“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4.
I once heard of a leading Muslim cleric in Britain telling a Christian leader, “If Christians lived what Jesus taught in the Gospels and in the New Testament, Islam would not have a chance of advancing.”
He pointed out a real problem: a lot of people who call themselves Christians don’t live as they should. Remember, Jesus is laying down in this sermon the picture of a life so radically different that, as His followers, we are to stand out in this world in such a way that people will either love us and want to join us, or hate us and want to get rid of us.
One way that we stand out in the world, as we have seen, is that we are people who mourn. But our mourning is to be not only over our own sin, but also over the sin of others, over the sinful state of our world. David said, “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136). Paul too wept because of the false teachers of his day: “Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
Our culture does not want to mourn. It emphasizes happiness, joviality, lightheartedness, and superficiality. Our society’s attitude is, “Don’t worry, be happy,” and that is more than a cliché—we’ve been indoctrinated in that idea.
Everything is about entertainment and amusement. The word “amuse,” interestingly, originally meant “to distract or to divert one’s attention.” To muse on something means to think on it; adding an a in front of “muse” creates a word that means, “not to muse.” Our culture doesn’t want to think or be serious; people would rather pretend that everything’s great.
Jesus said, in the last days, even when things are as desperate as they can get, people will be eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage—not really giving much thought to signs of the times around them (see Matthew 24:37–39). Welcome to the 21st century!
Before I was a Christian, even though I was into the party lifestyle, I had a sensitive conscience. I knew deep in my heart that the things I was doing were wrong. So I would crank up the music to drown out my thoughts. I didn’t want to feel guilty. That’s the mentality of the world.
It’s easy after we’ve been Christians for a while to become hardened toward people with an attitude like that to the point that we don’t have any compassion for them, nor a desire to see them saved. Instead, we sometimes want to see them judged. But we can never forget that we ourselves were just like them, and that attitude is the opposite of what it means to “mourn” in the context we find in this passage. When we see the sin and brokenness in the lives of our fellow man, we should be brokenhearted and lament over it, while always remembering that it won’t always be this way. Those who mourn will be comforted.
Christ will come again and set everything right. As we see sin and misery increasing in our world, it’s comforting to know that God has set a limit on how far things can go. At a certain point, the Lord will intervene, and He will bring in an everlasting reign of righteousness.