Thoughts on the Beatitudes (6) - Evan Gear

Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Why might we mourn?

We may mourn for many things. We may sorrow over loss and difficulty in this life. We often shed tears because an opportunity is lost, or our team was defeated, or because the supper is cold. We cry over our own folly and the tarnished reputations that they earn. We are sad to lose esteem before men. From the weighty to the trivial there are many things in this life that stir sad feelings in our hearts, that cause us to mourn.
But there is a difference between sorrow according to the world and that which Paul calls a “godly sorrow.” In 2 Corinthians 7, the apostle makes a distinction. He writes at verse 10; godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. There is a sorrow that deepens our love for the world and our entanglements in it. For sorrow just as much as delight for a thing attaches our hearts to it. And such attachments of our heart to this world have the power to choke out our love for Christ. They lead, as Paul writes, to death. Instead, we ought rather to mourn and, I think, a large part of that mourning is a sadness, a sorrowing over our worldly sorrows. It should break our heart that our hearts are so often broken for things that mean nothing in light of the Gospel of God. We should weep because we are poor and live in an impoverished world, a world without hope and without God. 
This kind of mourning is exemplified in the sorrow of him who was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Recall the incident with Lazarus as recorded by John in his gospel. It is here that we read in verse 38 that Jesus wept. Our Lord knew not only sorrow but tears, human tears. He is acquainted with us in such places, but note that he sorrows in the midst of their sorrow as one aware of something that all the rest miss. He is the resurrection and the life. He is hope in and through and beyond death. Yet, all weep in his presence, that is in the presence of He who is The Life they sorrow over death. Jesus weeps for their weeping (I mean “for” in the deepest sense; he weeps in their place, where we fail to have godly sorrow he has it.). The ancient churchman Chrysostom once said, “they are not blessed who mourn for the dead, but rather those who mourn for sin.”

 Of course, our Lord does more than weep over our misplaced sorrow; he raises Lazarus from the dead. He comforts those who mourn. And his comfort is twofold. He sorrows for us who sorrow wrongly and he answers our sorrow with his powerful deliverance. He does so, so that we might mourn the fact that we missed it. The powerful deliverance, the very power of resurrection moves us to a different sadness, one mingled with joy. We mourn our unbelief, our lack of faith, our own foolishness and hardness of heart in the presence of the answer and remedy for it all.
When we sorrow after this sort we find that we are in fellowship with him. Blessed are those who know such fellowship… surely you will be with me in Paradise.
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