What did Jesus mean when he said in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”? (NIV) Did he refer only to those who mourn the death of a loved one? I wonder, maybe he was thinking of something else.
There is a time when Scripture commands us to mourn – and it is not about funerals. James 4:8-10 reads: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”(NIV)
Is the second Beatitude talking about this level of repentance – that is, mourning our sins? We can’t be sure. But it certainly applies to the situation. James says when we are grieved by our disobedience to God and express that with mourning, God comes near to us. If we humble ourselves before him, he lifts us up. When we trust in Jesus with a repentant heart, God forgives us. Not only are we forgiven, but God comforts us and reassures us of his forgiveness through the Holy Spirit.
Our assurance of God’s love transforms our grief over our disobedience into the comfort of God’s love. Man! That’s the kind of comfort I want to live in, don’t you?
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.