Matthew 5:4

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
NIV New International Version

4You'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.
MSG The Message Bible

4God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort!
CEV Contemporary English Version

4Happy the mourning -- because they shall be comforted.
YLT Young's Literal Translation

4Blessed are those who are sad. They will be comforted.
NIRV New International Readers Version

4God makes happy those who are sad. They will have comfort.
WE Worldwide English (New Testament)

How happy are those who know what sorrow means,
for they will be given courage and comfort!
J. B. Phillips Translation

4Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced
by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by
the revelation of His matchless grace]
are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted!
        AMP The Amplified Bible

4 O the bliss of those whose sorrow is sore,
for they shall find courage and comfort.
William Barclay Translation

People who can cry for all the world's suffering will live
to see happiness.       
Source not known to me

In our mourning we can rejoice in His comfort & in knowing
that we will be better able to comfort others.
    Sylvia Klauss

I saw on television yesterday a grieving father who had just lost his
second son in the current war on terrorism. The man wept as he
described the agony he was going through. He said everything inside
of him was torn out and there was nothing left in him anymore. The
scene shocked me into silence. This was real mourning.

Life is full of death and destruction, bombs, refugees, acts of retaliation,
shootings. Hospitals everywhere are full of fear and tears as people
pray for the miracle they need. Obituaries span several pages in the
local newspaper and include young and old alike.

What right do I have to say anything about real sorrow! My two children
phoned me yesterday and we shared a happy conversation. My home
in intact; my loved ones safe. What do I know of the pain of mourning!

Would it help any one who mourns to know that Jesus had them
in mind and spoke this beatitude over them? Would it make any
difference to those who languish in tears, to be told that Jesus cares?
Is there any room for comfort?

Jesus spent his days healing people who could not be cured by the
medical practices of his day. He mingled with pain and sorrow every
day. We are told in the Gospels that Jesus wept at the funeral of his
friend, Lazarus, and that he cried over the city of Jerusalem. We know
that he agonized on the cross and his loved ones mourned as they
watched helplessly.--What a horrible scene that must have been!

Where is the comfort? Where is the blessing, the happiness, which
Jesus spoke to the mourners? And why would Jesus apply these
hopeful words to such a sorrowful subject? We cannot get inside
Jesus' head to find out what he had on his mind. We cannot ask him
to explain himself.

On the surface his words are contradictory. We know that people
who mourn are sad and not feeling happy. Trouble is not something
to laugh about. Those who grieve a loss are in agony and not singing
a happy tune. It's grief or happiness; one or the other, we do not
normally put them together.

But Jesus did. We shouldn't be taken aback; Jesus said surprising
things. Par for the course, the saying goes. So what are we to do
with this beatitude, this second gem in Jesus' sermon on the mount?

I joke that, "It's not a good movie unless it makes me cry." I want a
story that touches my emotions. Something that stirs up some
passion and opens the door to my inner life. In the darkness of the
movie theater I can shed tears and feel the scenes in the depth of
my soul. The problem is when the lights come on, my eyes are still
red and the tears may not be dry. Then everyone knows--I was crying.

I don't know about you, but where I come from, there's something
negative about crying. I have always felt sorry for boys for this reason;
they are absolutely not supposed to cry. Girls cry, it's expected; but
it's better if they don't. But boys just may not let those tears come.
Be strong, tough and whatever you do, hold it in and do not cry.

Hogwash, says Jesus, as he sends this blessing across the hills
of Galilee, "Blessed are those who mourn . . . ."  There is comfort
for those who cry.

It's OK to feel things deeply and express those feelings openly.
Don't be like those who look fine on the outside but inside they are
like death, or as Jesus put it, "full of dead men's bones."

The second beatitude follows on the heels of the preceding one.
Those who are poor in spirit know they have been forgiven much.
Those who are forgiven much, love much. Those who love much,
mourn. Love and mourning abide together. Blessed are those who
dare to love so much that it hurts! Blessed are those who have
someone to mourn over!

What are the things in life which make you cry? Who or what do you
care deeply about? This is a beatitude with which we can all identify
because we live in such an imperfect world. All is not well, really.

