“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-11 ESV)

Focus of the Month: Jesus Teaches: The Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes

My heart racing. My breathing shallow. My fists clenched. My skin cold and clammy. I had messed up. I knew it. And it was time to be accountable for my wrong doings. Facing what could be great loss, I had to admit my fault. There was no way I could repair the destruction I had caused. The only way out of the mess I had produced was to confess to those I harmed; repent; and ask for mercy – knowing I was worthy of none.

My countenance was so low. My hope lost. My sorrow enormous. Like David, my bed was wet with tears, my flesh sallow and sunken. Overcome by grief and despair, all I could see through my swollen, tear-drained eyes was demise. I hated the pain I had caused others.  I was mourning the loss I would suffer as a result of my sin. I was mourning the separation I would endure as a result of my poor choices. I was mourning the death of “me.”

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

Maybe you’re like me. I had understood this verse to mean those who mourn the loss of loved ones will be comforted, and therefore blessed. And I do believe that is true. However, I now understand this verse to mean exponentially more.

When we see ourselves in light of God’s Word, we realize how short we fall from His goodness, His truth, His nature. We can never be as good, as holy, as righteous as God – apart from Christ. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. As we understand our need for Him, we suddenly realize how unjust, unloving, and unrighteous we have been. This revelation causes sorrow that leads to repentance. And repentance prepares our hearts to receive forgiveness, salvation, and restoration – comfort.

James 4:8-9 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.”

Does that mean we must stay in a constant state of sorrow? No – absolutely not! Jesus came to comfort those who mourn. Yes, we need to recognize our mistakes and be accountable for them. As we approach God with true regret for our sins, through Jesus – our Advocate, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We don’t need to roll around in a heap of ashes with a sackcloth over our heads. Instead, Jesus adorns us with beautiful flowers and anoints us with the oil of gladness (Isaiah 61:2-3).

So did this happen when I came clean of my wrongdoings mentioned at the start? A resounding “Yes and Amen”! God is faithful and His promises are true. I received mercy, forgiveness, and restoration – not just from God, but from those whom I had wronged. There is no greater comfort. But it comes at the price of sorrowful repentance.

Are you in need of comfort? Have you mourned your unrighteousness before God? Commit your heart to it and be Blessed!

Holding Fast to Hope,

Maryann

Scripture References: Psalm 6:6; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20; 5:21; 7:10