Posted on June 14, 2015
Posted on June 14, 2015
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
When I first think of the word mourning, I think of death. We mourn the loss of someone we love. We mourn because we miss them, or because we regret not having more time with them.
But looking deeper, I think Jesus, when he said those who mourn were blessed, was talking about something a little different. I think he was referring to sin and our awareness of its power over us.
Now, before you think I’m going to go all hell, fire and brimstone on you, let me explain.
The cause of all heartache, all sickness, all death is sin. That’s the reality of our existence. When God created man, he did not create a sinful being. He created a perfect being. When the perfect being decided she wanted to ‘be like God,’ the power of sin was unleashed in the world. A chain of events took place and we have been reaping the consequences ever since. Thanks Eve!
Well. Except. If I were in the Garden I’m afraid I’d have eaten the fruit too. And I would continue to eat until my belly was full of my own self-sufficiency and pride. When that fell empty, I’d eat it again, believing that somehow I could be satisfied, that someday it would be enough. On and on history goes. Mankind always striving to be something we’re not meant to be. Always bent on learning from painful experiences.
At least that’s the way it goes for me. The thing is, sorrow created through painful experiences should move us into more productive and beneficial things in life. I mean, imagine if everything in your life was good and easy and wonderful. What motivation would you have to do anything differently, to walk a different path, to find something greater than yourself?
Let me give you an example:
There is a story in Luke 7, about a woman who was a “sinner.” Whatever her sin, it was enough to keep her from being allowed anywhere near a religious person. Jesus was invited to have dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee. Simon was self-sufficient. He was upright and moral and good and followed the law. He had no need of a savior, because he could save himself by following all the rules.
Imagine if you will, that Jesus and Simon are sitting at the table eating, drinking, discussing the Law and theology. The sinful woman comes barging in to the dinner party unannounced. Imagine the commotion that caused. Simon for sure was looking to get her out of there pronto! I imagine he looked at Jesus as if to say, “Why are you welcoming her? Get her out of here. She’ll make us all unclean!” The woman began to weep. She cried tears of mourning all over Jesus’ feet and then wiped them up with her hair. She knew that she needed a savior. Nothing she could do on her own could save her. She couldn’t undo all the sins she had committed. She saw her need for him, the man who could heal this sick. Maybe, just maybe, he would save her from the sickness in her heart. She was full of mourning and she was blessed because she was comforted by The Savior. Instead of judgment she received compassion. Instead of rejection she received praise. She lovingly gave of herself to him by washing his feet with her tears and received love in return.
Do you get it?
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (The Message)
What have you lost that is most dear to you? I identify with the sinful woman, because what I think she grieved most was the loss of her reputation. Everywhere she went she was met with shame. Her reputation wasn’t something that could ever be repaired. She could never undo the years of mistakes, the consequences of choices she made. Yet, with Jesus, it was as if none of it existed at all.
I am blessed. I’m blessed because my mourning reminds me of my need for Jesus, and my utter dependence on his ability to see me and not my sin.
What do you mourn today? Where do you need Jesus to fill your self-sufficiency with his all sufficiency?