Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Beatitudes #3: Those who mourn    (10/18/2015)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

'We don't do sad'. If ever there was a motto for the 21st century, that would be it.

We can find products to spoil us, to comfort us, to help us feel good about ourselves, to be popular, admired, loved. Alcohol to forget our troubles, drugs (legal and otherwise) to lift our mood, to help us chill out. But please - no talk about mourning. We don't do that stuff.

But Jesus doesn't do easy and popular, and this apparent contradiction has some important messages for those who would be his followers. With this startling teaching, he has three groups of people in mind...

The first group is those who have suffered a real human loss, and are rightly grieving over a missed loved one. Their pain is real, and not to be lightly dismissed.  Jesus himself wept at the tomb of one of his friends. But in such times, those who trust in him do find that he draws near in a way they have not experienced before, to comfort and strengthen them by his presence in a way that only God can.

They find comfort, too, in the fact that for the Christian, death is not the end of everything, but only the end of the beginning. At the cross, Jesus won a great victory over death for us, and demonstrated it by rising from the dead.  We can now have a 'sure and certain hope' of eternal life with him, in company with all those who die as Christians. Those mourners are truly blessed who find their comfort and hope in God.

The second group Jesus had in mind were those who grieve for the trouble of the world. The oppression, injustice, unspeakable violence we see every day in the news. When we grieve like this we are seeing the world as he sees it, our hearts are feeling what is in his heart.  Jesus himself grieved over his own nation; he wanted to bless them in their suffering, but they would not come to him. 

But where's the blessing and comfort in that kind of mourning?

We don't have to wring our hands in despair - we can pray for the victims, and for the perpetrators, we can give money and time, we can work for change, we can share the good news of hope to people who are in themselves in despair. This group of mourners is blessed as they share God's heart for the world, and work with him to do something about it.

The third group are those who are mourning about their own lives. They may have messed up, thrown away opportunities, chosen ways of life and done things they wish they hadn't, but are now living with the results. Living in regret for past failures, for ignoring God, and as the Bible says - sins.

Can the past be undone? No. But there is a blessing for those who have come to see their lives as they really have been, and who then find God's forgiveness, mercy and comfort, those who find his embrace, and a whole new start new start to life - in all its fullness -in a new relationship with him through Jesus

Are you in one of these groups? There is blessing waiting for you!

Pray: Lord help me to feel as you do about the world, and to work with you in changing it.

To consider: Is there anyone you know who is mourning for any of these reasons, and who you could be a blessing to?

Challenge: What could you personally do to spread hope where there is despair in the world?

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