Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Each beatitude starts with the word “blessed” which is sometimes translated “happy”.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
First of all we need to remind ourselves that the sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes were to the disciples not unbelievers.
Matthew 5:1 ESV Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
So,what Jesus said is directed to Christians.
Does “blessed are they that mourn” mean people who go around with a sad face, the kind of person you hate to see coming because they always bring bad news? No Jesus is not talking about these folk!
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NIV Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (emphasis mine)
There are two kinds of mourning or sorrow.
One kind of sorrow leads to happiness and the other kind to misery. One carries with it a blessing and the other no blessing at all. One leads to life and the other to death. One is "godly sorrow" and the other "worldly sorrow"
To understand this beatitude, and experience the happiness it promises, we need to recognize the kind or sorrow that leads to misery and the kind of sorrow that leads to happiness.
Sorrow that comes because of getting caught is the kind of sorrow that brings misery.
The thief who is arrested, the drug pusher who gets caught, the student who cheats, or the husband or wife who is unfaithful may be sorry to have been caught, but this sorrow has no blessing because it often doesn’t result in repentance. There are a lot of people in prison who are sorry they were caught but who are not sorry for their sins. If given another chance, they would do the same thing again, as is evidenced by the alarming number of repeat offenders. Theirs is a sorrow that leads not to happiness but to misery.
Psalms 32:10 ESV Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord .
Sorrow that comes because of a failure to execute a sinful scheme is the kind of sorrow that brings misery.
A man crashed his car and its frame is bent. He has the body repaired and painted, and then attempts to sell it without telling the prospective buyer the whole truth. Liking the car, the buyer takes it for a test drive and has a mechanic friend look it over. To the mechanic’s trained eye, the bent frame is obvious. The buyer returns the damaged vehicle, and the sale falls through.
The owner is sorry, but only because he failed in his scheme to deceive somebody else. The Bible warns us that “whoever digs a hole for somebody else to fall into falls into it themselves.
Psalms 7:14-16 ESV Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.
Sorrow because of the consequences suffered but not sorrow for the action or sin, is the kind of sorrow that brings misery.
Sorrow for consequences rather than for sin leads to misery. Here's an example.
Acts 8:18-24 ESV Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." (emphasis mine)
Simon didn’t appear to repent or seem to be sorry for his sin instead he asked Peter to pray to remove the consequences.
Paul talks about a “godly sorrow that brings repentance that leads to salvation”
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 ESV For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Sorrow that is born of conviction is a sorrow that brings happiness.
The Corinthians’ sorrow eventually led to happiness because it was born of conviction. Sorrow for sin is not a symptom of a sick soul; it is evidence of a healthy soul. People who are deeply convicted of their sin will come to the Savior as instinctively as sick people will go to a doctor. This type of sorrow leads to happiness.
Sorrow that is expressed is a sorrow that brings happiness.
Sorrow that leads to happiness inevitably expresses itself. It can’t be contained! The Greek word used for “to mourn” thrino, is a very strong word. Often it is used for mourning for the dead. It is the kind of grief that is so intense that you can’t hide it. It brings not only heartache and tears but also confession and a changed life.
Through confession, David’s return to purity and happiness began with his confession:
Psalms 51:3-4 ESV For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
People are really changed when they suddenly come up against something that opens their eyes to what sin is and what sin does.
Sorrow that is blessed is a sorrow that brings happiness.
Four blessings result from sorrow that leads to happiness.
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you are mourning over your sin you won’t know the comfort that is promised until the sins are forgiven. Then you find happiness. As long as the burden and guilt of sin rests heavily on you, you cannot be comforted. It is when we experience the loving forgiveness of Christ that comfort and peace become ours.
Romans 5:1 ESV Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Restoration of fellowship with God.
Psalms 51:12 ESV Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
David's sorrow led to confession, which led to forgiveness, which led to restoration of fellowship with God.
3. Strengthening of character.
Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Sorrow can have a godly reference. God can turn sickness and sorrow into good.
God uses sorrow to build character and thus to bring happiness.
4. God’s comfort.
Jesus said that those who mourn shall be comforted.” Being comforted means strength that comes from companionship with God. Only those who enter into the abundance of God’s life receive the blessing of divine comfort.
“How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given courage and comfort!”