This second beatitude is perhaps the most paradoxical. Jesus appears to say, “Happy are the unhappy.” But Jesus’ view of happiness is not like ours, which often rises and falls depending on our circumstances. Jesus’ countercultural happiness is not limited by the presence of disappointments, but rather comes through mourning.
Jesus’ type of mourning is also countercultural. It is not the mourning of self-pity when you do not get what you want. Nor is it the mourning of loss when you lose someone or something you love. Jesus’ mourning is godly mourning over sin. The poor in spirit, from the first beatitude, will become those who sorrow over their sin. Jesus is not saying that happiness comes from the mourning itself, but rather from God’s response to our mourning. Godly mourning brings God’s forgiveness and healing, which in turn give us God’s comfort and joy.
There are two obstacles to godly mourning and therefore to God’s comfort: conceit and despair. Conceit causes us to ignore our sin or blame it on others. Despair causes us to lose hope in God’s forgiveness and excuse sin as an unavoidable reality. Both prevent mourning. Both hinder God’s grace. Both get in the way of happiness. But those who reject conceit and despair will discover a joy even life’s circumstances cannot destroy.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace toward me. I repent of my sin and of the times when I try to pass it off or when I despair that Your grace is insufficient. I know the blood of Christ has power to atone for all my sins eternally. Thank You that I can rejoice through repentance because of what Christ has done for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
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