  • We mourn for our sins and the hurts which our sins
    have caused. We mourn the waste, the guilt and the shame.
  • We mourn for our own sorrows and the troubles of our
    loved ones--the losses, failures and brokenness--in our
    physical body and in our relationships. We cry out against
    the responsibilities we do not want and did not bargain for.
  • We mourn for people we hear about who have awful
    experiences and find themselves in terrible circumstances.
    If your church has an avenue for sharing joys and concerns,
    you know the concerns far outweigh the joys.
  • We mourn for the world--for people we have never met,
    for the big issues of peace and justice, and for the
    environment which needs better stewardship.

We can all identify with pain and suffering. No one gets through life
unscathed. So in that sense, this beatitude is very relevant; it speaks
to all of us. And in our pain we ask, where is the blessedness which
Jesus proclaimed!

Most of us can point to a past hardship and after it's over,
find something positive that was hidden within that experience.
Is that what Jesus is saying here? Maybe.

Many people who have been through a struggle,
after it is past or even during it, become champions for that cause.
Is that what Jesus meant? Maybe.

Some of the most caring people we have ever met
are people who have suffered the most in life.
They become ministering angels, sharing wisdom and strength.
Is that the meaning of this beatitude? Maybe.

If your problem is that your heart is growing cold
and you feel little for God, yourself, or your fellowman,
Jesus invites you to cry so he can turn that hard heart into a loving heart.
Is this what Jesus had in mind? Maybe.

When we mourn for our sins, Jesus speaks joy over us.
We are freed of the past and any guilt associated with it,
and go forward with faith.
Is that what Jesus was saying? Maybe.

The promise of this beatitude is that we will be comforted. Just before
Jesus' death, he promised his disciples that he would send them a
comforter, the Holy Spirit. This word comforter in Greek is paraclete,
the same as the word comforted in this beatitude.

Sometimes we mourn alone, and the pain is expressed directly to God--
maybe in simple trust, sometimes in anger. Anger is bitter and we
blame God with hard questions. The alternative is to believe that God
is for you and not against you. God is still good. Amid your suffering,
take comfort in the fact that Jesus has blessed your tears, and made
you a promise of comfort. God's spirit will be with you always to help
and strengthen you. God will never leave you nor forget you.

I wouldn't have the nerve to use the words "rejoice" or "be joyful"
around someone who mourns their loss. But Jesus thought we
needed to hear it and so he said, 'Happy the mourning -- because
they shall be comforted.' Mourning is temporary; comfort is eternal;
happiness hovers, ready to enter at any opportunity.

Maybe tears and laughter are not so far apart after all. I received
a book in the mail for my birthday. It came from a family member
and on it was a note: "This is a great read. You will laugh and cry--
at the same time." Love and pain dance together; sorrow and
joy go hand in hand.

Mourning comes naturally. We weep when we suffer a tragedy,
whether outwardly or inwardly, and our loved ones cry with us.
Everyone, everywhere, reacts in similar fashion. But suppose Jesus
is calling his disciples to something more than this natural and
universal response. Suppose Jesus is talking about a spiritual quality.
Blessed are those who are able to weep, and willing to weep. Happy
are you who have a heart of compassion for the world God loves, and
don't let the enormity of suffering kill your sensitivity to individual pain.

Have a heart. Give a damn. Enter in. Take it on. However you express it,
mourning becomes an action word.--An outward expression of a heart
that is not hard, but soft and pliable. Consider Jesus' parable about the
Good Samaritan. In that story a traveler was mugged and left for dead
by the side of the road. Two other travelers saw him but passed on by
without offering aid. Help came unexpectedly from the third passerby,
a "foreigner" who gave first aid and then took the man to a place of shelter
for appropriate care. My question about this parable is this: What was
the difference between the first two passersby and the foreigner who
did stop and give aid? Could it have been the same spiritual quality that
Jesus is asking of us in this second beatitude--the ability to mourn,
to cry, to feel the pain of another?

Blessed are you when you intentionally enter into the needy crowd
for compassion's sake, for Jesus' sake. It's not where most people
choose to be. It's not a place of joy, or is it?!

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