Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Another beatitude that, if you are like me, you have not understood. We know what mourning is.
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Most of us have experienced grief. But Jesus is talking about something a little different than what we are thinking and identifying as grief. That is not to say that God does not comfort those who are mourning. The Bible tells us that he will dry every tear of grief and that he is near to the brokenhearted (Revelation 21:4 and Psalm 34:18 respectively). This mourning challenges us to look at the cause of our grief in a new way. Expand it, even.
[7:38] First let’s look at the meaning of mourn and comforted.
Mourn is pentheó in Greek. To mourn over a death refers to “manifested grief” so severe it takes possession of a person and cannot be hidden. It means to lament (hello, David. Remember all his laments in the Psalms?), grieve, wail. In the Jewish faith sometimes, families will hire mourners to add to the wailing. I believe some black faiths do this as well. It is a physical thing. See that cannot be hidden part of the definition. Kind of opposite to what is encouraged for us nowadays. While showing emotion is becoming more acceptable, it is still very common to bottle things up. Coming back to this.
Comfort is parakaleó and means to comfort, encourage, console from close beside. “Of the consolation given not in words but by the experience of a happier lot or by a happy issue equivalent to a refresh, cheer.” Do you notice that “from close beside”? That is my favorite part of this whole thing. It’s not a trite sending thoughts and prayers your way. It is alongside you. It is with you.
[12:51] I read an interesting article about this verse, Mourn – Hebrew Word Study. I don’t really agree with what he thinks this verse means, but I loved what he had to say about mourning. He said that those that are mourning are experiencing life at the raw edge and that it’s the time we come closest to full realization of dependence. That really goes hand in hand with what we studied about being poor in spirit. We already know that we are to be fully dependent on God. Not self-sufficient at all. If we are at the raw edge I believe we have a heightened sense of all the feelings.
So, this verse, to mourn is to grieve, but it is calling us to grieve over what grieves God.
Let that sink in.
We know the story of Noah and the ark. Remember why it started raining?
5 Then [a]the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent[b] of the thoughts of his heart was only evil [c]continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
God mourns over sin. He is grieved by your sin, by the sins of the church (believers), by the sins of the world. I am only responsible for repenting of my own sin. Mourning your sin sincerely, truly will lead to repentance. You can’t repent for other people. That is why mourning over it is your only response. Mourning is not defending it, explaining it, ignoring it. It is getting on your knees and weeping for the state of things. I am sure that in the past year/month/week you have shaken your head at least once and worried what the world was coming to. How could you not?
[17:40] If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I have recently been to France. There are so many GORGEOUS cathedrals there. The buildings and grounds are technically owned by the government as historical sites. There is absolutely separation of church and state in France but viewing them as cultural landmarks allows the church to receive financial help. Do you know why they need it? Because they don’t have the congregations to support themselves. Isn’t that tragic? So, I asked questions to my tour guide and fellow travelers that had been to France many more times than I had. They all had the same response; Church is just not very important in French culture. This made me so sad. What a waste of beautiful spaces that were meant for worship and fellowship among the community of believers. The French people have good reasons to have abandoned the church. France has a troubled history with faith. The government has not behaved well, nor has the Catholic Church. This is what sin of the church looks like.
Jim and I accidentally went to mass on our last night in Paris. I wanted to see the church (I always do and I always light a candle and even make the sign of the cross like a good catholic school girl alum should) and we arrived as the service was about to begin. It was not crowded. There was only one priest. Which I thought was odd given the size of the church and the bustling neighborhood it sat in. As I listened to the service in a language I do not understand, my eyes welled with tears. All the hurt that has happened.
[26:17] Warren Wiersbe says to mourn sin we have to see sin the way God sees it and to treat it the way God treats it. This does not mean judging. This simply means calling sin, sin.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53: 4-5
Jesus took up our pain and grief. He bore them on the cross. Do we bear his?
Is God mourning? Shouldn’t we be?
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