feel when someone we love has died. Certainly that kind of mourning doesn't make people happy. Sorrow is a powerful emotion. The Holy Spirit revealed much about this word when He had Paul write these words to members of the church in Corinth, “Now I rejoice not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death”( 2 Cor. 7:9,10). The word of God divides all mourning into two categories-- sorrow of the world and godly sorrow.
Life is full of sorrows, as we all know. There is more sorrow in the world than joy, more pain than pleasure. These are earthly sorrows and they produce death. The second beatitude is not speaking of the sorrow and mourning of the world. They do not produce salvation or happiness. but death. The sorrow of the world does not mean merely worldly sorrow, just the sorrow arising out of worldly considerations, but it means the sorrow of men and women in the world. The world here means the mass of humanity as distinguished from the church. Of this kind of sorrow and mourning, Paul says it works death. By death he doesn't mean physical
death but spiritual death or separation from God, and that will lead to eternal death in the world to come.. The physical sorrows of the world have a tendency to lead to evil in general. Physical pain and sorrow have a tendency to excite rebellion against God and evil feelings. The tendency is to blame God for the pain and sorrow of life.
What then is godly sorrow, the sorrow in the second beatitude that makes people happy? As the poverty of the first beatitude was to be poor in the spirit, so the mourning of the second is of the soul. It is not sorrow of the body but of the spirit, the inner man. The words “godly sorrow” literally mean sorrow according to God. It is sorrow that has God in it. It is a sorrow that is expressed to God, and which man owes to God... It is a sorrowful feeling we have towards God. This is spiritual mourning. Physical suffering is sorrow according to man, but spiritual suffering is according to God.. Physical mourning is all about man himself, but spiritual mourning is all about God.
Exactly what does Jesus tell us to mourn about in this beatitude?
Jesus is saying, “Blessed are those who mourn over their sins, for they will find both comfort and happiness in this life. Poverty of spirit as taught in the first beatitude is what leads us to mourn for past sins. We should mourn over the bad habits of our life, for our unworthiness, for leaving God out of our lives. Moreover, after we have been reconciled to God, we should mourn for our slowness in spiritual progress and perchance our wandering away and unfaithfulness. From the time we are old enough to know right from wrong, we begin to miss the mark(sin), and fail to observe the good rules of conduct that God expects of all His creatures. For many years we may have lived as if there were no Creator God, lived as we pleased, and felt no responsibility towards Him. We lived without hope and without God in the world. God greatly approves of that kind of mourning.
Jesus has expressed a wonderful truth by saying to all people of the world, If you feel godly sorrow toward God because of your sinful life, you will find find comfort and happiness.” It can lead you to divine forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. However, most people in the world do not believe it. The world of the 21st century is not a world that mourns over sin. Christians believe what Jesus said, but with people of the world it simply does not compute. It does not make any sense. To associate happiness with sorrow is unreasonable. Their objection goes like this. We don't see your point about being sorrowful towards God. We are free creatures and may live as we please. If we choose to live an unreligious and immoral life, is it not our right? If we are to be punished for the bad
way we have lived, it seems to us we ought to f eel sorry for ourselves and not for God. What possible reason could there be to feel sorry towards God? Such is the thinking of worldly-minded people.
However, this is a good question. What reason do we have, what obligation do we have to feel godly sorrow instead of human sorrow? What if we are not living as good as we should? So what! We are just hurting ourselves. Why bring God into it? To most people happiness is beautiful homes, expensive cars, digital television, cell phones, computers, the internet, block-buster moves for entertainment, and a thousand other comforts. Someone summed it up by saying, “So what! Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.”
Where does God fit into the picture? Why should there be sorrowful feelings in our hearts toward God? Why should we weep because of Him? The Holy Spirit answers that question for us in Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.” That verse proves that the Holy Spirit is a person we can grieve, and whatever grieves the Holy Spirit grieves God the Father and Christ the Son. What a marvel that God should be said to grieve over the faults of beings so utterly insignificant as we are. God is in such a close relationship to the human race that he can be grieved by our faults and follies. If Christians can grieve Him by many kinds of bad behavior, how much grief must an unbelieving, disobedient world impose on God?. Because God is the Creator and the human race is a reflection of His creative ability, when man deliberately violates the good rules of conduct of the Creator, God is insulted, embarrassed and humiliated before all the hosts of heaven.
The human race can hurt God, misrepresent Him, make Him look bad and mistreat Him. We are His offspring. Offspring has brought much grief on mothers and fathers who brought them into the world, and the human race has brought much grief to God who is the Father of all mankind.. One hundred and twenty years before the catastrophic flood of Noah, God was greatly grieved. and said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years”(Gen.6:3). When God strives with the human race He is grieved and sorrowful. What God meant was that He would not always and forever plead with mankind to come to repentance. What He meant was that the human race would have just one hundred and twenty years longer to live. It is a divinely revealed truth that the God of heaven and earth mourns over the shortcomings of Christians and the unbelieving world in general.
We have learned some important truths about the second beatitude. We have learned that the mourning that brings happiness to people is mourning over their sinfulness which grieves and hurts God. We have also learned that this mourning is godly sorrow, a sorrow according to God and expressed to Him.
The next question is, what connection does this sorrow have with happiness and how does it make people happy? Paul said, “Godly sorrow produces repentance, leading to salvation, not to be regretted.” That scripture explains the second beatitude. Sorrow in itself is not repentance but it can lead to repentance. Repentance is a real change of the mind, a change of views, feelings and purposes and results in a change of life. It is a change of mind in regard to how you have been living. It is a determination to stop conduct that disrespects and grieves God. What the human race needs to please God and prepare them for heaven is to willingly make up their minds to live a better than they have lived in the past with the help of Christ. My friends. godly sorrow is the only thing in this world that can change human lives and make them acceptable to God. Sorrowful feelings towards God on account of sins, which arise from proper views of God and of our relation to Him, leads to an entire change in the inward and outward life, and this change is called repentance; an essential requirement to go to heaven. The Bible says repentance leads to salvation, which is forgiveness and acceptance with God. John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles all taught that men must repent and be immersed to have their sins forgiven. Those who believe that God's love sent Christ to die for their sins, followed by a determination to correct their lives by repentance, and have their sins washed away in immersion—these people are saved people. W0ithout repentance no one can change their old life and live a life that honors God. Without mourning over their sins, no one will ever come to repentance.
I have one more thing I want to say about the second beatitude. In my judgment, it reveals the most powerful influence that can be exerted on human beings. To rescue people from the sinful life into which they have fallen and restore them to life that is pleasing to God is the most difficult thing in the world to do. Many of the evil habits that people have fallen into are humiliating, despicable and demoralizing. They are struggling in vain to get rid of evil habits that are destroying their lives. Some of these people
have become alcoholics, homosexuals, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, thieves, drug addicts, prostitutes etc.. Man-made efforts and remedies to change these people have not been successful. However, we have studied something in this message that does have the power to change all these people. It is godly sorrow taught in the second beatitude.. To express it in the most understandable way, it is the feeling that you have mistreated God, the feeling that you have offended the God who gave you life and existence.
You have humiliated the very Being who brought you into the world. That is a powerful life-changing feeling, because we will do things for God that we will do for no one else. That feeling can change a life when nothing else can. We do not like to grieve people. It makes us feel bad to grieve those we love and who love us. Many a son has straightened up his life for the better because of a grieving mother. But we all have a closer relationship to God that we have to any one else. He gave us life. In Him we live, move and have our being, and because of this relationship we will do more for God than for anyone else. If I am doing something which I believe is hurting God and causing Him sorrow, I can and will stop it.
If we could convince people with the most addicting habits that they are not only hurting themselves and their loved ones, but they are also hurting God and mistreating Him, that would give these people the power to change their lives. Why? There is no greater reason to change our lives than to stop mistreating the God who made us. When it comes down to the bottom line, sorrow, godly sorrow, sorrow for our unworthiness and sins is the only way out for the human race. As it was before the flood, God will not strive with man forever. I would call the second beatitude, “The Life-changer.” If you believe in Christ and have this sorrow we have studied, you can become a Christian. Arise and be immersed calling on the name of Lord.