Blessed are Those Who Mourn

Let us now look at Blessing no. 2. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). The word, “mourn” (pentheo), means, “be sad, grieve, mourn.” (Gingrich) Those who mourn are not those who cry when they lose their money, their jobs, or their boyfriends. The mourning here is not the act of mourning, but the focus of mourning. The focus of mourning is sin. They cry over sin. They grieve over sin. They are not happy with sin. Blessed are those who mourn over sin, for they shall be comforted.

Let us look at the OT background again about the work of the Messiah. Isaiah 61:2-3 tells us that the Messiah shall “comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.”  

The people of Israel mourned upon feeling the pain of losing their land. They mourned over the defeat and humiliation of Israel. They mourned over the tyranny of their oppressors. They mourned over their suffering.

But they also mourned over their sin. The exile of the people of Israel was primarily because of their sin. They violated the covenant with Yahweh. They offended their God. So the people of Israel mourned over their sin.

Jesus, their Messiah, has come to comfort the mourning people of Israel. Blessed are those who mourn, Jesus said, for they shall be comforted. The word, “comfort” (parakaleo), means, “to encourage, cheer up.” (Gingrich) The Messiah shall encourage the people of Israel. He shall comfort them over their sin—the cause of their mourning.[1] Messiah shall forgive their sin. Messiah shall restore them back to Yahweh.

To mourn for your sin is to care enough about your sin. To mourn for your sin is to care enough to the point of a broken spirit. To mourn for your sin is to care enough to the point of repentance.[2]

Oftentimes, we mourn over our suffering. Recently, two ships collided in the channel near the new bridge of Cebu. About 27 people are counted dead; and over 200 people are still missing. We mourn the loss of lives.

But do we mourn the sin that caused it?

I heard the horrible news on the radio of a dead baby floating on a river in Cebu City. We mourn over the dead baby. Do we mourn when we see the ugliness of sin in our city?

I mourn over so many Filipinos who are hungry every day. Do you know that the recent SWS Survey of Hunger in Filipino families? In a June 22-30, 2013 SWS Survey, 22.7% of Filipino families or 2-3 out of 10, had nothing to eat in the second quarter of 2013. That’s 4.9 Million households!

“Meanwhile, 17.3% of the respondents (3.7 million families) said they experienced ‘moderate hunger’ or having nothing to eat ‘only once’ or ‘a few times’. This is higher than first quarter’s record of 15.6% (3.2 million).

“‘Severe hunger’ or having nothing to eat ‘always’ or ‘often’ also rose to 5.4% (1.2 million families) in June from 3.6% (726,000) in March.”[3]

What do you cry about? What do you laugh about? Sometimes, we cry about the things we should laugh about. We laugh about the things we should cry about. When I read about the reported robbery of P10 Billion worth of pork barrel funds (Priority Development Assistance Fund) by certain senators and congressmen and the alleged mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles, from 2007-2009,[4] I don’t know whether to cry or laugh about it.   

Listen! We should mourn when we sin. I read about the pain of leprosy. The pain of leprosy is that there is no pain. You can pour boiling water on your feet and still not feel the pain. You can pinch your hand with a pin and not feel the pain. If you have leprosy, you are past feeling.

Paul talks some people who are past feeling (Eph. 4:19). They are darkened in their understanding, he wrote. Their hearts are hardened to sin. They indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continuing lust for more.

A story is told of a boy who was told by his father about his conscience. “Your conscience,” his dad said, “is a small voice which talks toyou when you have done wrong.”

Then the boy prayed, “O God, make the little voice loud.”

 When you commit a sin, does it hurt? Does your conscience hurt you? Do you mourn over you sins? Then you should be glad. That means you are not hopeless. You are not past feeling.           

We grieve over sin and death in our world. But we grieve in hope. We grieve in the hope that Jesus shall comfort us when he comes again. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The blessing is yet future—when Jesus comes. Rev. 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Let us not forget that it is our sins that put Christ on the cross. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” Maybe you are afraid to come to God with your sins. You are ashamed of your sins. You mourn over your sins. That’s okay. That means you have a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

Come to Jesus. Come to the cross. There at the cross, Christ shall take your load of sin away. He shall mend your broken spirit over sin. He shall forgive you your sin. He shall save you from your sin.

[1] Ross, “Beatitudes.”

[2] Charles L. Allen, God’s Psychiatry (Old Tappan: Revell, 1953), 135.

[3] “4.9M Pinoy households experienced hunger: SWS.” Cited August 18, 2013. Online: 08/15/13/49m-pinoy-households-experienced-hunger-sws

[4] Gil C. Cabacungan, “Fake NGO scam wider than Napoles web.” Cited August 18, 2013. Online: http://newsinfo.inquirer. net/467885/fake-ngo-scam-wider-than-napoles-web.


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