I was with a group of people last night opening up about our lives and seeing what encouragement and guidance we might get from the Bible.
One topic that came up a few times that I don’t really give a lot of thought to is “mourning over my sin”. Do you think much about that?
The Bible says:
In Matthew 5:4 (ESV), “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – what is interesting is that this verse comes right after the verse that says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, when we are “poor in spirit”, we are utterly dependent on others. Much like a beggar is dependent on others and cries out to them for whatever they would be willing to give him, so too, it is here. Jesus says in Matt. 5:3, you will be blessed when you have this dependent attitude towards me.
But now, Jesus goes on verse 4 and says, not only will you be blessed if you depend on Me, but you will also be blessed if you “mourn over your sin (and the awful ripple consequences of our sin)”. You will be blessed and you will be comforted.
Isn’t that interesting? I’m sure Jesus was not saying to the disciples back 2000 years ago, or to us today that He wants to see a bunch of stressed out, somber people wandering around with their heads bowed down to the ground. What I do believe He is saying though is that when we understand the ugliness of our sinful natures so that it brings us to a state of sorrow and mourning over its ugliness that is a good thing. It’s good to have that revelation of truth that our selfish and independent ways of life, apart from God are awful.
It is also so uplifting then to not only have that glimpse of truth over the terribleness of sin, but He says He will comfort us then. He will bring to our minds and hearts the complete story. That is, that “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV.
He knows we are sinners. He knows we have a bent toward wandering away from Him. He knows we seek to please ourselves above others, or even God Himself. But that is what the Gospel is all about. He loves us despite our sinning ways (and nature).
When we mourn over our sin, we are really in a good spot because we can follow that grief up with gratefulness as we recognize that God did something about our sinful ways. Jesus died on a cross so our sins could be forgiven. He brings us comfort with this truth.
One other passage that comes to mind from last night is found in James 4:9-10 (esv): “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
The same principles are taught here. Be humble towards God. Understand the depth of your sin so that it cleanses you as you mourn. But recognize as well that we are not to remain in this sorrowful state, but rather we should explode with gratefulness as we understand His love and mercy toward us.
The last point is that in the hectic pace that so many of us live in, finding quiet time to allow God to speak to us will be hard unless we are intentional about making the time to spend with Him.
So, enjoy some time with God. Enjoy the range of emotions from mourning to joy. Blessings.