Isn’t mourning a bad thing, so why does Jesus say, “Blessed are those who mourn?”
Everyone goes through a time of loss and mourning. It might be a beloved aunt, grandparent, parent, or even a child. Those who lose their pets go through very much the same thing, so why does Jesus say, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:4)? How is mourning over something or someone supposed to bring a blessing? Part of the answer comes in Jesus’ next breath, saying that “they shall be comforted.” Why does God bless those who mourn? Perhaps it is their mourning over their own sin, maybe even the sins of the world. Believers know that sin brings death and judgment, and without Christ to bridge that gap, they have the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36b). That fact makes me mourn over those who are still lost…separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:2). I’ve mourned over a lot of things, including the death of some people very dear to me, but I’ve also mourned over the sins I did because I know that they do not please God. My love for God makes me mourn over my own sins, knowing how it hurts our fellowship.
Everyone goes through a time of grief, and if you have a friend or family member who’s going through a time of grief right now, all you can do is mourn with them. When words fail us, we can simply sit with them quietly, acknowledging how sorry we are for what’s happened. Sometimes, fewer words are better. In the funerals I’ve presided over, I can see the grief just pouring over the family like rain. They have lost someone close to them, and they know, their world will never be the same, but it’s different for believers. We don’t grieve like the world does. We have hope after death. We know it’s not, “Goodbye,” but “See you later,” so if you know of someone who is mourning, offer to be there for them; bring them meals; or do anything you can for them. I want those who’ve lost their beloved ones who died in the faith to know that the Apostle Paul said “about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13), and “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess 4:14). Do you see? The ones who’ve passed into glory are not dead, because He is the God of the living and not the dead (Matt 22:32; Mark 12:27). That is our hope. We who have trusted in Christ will see them again. That should give us some comfort.
Blessed are those who mourn, for one day they will be comforted, and comforted beyond all measure. The Apostle John writes about a time when “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 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” (Rev 21:3-4). God Himself desires this time to come too because we know what God thinks about the death of His saints. It is as the psalmist declares, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Even in Job’s day, thousands of years before the cross, Job was convinced “that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27). Daniel also wrote of the resurrection of the dead, writing that “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2).
At one time in our lives, we were dead in our sins (Eph 2:1-7), but when the Spirit of God quickened us to new life in Christ, the separation between us and God was gone. We might have cried out like Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death,” but like Paul, we also knew the answer, saying, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Rom 7:24-25). So now we can almost taunt death’s dark, icy grip, saying, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting” (1 Cor 15:55)? I’ll tell you where deaths sting is at. It’s like the honey bee that stings dad in the car. His son is panicking, believing it’ll sting him too, but the father says, “Son…its okay. I took the stinger. He can’t hurt you anymore.” Jesus took on death and defeated it. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:56-57), the sting is gone, but this is only true “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).
If you’re mourning, then say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:3-4). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:4), but God may want to use you to do that comforting. We are to be an extension of the work of God here on earth, and that will mean we comfort others, just as others, at God’s direction, have comforted us. The same kind of comfort we’ve received from others, we are to give to others. If you have never trusted in Christ, you too will mourn. Maybe not today, but someday, perhaps at Jesus’ return (Rev 1:7), or after death (Heb 9:27), and that mourning will be forever more (Rev 20:12-15). That is why I urgently plead with you to repent of your sins and place your trust in Christ now. If not today, when? Today is the best of days to trust in Christ because tomorrow has no guarantee of even getting here.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.