“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
In this lesson, we will discuss the next characteristic of those who desire to be part of the Kingdom of God, a characteristic that Jesus says is “Blessed.” We will look at “they that mourn.”
Do you think Jesus is referring to people who are sad and depressed and like to complain all the time?
Please read Ezekiel 9:3-6, which describes the type of mourning Jesus is talking about. In this vision, Ezekiel sees men set apart with “a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh (grieve) and that cry (lament) for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 9:4). Those people were set apart because they were upset over the sin and idolatry going on around them, and distressed that the name of God was profaned by all of the sinful activities. They mourned over the lack of holiness and over those who had no fear of God.
Mourning Over the Sins of God’s People
They Mourn (or Lament) the Toleration of Sin
Not only are we to mourn and cry out to God over the sins that are going on around us (as in Ezekiel 9:4), but we are to grieve and lament the toleration of sin within the Church, the Body of Christ, which is supposed to represent Jesus to the world. When the Church is not representing Jesus to the world in love, hope, holiness, purity, and righteousness; then we are not giving God glory, and we are not doing what Jesus instructed us to do.
They Mourn (or Lament) that People Ignore God
“Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” (Psalm 119:136)
Those who mourn will grieve when Christians ignore God’s commands and teachings.
What has God spoken to us through His Son Jesus? What happens when we ignore His teachings? When Christians, and those who call themselves Christians, start living for themselves, they begin to ignore God’s will for their lives.
Do you think God is pleased when this happens?
They Mourn (or Lament) Their Own Sin
“Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” (James 4:8b-9)
When we lament, or mourn, over unrighteousness and the toleration of sin within the Church, we are not to do it with an attitude of self-righteousness, but with a contrite heart that is softened to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
We must ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts to point out any sin or disobedience within. And then, we not only grieve and mourn over our sins and the fact that we have hurt God, we also need to move beyond that and repent for our sins. This means we “change our minds” in regard to our actions and attitudes. To change our mind means we stop thinking and doing one thing, and start thinking according to God’s ways, and begin to walk in them.
Mourning Because God is Not Exalted
They Mourn when Sin is Exalted by the World
“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (Romans 1: 18)
What does this verse say happens when ungodliness and wickedness is exalted? How does wickedness and sin suppress the truth? When people do not humble themselves under the power of God, they come under the power of darkness, of the devil. When those people who are under the influence of darkness have power and authority over those who belong to God, then the darkness is exalted and sin is called good.
God said through the prophet Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20)
We know that God ultimately has the victory, and that light will win out over darkness in the end. But when our eyes show us otherwise – when evil is called good – we must press toward God, mourn the fact that He is not exalted, and pray for us to have the victory.
They Mourn when Idols are Exalted by the World
“…who have all deserted me for their idols.” (Ezekiel 14:5)
What are idols? In the Old Testament, we often read about idols made of stone and wood that people would worship instead of the living God. In today’s world, idols tend to be less conspicuous. Some of the idols that are exalted over God by people include money, a good reputation, having lots of friends, success, power, lust, etc. These are just as bad in God’s eyes, and can have a strong hold on an individual, preventing him from worshipping God with a fully surrendered heart.
Those who mourn this state of things can pray against the idols that get in the way of people knowing God and exalting His name above all others.
Joy in Place of Tears
Comfort for the Mourning
“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Jesus promises that those who mourn in the ways we have discussed will be comforted. We do not need to go around gloomy and sad-faced all the time; but in our prayer times, we can cry out to God to make things right in all these situations. When we do this, the Holy Spirit comes and brings comfort to us so that we do not despair.
Joy for the Mourning
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5)
This is another promise in the Bible, those who sow in tears will reap in joy. When we humble ourselves through prayer and (or) fasting in order to intercede on behalf of the Church and the world around us, we will not be left in shame.
Our tears that are shed during times of intense prayer and intercession will not go unnoticed by God; rather, He is pleased with those who are not satisfied with the status quo and the injustice in the world. He will listen and answer those prayers, which will result in joy and happiness for those who have mourned.
Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-11. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you, what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be clear (or innocent) in this matter.
Godly sorrow and mourning is not intended to be an end in and of itself; instead, it is meant to bring repentance, salvation, an eagerness to be clean, and a desire to see justice done.
This type of mourning ends in comfort and joy, because it is rooted in the love of God and a desire to see Him glorified on earth as He is in heaven.