For most people, a funeral service is a sober moment for two reasons.
(1) The loss of the person who has died.
(2) The realization that you too will die and you never know when this will happen. When you attend a Burial Service, Memorial Service or Cremation Service, the normal response you offer to those who have lost a loved one … who is mourning … is to comfort them, normally through words of comfort. Some give flowers and others give promises that if there are any needs they can knock on their door for help. It might happen but I have never seen it happen. Mostly its words and little action or demonstration of true sympathy. Those who lost the loved one mourn. What does it mean to mourn?
(a) In our day it might be demonstrated by grief, sorrow, depression, anxiety, lost-ness, etc. Some will wear black clothing, behavior somber or cry. Depending on the culture, black funeral clothing could be worn for between 7 to 30 days or even 12 months.
(b) Normally a wife losing her husband could mean losing financial security resulting in serious life changes for her and her children. This is where confusion about the future results in depression, fear and anxiety.
(c) In Jesus’ day, mourning the loss of a loved one was much like today … loss, grief, sorrow … sometimes professional mourners were employed to do all the crying (wailing). It almost seems as this was fake, just a show. Now as we come to the second Beatitude, what does mourning mean in the text?
Mt 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
The Beatitudes need to be seen as a unit of teaching where the first leads to the second, etc. Because the believer has experienced being … “poor in spirit” and a participant in the … “kingdom of heaven” … standing before a holy God, 24 – 7, they are aware of their spiritual bankruptcy because of their depravity. This is the reason they …
1) Mourn … and mourning is mourning over sin. We could apply this emotion in various ways …
(i) One’s country or other countries. One could look at the absolute rebellious nature of some leaders, brain washing citizens to follow sinful ways. This was the case with Apartheid and Nazism, followed by rigid communism and religious dictatorship. An immediate contemporary example will be Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. Citizens of such countries are so indoctrinated that they believe “wrong” is “right”. In God’s eyes, “wrong” is “sin” and sinners are accountable. The believer looks at this and mourns over the sinful state of nations remembering the historical record that every “evil” regime falls and fails.
(ii) Situations around us. It might be individuals conducting fraud, rape, murder, theft, malicious injury, drunken driving, adultery, etc. As believers we might have participated in some of these things before salvation but now we are abhorred at the lost-ness and sinfulness of the race. We look at marriages that are rocky where a spouse persists in harmful behavior with a willful attitude of rebellion. It even seems as though some think they are untouchable and will always get away with their sin. This appalls us. We mourn over such situations.
(iii) Other people’s wickedness. Without casting the first stone, we mourn over the state of people who live in depravity and persist in sin. We were there. We know how dangerous this is before God who is the Judge of all the Earth.
(iv) Personal sin. This undoubtedly is the primary meaning of the Second Beatitude. It is mourning over personal, persistent, willful and unintentional sin.
2) Examples of mourning.
(i) Incest within the Church. In the face of thinking they were so spiritual because they pursued the spectacular spiritual gifts, Paul shows them how spiritually bankrupt they are because they permitted sexual sin in the Church that did not even exist within paganism!
1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
This man was having an intimate relationship with his step-mother. They should “have been filled with grief”! In mourning they ought to have disciplined the man by excommunicating him. They did not. They accepted his sin meaning they permitted sin where they ought to have mourned over the wicked person.
(ii) True repentance in the church is
Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
How much grieving, mourning and wailing is there amongst the Body of Christ and the individual over persistent sin that nailed Jesus to the Cross?
3) When there is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, there is comfort. This is an interesting phrase … they will be comforted.
(i) There is the guarantee of comfort … “they will be”.
(ii) Comforted means to be consoled, refreshed, cheered up, helped and encouraged. When the King of the Kingdom sees true mourning over sin, He comes to the rescue. That is His promise! Be encouraged to mourn over you sin. He cares so, He will refresh you!
4) Examples of comfort.
Lk 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
(ii) Immediate … read Acts 20:7-11
Ac 20:11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
Always remember that God is concerned about His mourning saints!
(a) Jesus cares for you
1 Pet 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(b) Jesus prays for you
1Jn 2:1 we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus forgives sin
1 Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Thank You Lord that true mourning for sin has beneficial results for my soul in Jesus. Amen.