Most agree with the sentiment expressed by Ella Wheeler Wilcox: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone, For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own.”
The Greek word for to mourn, used here, is the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language. It is the word which is used for mourning for the dead, for the passionate lament for one who was loved.
In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is the word which is used of Jacob’s grief when he believed that Joseph, his son, was dead (Genesis 37:34). It was used to describe David’s mourning when his son Absalom died (see 2 Samuel 19:2).
It is defined as the kind of grief which takes such a hold on a man that it cannot be hid. It is not only the sorrow which brings an ache to the heart; it is the sorrow which brings the unrestrainable tears to the eyes.
How can I be happy when I’m mourning? By receiving the comfort of God.
The fourth century religious leader John Chrysostom says in one of his writings that the Beatitudes with which Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount succeed one another “like links in a golden chain”. . . . Jesus did not group the Beatitudes haphazardly; He arranged them in a divinely logical sequence. Each of them builds on the one before it.
James Tolle called the mourning of Matthew 5:4 “the emotional expression of poverty in spirit.”
The first beatitude underlines the fact that we must depend on God and not on self, while the second beatitude is an initial step toward God. Mourning over sins produces a penitent heart which leads to obedience and forgiveness.
Jesus reminded his disciples that the prophet Isaiah had promised that the Messiah would “comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:2 niv).
Scholars differ on the exact nature of this mourning. Some say that Jesus was referring to the nation of Israel mourning for its sins; others interpret this more personally, explaining that it refers to those who mourn for their own sins or even for personal grief or oppression.
Tied with the 1st beatitude, this means that humility (realization of one’s unworthiness before God) also requires sorrow for sins.
Still other scholars see in the word mourning a picture of God’s people who suffer because of their faith in him.
Whether Jesus’ followers mourn for sin or in suffering, God’s promise is sure—they will be comforted.
Only God can take away sorrow for sin; only God can forgive and erase it.
Only God can give comfort to those who suffer for his sake because they know their reward in the kingdom. There he will “wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17 niv).
Jesus explained to his disciples that following him would not involve fame, popularity, and wealth. Instead, it could very well mean sorrow, mourning, and suffering. But they would always know that God would be their comfort.
The Arabs have a proverb: “All sunshine makes a desert.” The land on which the sun always shines will soon become an arid place in which no fruit will grow.
There are certain things which only the rains will produce; and certain experiences which only sorrow can beget.
Sorrow can do two things for us. it can show us, as nothing else can, the essential kindness of our fellowmen; and it can show us as nothing else can the comfort and the compassion of God.
“I walked a mile with Pleasure, She chattered all the way, But left me none the wiser For all she had to say. I walked a mile with Sorrow, And ne’er a word said she, But, oh, the things I learned from her When Sorrow walked with me!”
Blessed are those who are desperately sorry for the sorrow and the suffering of this world. It is never right to be detached from people.
This world would have been a very much poorer place, if there had not been those who cared intensely about the sorrows and the sufferings of others.
Christianity is caring. Blessed is the man who cares intensely for the sufferings, and for the sorrows, and for the needs of others.
Blessed is the man who is desperately sorry for his own sin and his own unworthiness.
Christianity begins with a sense of sin. Blessed is the man who is intensely sorry for his sin, the man who is heart-broken for what his sin has done to God and to Jesus Christ, the man who sees the Cross and who is appalled by the havoc wrought by sin.
How do I get through that by the power of God so that I’m happy way yonder more than I’m sad?
Realize God is with you.
You know when we’re hurting, we tend to forget where God is. We think he’s distant that he is far away. Look at Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
When you’re mourning, when you’re in pain, remember three simple things: God is aware, God cares, and God is there.
I’ve heard people say hundreds of times, nobody knows what I’m going through. That may be right if you’re talking about somebody else in the flesh, but somebody knows what you’re going through. God is keenly aware of everything you’re going through.
He cares. Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” Our pain matters to God.
He’s there. That’s the best thing of all. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Release the hurt. Here’s the key thing, you stop focusing on what’s lost and start focusing on what’s left.
The whole idea here is to quit looking backward and start looking forward. Isaiah 43:18 says, “‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.'”
The Bible says your past is your past, let it go. It doesn’t need to hurt you anymore. Some of you are letting memories of people who have hurt you in the past, hurt you right now.
You can repress those hurts.
You know you can just push them down. You can swallow them, try to keep them way down deep inside. But I’ve said many times, if you swallow your feelings, your stomach keeps score.
There are so many thousands and thousands of Christians right now who are walking wounded, and they are walking wounded because they have repressed their hurt. They’ve never dealt with them, they’ve never even admitted them, they just keep them deep.
You can rehearse the pain.
Have you ever seen somebody who just won’t let it go? They keep bringing it up in their mind and going over and over and over.
There’s a big difference between mourning and moaning. Mourning is legitimate grief. There are times for bona fide sadness. And when you go through that, God wants to comfort that; but moaning is self pity.
And if you’re moaning, you’re doing it honestly because you want to. You just kind of want to hold on to that hurt because that’s your attention-getter.
Resent those things.
I guess that’s the greatest tendency of all. We tend to resent what we believe to be the cause of our pain.
If that’s another person, we tend to resent them. If it’s our job, we tend to resent it.
If we can’t blame it on a specific person, place, or thing, then often God is resented for just letting it happen. The problem with resentment is, it hurts you more than the person you resent.
- The way God will comfort me is by relying on God’s resources When you’re mourning and when you’re hurting, people try all kinds of things. Some get drunk, some pop pills, some watch tv all day long, some escape in novels, or just 1,001 things, all trying to dull the pain.
God says, “No, no, those don’t work.” There are escapes, diversions, but they’re all dead-ends, they bring you right back to where you were.
God’s word. Psalm 119:25: “I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.”
Psalm 119:62, David says, “I remember your ancient laws O Lord, and I find comfort in them.”
His people. That’s why he designed his church. See we weren’t made to be individually isolated or islands unto ourselves. There’s no such thing as a “lone ranger” Christian. We need each other. We’re supposed to be a family. We’re a God-given resource to provide comfort.
God also uses his Spirit to comfort us. When Jesus was here physically, knowing he was going to a cross, he made a promise, John 14:26, he said, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Then he said, “My peace I leave with you;…” That was a promise to the apostles, but the Bible says that promise of the comfort from the Spirit is still applicable.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”