August 18, 2011 by Chris French
We spend a ton of money on entertaining ourselves! Have you checked out movie prices lately? Insanity! Think about all the money you spend being entertained every day. We do that because those things make us happy. Who wants to sit around being sad? We go to extremes to put sorrow as far away from us as possible, but we can learn something from the sorrow we feel. It certainly makes us stronger (James 1.2-3). The sorrow or “mourning” Jesus talks about in Matt. 5.4 is sorrow because of my sin though. There are 9 Greek words for “mourn”. Pantheo, the word Jesus uses here, is the strongest of the 9. In fact, this word is used in the Septuagint to describe Jacob’s reaction to his loss of Joseph (Gen. 37.33-34). Jacob’s grief was so strong that he thought he would die mourning for Joseph (Gen. 37.35). This is the kind of mourning that makes your stomach hurt. It brings you to your knees. You sob because of this kind of mourning. That’s the kind of grief I should feel over my sin! Wave after wave of emotion rolls thru you when you feel this kind of grief. A wave of guilt is replaced by anger at myself, that is replaced by loneliness and yet more guilt and so the cycle of grief keeps coming.
Maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you don’t feel that way about your sin. There are some sins we relish. We want to keep them close. We look for opportunities to go to them. It’s almost impossible to mourn those sins. We’ve put a mask on those sins and called them something pretty and justified them to ourselves. We need to see them for what they are! Sin builds a wall between us and God and damages that relationship (Isaiah 59.1-2). We need to be spiritual beggars (this is a reference to last week’s lesson. It’s called, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit”). Psalm 51.5 is a great example of what this means. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and Nathan’s taken the “pretty” off David’s sin for him (2nd Sam. 12). Now David sees his sin for what it is. A deal breaker. He had watched God take His Spirit away from Saul because of Saul’s sin, now David is terrified he’s messed up bad enough to warrant the same reaction from God so he writes this Psalm. Obviously he’s not speaking literally. He wasn’t born in sin. Babies are pure. They don’t know the difference between right and wrong, but this was how David FELT! He looked back over his life and couldn’t find a single thing that was worthy of praise. Not a single action where his motives and the action itself were pure. It was like he had been sinning his whole life. No matter where he turned or what he did he couldn’t do right. David had become a spiritual beggar! He had finally remembered that there wasn’t anything good about him. The good was in God alone! Now he was fully dependant on God for everything. That’s what it means to be a spiritual beggar!
These two beatitudes should go together, because essentially they are one thought. I can be poor in spirit, but not mourn for my sin. I can realize that I’m completely destitute without God, but still have a heart that enjoys my sins right where they are, as close to me as possible. What Jesus is blesses in these two verses are the spiritual beggars who can’t stop sobbing over their sin! That’s the second step in this mourning process. (1) I have to realize I’m a spiritual beggar (2) My heart has to be tender enough to mourn over my sin. I need to feel over my sin the way Jacob felt when he was told Joseph was dead! I need to feel like David did in Psalm 51.10-12 where he looks at his heart and it’s so riddled with pride, lust, anger and complacency that he thinks there’s no way to turn that heart back to God. He pleads with God to give him a new one!
When I mourn like that over my sin I “will be comforted”. The comfort Jesus refers to is God’s forgiveness (Psalm 32.1). Jesus blesses those who uncontrollably weep over their sin because God will forgive you. I need to confess my sins, maybe to others, maybe just to myself. Sin is addictive. More than alcohol and drugs sin is addictive so I need God’s people to surround me and hold me accountable. I need these people to show me when I’m trying to put the “pretty” back on my sin. There’s also great power in saying something out loud. I can lie to myself about a sin, but when I say what I’m doing/thinking out loud it’s more obvious that it is sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1.9)
Click here to see a good video by The Skit Guys about how sin weighs us down.