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Beatitudes: Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

We always assume that when someone is in mourning it’s because they’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe they’ve suffered a heartbreak. We never think of mourning as being genuinely sorry for something that we’ve done wrong. Most of the time, we aren’t sorry. For the most part, people don’t care about others’ feelings. We hide behind “Good intentions” or my personal favorite, “No one’s perfect.” Sometimes we go as far as to say, “God will fix this for me.”

“I cheated on you.”
“I lied to you.”
“He took the money from your purse.”

It’s easy to confess our sins with statements made with no emotional connection behind them. However, it’s not easy to feel bad about doing it. Guilt is one of the worst feelings in this world. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus isn’t talking about those who suffer a broken heart at the loss of a loved one, but those who suffer from guilt.

He says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This says a lot about Jesus and His heart. Sin is terrible and leads us down a dark road. However, when we feel remorse for what we’ve done, Jesus considers us to be “Blessed.” In the last Beatitude, I talked about the word, Blessed, and how it’s used in a different way than what we’re used to.

To recap, we use that word to refer to something good, usually materialistic things. We’re “Blessed” with a new car or “Blessed” with money. I’m “Blessed” because I got a new job that’ll pay all of my bills. We’re also “Blessed” with children. These are just examples. However, God doesn’t just bless us with abundance, He blesses us with the trials in our lives. He finds us to be blessed when we humble ourselves before Him.

In this circumstance, He finds us our guilt as a blessing because it’s the first step to use becoming a better person. If we feel bad for the things we are doing, we won’t want to do them anymore. This means that we’ll be less likely to do them in the future and sin won’t control our lives anymore. God wants what’s best for us and that is a life without sin. Making the decision not to sin anymore starts us on our road to becoming a better person.

And He is there to comfort us. God wants us to heal from the bad things we’ve done. When we ask for forgiveness we’re wiped clean and what’s happened is in the past. It’s a comforting thought to know that God will always be there to catch us when we fall.

“(21) So I myself find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (22) For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; (23) but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (25) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.” – Romans 7:21-25

People need to go from “It’s too hard” to “It’s hard, but I can’t do this anymore.” Paul makes a great statement about the spiritual war that goes on in a Christian’s mind when it comes to sin. We live in the world, but we aren’t supposed to be of it. The world is a bad place full of sin and deception. In the world, everything is permissible. Sex before marriage, lies, cheating, jealousy, gluttony, and pride. It’s all about “Me.” In Jesus’ parable, Lamp on a Stand, He describes a Christian as the light of the world. The world is full of darkness and Christians are to be the light that shines through the darkness.

However, it’s hard to be a Christian. Sure it’s easy to believe in God, go to church, sing the songs, and read your bible. But actually fully relying on Him for everything you need and putting your life in His hands isn’t easy. We’re such prideful creatures, often not wanting to admit that we need help. Not wanting to follow His commandments because it’s more fun to sin than not to. From this, we think of ourselves as a slave of God. We begin to think of Him as a dictator and not a father. This way of thinking leaves us not wanting to follow the commandments which make us start to sin. Over and over we fall back into the same loop of Temptation, sin, guilt, and repentance.

Throughout this study, I realized how much I related to this Beatitude at this point in my life. When I was saved I’d feel remorse for everything I’d done, and over the course of time, I’d feel bad immediately after I’d done them. However, there came a point when I would feel bad and not do anything about it. I wouldn’t ask for forgiveness or try to do better. Then I stopped feeling bad completely.

When I finally decided to come back to God (Yes, it is a choice), I didn’t feel bad for my sins. I didn’t feel bad for not listening to Him or even denying He was there. I didn’t feel bad for praying for the wrong things and insulting His intelligence. It scared me to death! I wondered how I let my heart harden so much that I couldn’t feel remorse and be forgiven.

I don’t know how many other Christians have felt this way. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with me prior to this study. If you are going through something like this as well, or maybe you’re not, this is my piece of advice that God has shown me. Pray about it. Ask God to help you come back to His arms. He’ll open your heart to feel the remorse you need to feel to fully repent of your sins.

Our God is good and sometimes He asks us to do things that don’t match what society expects us to do. That’s the Beatitudes in a nutshell. The eight characteristics of a Christian are the opposite of how the world expects you to be. In the world, if you feel sorry for something bad you’ve done, that’s not right. It isn’t normal and you’re strange. But feeling sorry for something you’ve done makes you blessed in the eyes of God.

Picture via crosswalk.com

Lamp on a Stand

(14)“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

Small acts of kindness, big acts of kindness, smiles here, compliments there, etc. Everything we do throughout our lives represents who we are (whether we’re believers or not). We all want to come off as our image of a good person. However, most people are selfish, self-centered, hypocrites. They want other people to view them how they want to be viewed even if they’re terrible people on the inside.

“(21) He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? (22) For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” – Mark 4:21-22

In this parable, Jesus tells how people view those who act Christlike. When you are in Christ and do as He does, there’s a light that shines through you. Others will always wonder what it is about you that is different from them. What is your reason for why you are the way you are. When we live in Christ, we’re supposed to act like Him and tell others that He’s in us.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” – Luke 8:16

A lot of the time, we hide our light. We stay quiet when we should have spoken up, going along with the crowd, denying the idea that there is anything special about us, letting sin overwhelm our light, not telling others the reason we are who we are, and ignoring the needs of others. In my job, it’s hard not to let my light dim. I deal with the public very personally and it isn’t always easy to be patient and understanding.

I have to consistently remind myself to not let the situation get the best of me. I’d rather others view me as Christlike than the alternative (Even though I’m terrible at it sometimes). Look at it this way. If you’re on your first date with someone, do you hide all of your great qualities from them? No. You show off your humor by making them laugh, you show your intelligence, communication skills, smile, etc. The point is for them to get to know why they should continue to see you and potentially pick you as a partner.

The date may never go to a second one, but they’ll always remember the girl/guy that made them go, “Wow.” That’s how I view being Christlike. That person may never see you again, but they’ll remember the person that made their day better, stopped them from making a terrible decision, helped them in a time of need, or some other situation.

Jesus wanted us to know that when we choose God, we now represent Him as our Father just as we represent the overcome of what our parents made us when we go out into public. We’re the voice of Christ through our actions and what He’s done for us. We’re the light of the world.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” – Luke 11:33

Picture via hiandrew.com