By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy - Jesus: Blessed are those who mourn
Larry Sheehy
Larry Sheehy

Larry Sheehy012912

Listen to Pastor Larry Sheehy's latest column.

    "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” — Jesus, Matthew 5:4
    The principle of this saying is that there is sorrow that can bring joy, there can be gladness in grief and bliss can result from broken-heartedness. Jesus said he wanted to give his apostles a peace not offered by the world (John14:27). The secular world may offer “peace” based on ignoring danger, on fame and riches and on self-reliance. The world’s reaction to sorrow and mourning is often to avoid it at all costs by isolation from others, through utilizing drugs, alcohol or in meaningless activities.
    The word “mourn” Jesus used referred to an intense, heart piercing sorrow, as in Mark 16:10, where the disciples of Jesus were “mourning and weeping” because of his death. In Acts 9, in the story about the death of a young Christian disciple named Dorcas, Luke recorded: “All the widows stood around [Peter], crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” They were understandably devastated. Certainly, the ability to feel sorrow and to mourn is an important characteristic of emotionally healthy people.
    Who are these who are blessed in their grief?
    1. Jesus may have been talking about those who accept suffering in life with faith in God. He warns us about suffering if we follow him. In John 16:33, he said to his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Paul told Timothy that “... all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. ...” (1 Timothy 3:12) Jesus’ brother James taught what, for some, is very confusing: “Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2)
    2. Jesus may have been referring to those who grieve over the troubles experienced by others. The Bible says, “... mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) God is certainly delighted with those whose hearts and hands are extended to others who
suffer.
    3. Another possibility — and perhaps the most likely — is that Jesus spoke of those who mourn over their sin against God and others. James bluntly said to those whom he calls spiritual adulterers and
haters of God. “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:4, 8-10)
    The Lord welcomes with open arms those whose sorrow for sin leads them to repentance.
    In one of Holy Scripture’s most beloved stories, Jesus said of the prodigal son, “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke15:20) Those who come to God in a spirit of penitent sorrow for sin have the promise of Jesus for comfort.
    After all Jesus, (whose name means “savior”) came to save us from the consequences of our sins.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter