This beatitude is actually very poignant for me, at this particular time. With the recent passing of LIFE Founder, Jackie Lewis, and the passing of my friend Irene Bramm earlier this year.
Mourning is something that I always struggle with. I tend to think that mourning is a selfish act by people, but not mourning at the passing of a loved one is heartless. This is a dichotomy that I battle inside of myself every time that someone I know passes away. Hopefully, I can end this conflict for myself, and anyone of you that has gone through this same internal battle, once and for all with this article.
Regarding my first point above: I have at times felt that people are being selfish by mourning the physical death of someone they love. After all, if we truly love someone, that we know is going to Heaven, shouldn’t we be rejoicing at their passing? They are at the foot of the Lord’s holy throne, spending eternity in paradise praising the Lord God Almighty! We should be rejoicing in their blessing! We shouldn’t be moping around feeling sorry for ourselves that our loved one is gone from this life.
What does Jesus say, right in the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount? “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Jesus wastes no time in attacking my cold-hearted, wrong thinking regarding the passing of a loved one. He says, ” Blessed are those who mourn…” He is saying blessed is the person who loves enough to feel hurt and anguish when someone they love dies. Mourning someones death is not selfish, it is loving. If mourning death was actually a selfish act, then Jesus would have been guilty of selfishness. Even “Jesus wept” at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus in Bethany. If my first point from above is accurate, then Jesus would have been guilty of committing a totally selfish act when He raised Lazarus from the dead.
So clearly my line of thinking was way off the mark. Since Jesus lived a perfect, blameless life, obviously mourning is a display of love- not an act of selfishness. There can be no mistake about this fact. My wrong thinking about how to emotionally approach death does not make Jesus a sinner. Rather, it is Jesus’ wisdom and holiness that shows me my own lack of understanding.
The second half of verse 4 explains why this is- “for they will be comforted.” If we don’t ever mourn, how can Jesus comfort us? If we don’t mourn, we are essentially saying, “Jesus, I don’t need you. I can handle this loss on my own. I am strong enough on my own; I don’t need your help to carry me through. I got this!” By not mourning and being emotionally vulnerable, during times of loss and hardship, we are actually rejecting Jesus. We are telling Him that we don’t need Him. We have fallen for the temptation to pridefully defy Jesus by fighting to stand on our own strength. The truth is: We’re not strong enough to stand on our own. Without Jesus we can do nothing!
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1