“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

(Matthew 5:4 ESV)

I agree with Saint Augustine that God has made our hearts for himself and our hearts will be restless until they rest in Him. I would also say that because God made us to worship him and be loved by him our hearts will be full of sorrow until they truly mourn over its propensity, along with the rest of the worlds, to sin against God. We are not just prone to wander from God, we are prone to offend God. Knowing that we are bankrupt spiritually and God will save us through the life, work, death and resurrection of Jesus will cause us to see the hideousness of sin in the light of the love of God, which will cause us to mourn, which will lead to joy.

*see gleanings below on how Adam’s sin, our sin and other’s sin in general causes pain that causes sorrow and can lead to godly mourning. Even death on earth is a result of sin and we mourn when our loved ones die. Again see the “gleanings” below

Are you moved by your sin? Do you mourn knowing you and others around you are not loving God as we should?

We short-circuit the mourning process when we excuse our sin as something that is a result of “being human”. True, humans sin, but we should not just stop at knowing this. We need to pray for a godly sorrow over it. We also mismanage the mourning and repentance time by thinking that we should deal with our sin on our own without the light of the cross. We are to process, repent and mourn at the feet of Jesus, the one who loves us and causes our “tears that fall to the ground to become flowers”. We must run to Jesus and mourn in His embrace and be blessed by his gracious forgiveness and restoration.

In this beatitude, mourning is a good thing when we clearly see a bad thing in our lives or in the lives of others. Being poor in spirit is realizing that we are bankrupt, mourning is seeing that we have offended God and dishonored him which leads to godly sorrow and repentance which leads to God’s grace filled comforting which honors and glorifies God.

It is not enough to know that we are sinful. We must be moved by its offense, our offense, the worlds offense against a loving Creator to the point of heartbreak that finds its restoration, its comfort in Christ alone.

The Heidelberg Catechism:

Question. What is your only comfort in life and death?

Answer. That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, wherefore by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto him.”

Here are some gleanings:

People mourn for many reasons: sickness, pain, bereavement, material loss, wounded pride, etc. In the present context, however, a basically different kind of mourning is in view. It is the mourning of those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy (first beatitude) and are—or are presently going to be—hungering and thirsting for righteousness (fourth beatitude), that is emphasized. To be sure, when a person bemoans his sin he also laments sin’s consequences (Rev. 21:4). From the many distresses of life, including the physical, none need be excluded. But they are included only in their character as the results of sin. Accordingly, by no means all mourners are here called blessed.

It is not necessary, howerver, to limit this mourning to that which takes place because of a person’s own individual sins: those whereby he himself has grieved his God. The regenerated learn to love God to such an extent that they will begin to weep because of “all the deeds of ungodliness which the ungodly have committed in such an ungodly manner” (Jude 15).

Their mourning therefore is God-centered, not man-centered. They “sigh and cry” not only over their own sins, nor only over these plus the power of the wicked to oppress the righteous (Hab. 1:4; II Tim. 3:12), but “over all the abominations that are done in the midst of Jerusalem” (Ezek. 9:4)

It grieves them that God, their own God whom they love, is being dishonored. Cf. Ps. 139:21. This type of grief “to the glory of God” is also strikingly expressed in Ps. 119:136, “Streams of water run down my eyes because they do not observe they law.”

The word for mourning in the second beatitude indicates a sorrow that begins in the heart, takes possession of the entire person, and is outwardly manifested.

The blessedness of these people consist in this, that they shall be comforted. Godly sorrow turns the soul toward God. God, in turn, grants comfort to those who seek their help from him.

It is he who pardons, delivers, strengthens, reassures (Ps. 30:5, 50:15, Isa. 55:6, 7; Mic. 7:18-20; Matt. 11:28-30). Thus tears, like raindrops, fall to the ground and come up in flowers. (Ps. 126:5; Eccl. 7:3; John 14; I cor. 10:13; II Cor. 1:3, 4; Rev. 7:14-17; 21:4).

At times the comfort consists in this, tht the affliction itself is removed (see pg. 271 for scripture) Often, however, the affliction remains for a while but a weight of glory outbalances the grief.

William Hendriksen

What does it mean to be blessed by mourning?

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