God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. (NLT)
It is so very true that God is able to comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones. Yet it is not the sort of thing being taught in this Beatitude of Jesus. He has already spoken of God favouring those who recognise their spiritual bankruptcy. Now he takes it a step further by saying God’s blessing is on those who are broken hearted about such bankruptcy.
It may seem as if this is a prescription for gloomy misery. It is not. We mourn our imperfections and innate inability to love God and others consistently. But we don’t wallow in such mourning. We face the bad news of our sin in order to better appreciate the good news of God’s mercy.
The comfort of forgiveness and a fresh start comes only to those who know how badly they need both. There are no short cuts, no cheap comfort. While we rightly avoid the extreme of being obsessed with our unworthiness, we must not go to the other extreme and blithely dismiss our failings. Our God is a gracious God but also a holy God.
We grieve in order to become free of that grief. We weep in order that the tears may be wiped away. We come face to face with the holiness of God in order that we might better embrace and love the grace of God.
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