My understanding of “Blessed are those who Mourn for they shall be comforted” was minimal and limited for years. I thought and believed that Christ was talking about mourning as sadness or grief over the difficulties and tragedies in life or mourning for others in similar places of hardship. As I have further studied this, I now understand it is far greater than that.
“The word that Jesus used in this Beatitude is the strongest word in the Greek language for mourning. It is the word for Jacob’s mourning over what he had thought was the death of Joseph (Gen. 37:35). It is used again of those who were mourning and weeping over the death of Jesus (Mark 16:10). Jesus uses this word to show the intensity of mourning He blesses here. He is, however, actually talking about mourning not over death, but over sin.” - Jerry Bridges, The Blessing of Humility.
I came to see and understand that each of the Beatitudes addresses an attitude of the heart. This one, in particular, is about my attitude towards and about my own sin and that of the world. It is not so that I will wallow in sorrow or grief forever over sin, but that I would see the brevity of it and run to repentance. That Jesus uses the exact words for mourning as mourning over a loved one reveals the intensity with which I should see and view my sin and that of the world. However, I do not grieve or mourn without hope but with hope. This is powerful.
As followers of Jesus, we should seek to have a repentant heart throughout our lives with Christ. We have the promise of knowing we can take our sins directly to the cross and be forgiven right away. So why don’t we?
I have to confess, before understanding this fully, when I had sinned; I didn’t even see it as a rebellion against God or sinning against His glory. I was pretty numb to it. Honestly, it was like I just lived in this state of not thinking it mattered, the Lord already forgave me, so I am good to go, right? Looking back, I think it was a combination of spiritual immaturity and then just straight up not being responsible with what I was being taught over time in church and bible class…. Ouch!
Once the fullness of this hit my heart, it felt much like a bombshell of sorts. Conviction, sorrow, and disappointment in myself for grieving the Lord flooded my soul. It took me a bit to process it all. As my prayers and thoughts continued with the Lord. He gave me a memory of a song I sang in church as a teenager; here is the chorus:
It‘s your kindness
That leads us to repentance, oh Lord.
Knowing that you love us, no matter what we do.
It makes us what to love you too.
- Leslie Philips -
A simple chorus grounded in scripture. In Romans 2, Paul talks about how God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. I thank the Lord for this reminder and His incredible kindness lest I get lost and forget that He has rescued me from the pain of sin and death! Remember, we have hope!!
Let’s also remember that the traits found in the Beatitudes are a snapshot of characteristics for all Christians to earnestly desire and grow in. While recognizing, at the same time, that we will not reach full maturity and freedom from sin until we are in heaven with God. Growing up in the area of mourning over our sins seems to be one of the most difficult.
Pondering these things can feel weighty, don’t you think? Remembering God’s heart for us is critical to our growth in this area. It gives us the strength to boldly ask the Lord to show us our sin, to see it for what it truly is (rebellion against God), and then walk in repentance and forgiveness. It’s His kindness that leads us.
Will you join me in this today? Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, and He will lift us up (James 4:10 - NIV)
Erin Nonaka is a Co-Founder and the Director of Communications and Community at Humble Faith Ministries. She is an experienced worship leader, Bible teacher, and leadership trainer. Her heart yearns for women to be equipped and walk boldly for Jesus in every season of life. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two of her three sons.