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Demands of the King of Grace: Mourning (Matt. 5:4)


I have seen people cry, then I have seen people mourn. I have cried and I have also mourned. I have made people cry and regretfully I have made people mourn. There is a difference. The word for mourn here is the same used in Mark 16:10 and 2 Cor. 12:21. It carries with it the weight of deep heart broken sorrow. The kind of sorrow we feel when a close family member dies, or when we have committed an act of offense that has broken a deep relationship to render it unrepairable.
This beatitude flows out of the same spirit of poverty we looked at in the previous verse, yet it carries with it an internal depth of regret. Better said, a regret that is so deep that it leads to a soul felt mourning. I have sat with guys who beat up their girl friends, or on the girls they were pimping. Often they have a sense of regret, but not a true sense of mourning. There is a confession of sorts so that they might feel better about themselves, but not a true sense of mourning. Sometimes they even get back into a relationship with the other party but at best it seems to be a very precarious ‘reconciliation’. 9 out of 10 times ends it up in hurt and destruction, again.
What would YOU tell someone who has ‘confessed’ to you their part in such a broken relationship? What did Jesus tell them? “Don’t just cry, mourn”. But how? The question we are really asking is how does a confessor move to repentance?
I’m afraid that Christianity is full of people who are stuck in habitual confession without true mourning. I sat with a guy who confesses he is looking at porn on the Internet, in fact his wife has caught him, he feels bad about getting caught, and maybe talking to me will make him feel better… but refuses to enter into accountability relationships with godly men or put an accountability program on his laptop. I talk with an addict who has been coming to church and continuing in the cycle of brokenness, crack, confession, brokenness, crack and confession… but refuses to take steps away from, and out of the cycle. I speak with people who are Christians who love to confess the sins of others who have offended them but who are unwilling to enter into a relationship where they might have to bear anothers burden or who refuse to apply the hard truths of the Gospel to their own relationships – What is needed? What does true mourning call us to do? REPENT!
According to Matthew 3:2 repentance has an outworking, a fruit, a result. True repentance is a change of an object of faith. Faith in this sense is a change from how we are gaining our identity (the scary part is when I realize I can no longer trust in hurt, addiction, self righteousness- for my identity). The sorrow and horror of how we were trusting in something else other then what God says about us, is so great that we just want to hold a funeral- a mourning. The outworking of this kind of repentance is
1. Conviction- knowing what you have been trusting in is an offense to God
2. Confession- telling God and others (who love you with a spiritual holy love) how you have been trusting in something else other then God.
3. Definite plans for change- In relationships of accountability making a plan to do differently
4. Renewing your mind with the truth about where you are and the attitudes you have held- God’s Word is where this happens!
5. Humbly and faithfully following through with the steps for change
6. Part of this plan must be repaying, and reconciling those you have offended or stolen from.
The last step here might be the hardest- but it has to be completed if you hope to find freedom. If you have been stealing from your spouse by constantly seeking out fantasy- you are in need of great mourning- REPENT! Ask God to give you a renewed mind, make a plan, follow through and find ways to make her/him the standard of your beauty! If you have been in a cycle of addiction that has stolen away from relationships with everyone in your life because you have time, energy and mind only for the addiction- you need to mourn deeply- REPENT! Ask God to give you new desire and love for what He loves. Make a plan and follow through- Go to detox, then rehab, and find those who are spiritual that you can’t fool or manipulate and allow them to ask the hard questions of the Gospel in your life. If you are someone who has been just showing up for church on Sunday to complain about how everybody else is, and how the church is not doing anything for you. You need to mourn- REPENT!- You can’t walk into the Grooms house and just keep slapping His Bride. You won’t do that at my house and you certainly won’t get away with it at Jesus’. Ask God to forgive you and make steps to enter into deeper relationships then what you think YOU can get out of it…. you might be surprised!
The first thesis of Martin Luther’s 95 that he nailed to the door was:
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
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Talking about this first line, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Seattle) said, “Fish swim, birds fly, pigs oink, Christians repent.”
A clear understanding of our need to mourn and the out working of repentance and we shall be comforted…. because we find ourselves in Christ alone!