cross2Those Who Mourn is about one of the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.

When Jesus speaks of mourning, what are we blessed for mourning?

Most of the time, we don’t associate blessing with mourning; maybe we should rethink this… Matthew didn’t actually say what those blessed ones are mourning; it could be the loss of a loved one, it could be the loss of their home or possessions, or it could be the sinful and rebellious state of this world. Maybe it doesn’t matter… (continued here)

Here Don Merritt demonstrates a willingness to let the Bible speak for itself. Most commentators seem to think that given the context the word “mourn” here refers to mourning our sins. Perhaps, but the passage does not say. So a broader interpretation may more appropriate. Here is how The Jeremiah Study Bible explains the verse.

The hurting. The one who weeps over the pains of life can be confident of God’s healing and comfort. The Greek word translated as comforted is also used to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In our sadness, the Holy Spirit will move us to joy.

So what then is the meaning of that verse? The Message is not my favorite translation, but sometimes it gets at the meaning of a passage better than a straightforward translation. So perhaps its translation is better.

Matthew 5:4 The Message (MSG)

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

I watched my children as they grew, and I learned much. When one of them lost a possession, I saw the grief. I recognized it because I had known such grief myself. But such grief is a small thing. If we live long enough, like Job we will lose everything.

  • We will lose our family. Our Lord may favor us with grandchildren, but even they will not replace our spouses and the people we grew up with.
  • We will lose our health. Suddenly, perhaps, but more likely we will lose it slowly. Dribbled away. Leaving us to wonder what happened. Why?
  • We will lose our fortune. How? If nothing else because we have become incapable, we will let our children or grandchildren take control.
  • Most important, perhaps, we will lose our innocence. Can you imagine King David’s grief after the prophet Nathan spoke these words from the Lord.

    2 Samuel 12:7-12 New King James Version (NKJV)

    Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

Each of us sins, even best of kings, and those who mourn most see their sins, understand the consequences, and grieve.

So how does the Holy Spirit comfort us? I once heard Chuck Swindoll describe a conversation with Corrie Ten Boom. Her words to him were something to this effect.

Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open. (from here)

Since that struck me as incomplete, I searched further. So I found this quote. I think it helps, perhaps, to explain the first.

You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have. (from here)

Why are those who mourn blessed? We understand we need a savior.



  1. “Why are those who mourn blessed? We understand we need a savior.” This how I have always understood it. As we mourn over our own sins, we are led to repentance and to the Savior. As we mourn over the evil that surrounds us in this world, we are led to the Savior who has overcome the world. We are bold enough to mourn our sins and the world’s dangers, because we have already been comforted by the Gospel of Christ’s victory. J.

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  2. Beautiful,Tom! This saying is so true, you truly do learn that Christ is all you need when Christ is all you have.

    Grief and mourning truly are a blessing, because they are a sign of having loved much. We feel the loss of those we care about and we grieve over the things we were blessed by. It’s also a sign of life, risk, vulnerablity. There are some who cannot even grieve and that is a real tragedy. It sure doesn’t feel like it at the time, but mourning is an indication that we were once blessed.

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    1. Thank you.

      To have grief is to have loved and lost that love. The alternative is to never have loved a person, an animal, a place, or a thing.

      Grief can be complicated, especially when it involves sin. Consider David’s grief over his sin. He had the lost much of the trust his people. He had lost Uriah the Hittite. He had grieved the person of God. He knew his child would die for his sin, and he knew the sword would never depart from his house.

      Imagine years latter how David must have felt as an old man, remembering Nathan’s story, what he had done, and so many tragedies. Yet that is the man who wrote Psalm 23.

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    1. No. I wish I had, but I think his last comment means he has gone offline.

      I don’t know his status, but Keith is probably not well. All we can do is keep him in our thoughts and pray for him. Not sure he will appreciate our prayers, but I am certain he wants to be remembered by his friends. Prayers for our friends bring fond memories of them to our thoughts.

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  3. I do believe mourning is necessary to fully know Christ. Oh maybe there are some who are born right off the bat strongly bonded to Him but for most it takes deep losss to finally make a turn. Good post Tom.

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