Summary: Happy are those who mourn. It just doesn’t sound right does it? So why is mourning a good thing? This sermon takes a look at three areas where mourning is a good thing and why.
A man placed some flowers on the grave of his dearly departed mother and started back toward his car when his attention was diverted to another man kneeling at a grave. The man seemed to be praying with profound intensity and kept repeating, "Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?"
The first man approached him and said, "Sir, I don't wish to interfere with your private grief, but this demonstration of pain is more than I've ever seen before. For whom do you mourn so deeply? A child? A parent?"
The mourner took a moment to collect himself, then replied, “My wife’s first husband.”
Mourning is something we are all familiar with. Today we will take a closer look at it. Last week we started a new series for the year. We are taking a look at the beatitudes that Jesus gave in His Sermon on the Mount. We call them the Be-attitudes because these are the attitudes that are supposed to be in our life as a child of God. Last week we looked at being poor in spirit. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit for they will inherit the kingdom of God. If you remember we said that being poor in spirit is really about recognizing your need for God. It’s a recognition that you can’t save yourself. You are spiritually bankrupt without God. We said that it is the most important of the beatitudes because without you realizing that you can’t save yourself and you need God then you can’t ever really be saved. Those who are poor in spirit are people who are humble in spirit; they do not look down on others or think they are better than other people. The thing about being poor in spirit, it is those who are humble in spirit that see the power of God unleashed in their life. God will not use the proud to show His power through. All throughout scripture God shows He unleashes His power through those who are poor in spirit. Remember being poor in spirit has nothing to do with depression or finances.
Today’s Be-attitude builds on to this one. Like I said earlier, they all build upon one another. Once again it has an odd sound to it when you first hear it. Let’s turn to Matthew to read it.
Once again Jesus’ statement here says something contrary to what the world has said to us. The world would say you are crazy to say that you would be blessed to mourn. If you remember the Greek word that blessed is being translated from means happy. Happy are those who mourn. It just doesn’t sound right does it? So why is mourning a good thing? I want to look at three areas where mourning is a good thing. First of all, it is good to mourn our own sins and shortcomings. You know how we talked about how all the beatitudes build on one another. Last week again being poor in spirit is coming to a realization that you can’t save yourself. You need God to save you. But in order to really get it, to have repentance which is necessary for salvation, you really have to be sorrowful over your sins and just what your sin cost God. Of course we know that in order to experience forgiveness for sins there has to be genuine repentance. You see there is a difference between confession and repentance. There are people that walk in to a Catholic Church and confess to a priest their sins for the week. But with some, in their heart there is no real sorrow. They know that there is a good chance that they will be back confessing the same sin again soon. Come in confess and start all over again. To repent is to confess and change direction. It’s having enough sorrow that you go in the complete opposite direction. I’m not saying that is true with every Catholic confession, but you get the point. Of course we don’t need to confess to a priest because we can go to God directly. But there are believers who have some sins in their life and they don’t mourn their sins enough. They confess when they mess up and there may be some sorrow there, but it doesn’t grieve them enough that they go out and go in a different direction so they don’t repeat the same mistakes. Because of that they end up going back to God to confess the same sin over and over again. If your sin really grieves you, if you really mourn your sin, you will be willing to make big changes. Now let me make something clear, we don’t have the power to overcome sin on our own, it will only be through the power of His Holy Spirit that we can overcome the sins in our life. But if your love for God is strong, you realize that your sin brings hurt to God and you want to do everything you can to avoid that. That is why your sin makes you grieve because it grieves God. You also realize that sin isn’t some small thing, it cost God having to send His Son into the world and watching Him die on the cross. Sin is costly and not something that we should be so flippant about. David has been described by God in the scriptures as “a man after my own heart.” Now we all know that David made a very big mistake in his life when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to have her husband killed. Yet God still described David in that way. I think part of the reason was David was a person who mourned his sin. When David realized that he sinned against God it brought anguish to his heart. Psalm 51 is written by David in his grief and sorrow for what he had done with Bathsheba and her husband. I don’t want to read the whole chapter. But listen to Psalm 51: 1-4. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” David realized that when he sinned it was against God. So if you love God how can you do something against Him without it hurting? Listen to what David goes on to write in verses 10-12. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” You hear the genuine sorrow and repentance in this Psalm. David wanted God to change his heart. David longed to be in the presence of God and have the joy of his salvation. But he knew sin could be costly. Let me ask you this morning: When you slip, when you sin how much does it really bother you? Does it grieve you? If your sin doesn’t grieve you, if you aren’t bothered by it, then how can you genuinely repent? Yes, mourning our own sin and shortcomings is a good thing.