True Mourning Brings Comfort

February 5, 2018

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4.

The teaching of the Bible and the philosophy of the world are totally opposite from each other. For example, Jesus said in this second Beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4). The world regards a statement like this as totally unthinkable. How could somebody who is in a state of mourning be blessed?

Keep in mind the word “blessed” doesn’t merely mean happy, it refers to being “favored by God.” Jesus was not saying that those who mourn feel happy. He was making a statement of what we as believers actually are. We are blessed—the recipients of God’s favor.

Neither was Jesus promoting the idea that His followers be grim and miserable, as some Christians have thought. This idea came from the influence of certain Greek philosophers who believed that the physical world was evil and that they could not enjoy anything associated with the material realm.

So what exactly did Jesus mean by, “Blessed are those who mourn”?

Mourning Over Sin

Well, it’s a response to the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Once a person recognizes his or her spiritual poverty, mourning is the emotional response. First we are convicted of our sin, our poverty of spirit, and that produces in us a condition of mourning over our sinful condition.

We see this with David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. He wrote, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:2–3). Peter, who had promised Jesus that he would never let Him down, even if everyone else did, ended up denying that he even knew the Lord. Peter, having done this, “went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). They mourned over their sin.

But listen to the other side of it: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (5:4).

Now I have seen a lot of people mourning over their sin but not being comforted. Why? Because they’re not really mourning over their sin, but mourning the fact they’ve been caught in sin, or their sin has taken its toll on their lives. That’s not the type of mourning Jesus was talking about. He was talking about “godly sorrow,” the kind that produces repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Godly Sorrow

When somebody has godly sorrow, they are willing to take the consequences of their sin. David sinned grievously; King Saul did as well. But David repented, and Saul would not. When judgment was pronounced on Saul, he said, “Wait, that’s not fair. It’s not my fault” (see 1 Samuel 15:24). David, when Nathan the prophet called him on his sin, said, “You’re right, it’s true. I confess my sin” (see 2 Samuel 12:13).

That’s a repentant man, and he will receive the comfort of God. Only when we truly mourn does the promise of comfort apply. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.