Why Mourn? A look at Matthew 5:4

It is not a fun word. Most the time when we think about the word mourn, we think of being sad because someone has passed away. However, Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that people who mourn will be comforted. I like being comforted, but I don’t like mourning. Why would Jesus want me to mourn? Maybe Jesus isn’t talking about mourning over the death of a loved one, maybe He is talking about a different kind of mourning.

Read Matthew 5:1-11, then we will focus on verse 4.

Jesus says in verse 4 that those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. This is odd because we wouldn’t typically think of someone as being blessed with the opportunity to mourn simply because they will be comforted. The reward does not out-weigh the cost of losing a loved one. So, what could Jesus possibly mean when He talks about the blessed mourners?

Think Break – Discuss the following:

  • What do you think Jesus is talking about when he describes mourners in this passage?
  • Is the death of a loved one the only thing that people mourn?

Mourners would typically do anything to see their loved one again. They would jump at the opportunity to bring them back and change the current situation because of the deep sorrow that they feel. While Jesus isn’t speaking of people who mourn for the dead, this point helps us see why it is that Jesus wants us to mourn. Jesus wants us to mourn when we sin. Sometimes we do things that go against the will of God, and when do those things we should feel mournful. Being overcome with sadness because of our sins should motivate us to change. Just as one who mourns the passing of a loved one would go to drastic lengths to see them again; we need to go to drastic lengths to repent or change our ways. This is why mourners are recognized as blessed by Jesus; those who mourn will strive to change.

When we experience these times in our life where we feel mournful, sad and sorry for things that we have done, we also experience a desire to do better, and to avoid those things we did in the future. Jesus wants us to be mournful not because He wants us to be sad but because He wants us to grow. Jesus wants us to be sad and mournful not just because of our sins but also because of the sins of others. When we see evil in the world we should be saddened. Likewise, this sadness should motivate us to be a force for change, to help others repent and make a difference in the world around us.

It is the growth we experience when we mourn over our sins that will bring us comfort. Once, we recognize that we have messed up and make it right with God by obeying His Word, then we will be comforted knowing that God has forgiven us. This is why Jesus says blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.

If being mournful over your sins or the sins of others seems like a difficult task, you need to recognize the consequences of your sins. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and sent Jesus to the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Being separated from God is certainly not a life desired by any and thinking about Jesus being nailed to the cross for our wrongdoings is heartbreaking. Jesus was a man who felt pain for us therefore, we should be mournful when we recognize sin in our lives.

Scriptures to Consider:

  • 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • Psalm 51

Think About or Discuss the Following:

  • Why is it good to feel mournful? Think about 2 Corinthians 7:10.
  • Why is it sometimes difficult to be mournful over the sins of the world?
  • How can TV, movies and culture in general make it more difficult to feel mournful over sins?
  • Does being mournful lead to immediate blessing or to futuristic blessing?
  • Can knowing Matthew 5:4 and how it applies to our life, help us when we feel guilty? How?

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