(The second Beatitude)
This meditation is the second of a series on the Sermon on the Mount. The first couple of sentences of Jesus’ sermon on the mountain all start with the word “Happy” (the highest level of joy and blessing). Jesus begins by telling his disciples about the attitudes, also called the Beatitudes, through which they can experience this highest form of happiness. “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them! Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!” (Matt. 5:3-11 Good News Bible). Just as astonishing as God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus, was Jesus’ preaching. We would never have thought that the attitudes which Jesus mentions here could bring us joy. To Jesus everything revolves around the disposition of our hearts. The God of love wants us to be a blessing to each other, to have the right attitude, even though it may be at our expense.
In this message we only look at the second Beatitude: Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them! The first Beatitude: Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them points to our total dependence upon God, and that we have nothing which we haven’t received from God. This should make us sensitive to the sorrow of people, and grieve over it; over their disappointments, illness and death. The word used here for “mourn” means something like ‘to grieve over the death of a loved one’. We see it in the reaction of Jesus with the death of Lazarus, the brother of Maria: Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. “Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. Jesus wept (John 11:33-35). It is wonderful to realize that Jesus wept out of compassion for Mary and the Jews while knowing that He would raise Lazarus from the dead!
Happy are those who mourn also means to grieve with people who suffer as a result of sin and the Evil in the world. With children of whom one or both parents have been brutally murdered. With people in financial need, possibly due to the greed of others, etc. If we truly feel sorrow for these people, we can pray for them and be comforted to know that Jesus weeps with them.
The most important grief is the grief over own sin, over the suffering I have caused others, over broken relationships in which I have a share, and the resultant alienation from God. The sorrow which we thus experience makes us conscious of our deepest need. The good news is that this sorrow should, and must, be short-lived. Lasting remorse is futile and harmful. It robs us of joy and happiness, and that is definitely not within God’s will for our lives. Repentance must not weaken us, but lead us to the discovery that God is for us and not against us.
The evil of our sins was the cause of Jesus’ death on the cross. We are blessed when we truly regret our sins, lay them before God and ask for forgiveness. He cleanses us through the blood of Jesus and grants us wonderful comfort. He changes our sorrow to unparalleled joy.
Our heavenly Father, grant me the attitude befitting your kingdom, the attitude to grieve over others’ needs as Jesus did . Please forgive me my sins. Amen.