Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
(The Blessed Family - Part 2)
By Kim Butts
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).
This is the second in a series of articles about the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. May your family prayerfully and actively apply these messages to your lives as you seek a deeper walk with Jesus.
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
It has always amazed me that many of the most powerful experiences of being acutely aware of the Lord’s nearness and presence in my life have been during times of grieving. He has been so faithful whenever the events in my life have been the most difficult. I am absolutely convinced that our loving Father wishes to extend His precious comfort to His children whenever we are broken by grief or sorrow. The times of deepest mourning in my life fall into two categories, and I believe the Lord wishes to comfort me, and all Christians, in both.
The first is when I am grieving the loss of my connectedness to Christ because I have sinned. My sin grieves me at the deepest level of my being. Breaking faith with God creates a deep sense of loss. Because of His compassion, through grace, He allows me to reconnect with Him. When I come to Him in deep sorrow and repentance, He runs to meet me once again. Each time I fail to let my life be a reflection of the life of Christ, I am comforted by the One who created me: "My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only He will release my feet from the snare" (Psalm 25:15). "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand" (Psalm 40:2). So, after each failure and each struggle with sin, I refocus my eyes back on His perfect face as He lifts me out of the slime I’ve created by my own failures and sinfulness. He releases my feet from the snare – "the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1) and gives me a firm place to stand.
Parents – do you talk to your children about sin? As a family, do you mourn over sin and ask God for His forgiveness? Each one should learn to keep short accounts with the Lord when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. We should mourn whenever there is sin in our lives: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:21-24). The answer is Jesus – because He has promised to!
"Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…" (Romans 7:25-8:6).
The second category of mourning happens when I am grieving because of painful experiences in life. Losing someone through death is difficult, especially if he or she died without personally knowing the Savior. Yet, the precious Father is there with His overwhelming love and comfort in all of my circumstances. Sometimes, I mourn over a lost opportunity. Whenever I have a chance to speak to someone about the love of God, and I don’t…my heart grieves at my lack of courage and faith. Fortunately, when I come to the Lord in this sorry state, He brings me comfort and encouragement to do better the next time. These are the times that I ask Him specifically to bring people into my path that HE wants me to share my faith with.
Has your family been touched by times of mourning? Perhaps broken relationships, lost opportunities, illness or death have touched your lives. "Comfort, comfort My people, says your God" (Isaiah 40:1).
For They Will Be Comforted
Why are those who mourn blessed? They are blessed because of God’s promise of comfort. He says that those who mourn will be comforted – that is a promise directly from our Father! "Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones" (Isaiah 49:13).
Doesn’t it make a significant difference in your life when you ask for forgiveness from the depths of a repentant heart, and know with assurance that the Father will forgive you – because He has promised to? Therefore, isn’t it reassuring to know that the Lord will change our mourning into rejoicing when we have been grieving? "…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5b). When we come to Jesus in our mourning – He brings us the precious reassurance of His presence, and lovingly draws us into His embrace. He cleanses us if we have sinned, and in our grief over loss, His presence brings healing and comfort.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that when you are mourning over loss, the Father brings comfort? Hannah experienced grief over her inability to have a child. She poured out her heart to the Lord and He used Eli, the priest, who said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of Him" (1 Samuel 1:17). Hannah was comforted. In the same way the God of comfort will bring peace to your family when You seek Him in your times of mourning.
Family Prayer and Study
Jesus had a specific purpose for the Beatitudes – to teach us! Here are some practical ways to pray, study and apply Matthew 5:4 as a family:
Read the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. Talk about how the Pharisee proclaimed himself righteous, while the tax collector begged for mercy from the Lord because of his sinfulness. Ask them how this story relates to Matthew 5:4. Discuss how the mournful humility of the tax collector was acceptable and pleasing to the Lord, while the self-righteous pride of the Pharisee, who had no concept of the kingdom of God, denied him access to the blessing and comfort of Christ. Pray for several people you know who are still living in darkness so that they will know the comfort and blessing of the Father. Ask the Lord to intervene in powerful ways in their lives so that they will come to a knowledge of the truth. Be ready in case the Lord wants you to be His instrument as He works in their lives to draw them to Himself.
Read Second Corinthians 1:3-5: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." Ask your family what it means to mourn. Write all of their answers on a chalkboard or a large piece of paper so everyone can see the responses. Next, ask if anyone remembers a time when they, or someone they know were mourning. Share these responses out loud. Now ask them to express what it feels like to mourn. See if any of their responses are different from what is written on the paper. Explain that when mourning is experienced in our own lives, or through another person, it becomes more personal to us.
Ask your family members how they think you should respond to one another and to others who are experiencing grief because of sin or loss. Share with them that even though we may grieve or suffer for Jesus’ sake, His comfort is there for us. Because of this, we are trained how to comfort others in similar situations. Read Romans 12:15: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Talk about how you could extend God’s comfort to others in tangible ways. Spend some time praising God, the Father of Compassion. Pray for God’s comfort and blessing to come to someone you know who is mourning. If he or she is not a Christian, pray that they will come to know Him as Savior and Lord so that they can truly experience the comfort and blessing of the Living Lord through grace.
Read Second Corinthians 7:10-11: "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 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 innocent in this matter." Ask your family how sinfulness makes them feel. Ask them to explain the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Explain that godly sorrow leads to repentance and then the experience of God’s grace and the removal of our guilt. Explain that worldly sorrow, instead of being concerned about the wickedness of sin, is only concerned when there are consequences for that sin. Ask your family how they feel comforted when God forgives them of sin. Confess your sins to one another and then pray Romans 12:1-2 together:
Gracious God, because of Your mercy to us in forgiving our sins, we want to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You. Please accept this as our spiritual act of worship to You. Give us the strength to no longer be conformed to the patterns of this sinful world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Thank You that when we do this we know we will be able to test and approve what Your good, pleasing and perfect will is. We rejoice in the blessing this comforting word brings to our lives.
Read Isaiah 61:1-3: "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Ask your family who this passage is speaking about. Now read Luke 4:16-21. Pray together, giving thanks for Jesus Christ, who is the God of all Comfort.
How are we blessed when we mourn? By the precious comfort extended to us by our Lord. We have complete assurance that He will be there when we experience the godly, repentant sorrow for sin. And, during the sorrow and grief of loss, no matter the circumstance, He is there in the midst of it – extending His hand to us and lifting us up. Blessed are we when we mourn, for we will be comforted by Jesus Himself! Surely there is no greater reassurance than this.
Next Month – Beatitude 3: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).