Lesson 2 – Blessed are Those Who Mourn

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

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


The philosophers of the world do not always agree with the teachings of Jesus about how to be happy.  It is generally unacceptable to think that people can be happy and mourn at the same time.  These paradoxical teachings of Jesus are challenges to a Christian’s faith.

There are three “points of faith” we will want to keep in mind as we study these attitudes in Matthew 5:3-12.  First, it was through, or by, Jesus Christ we were created (Col. 1:15-20).  Therefore, He understands the purpose for our creation and the design of our inner/outer person (Matt. 6:30; John 2:24).  Secondly, our happiness depends upon the healthiness of our personality (Col. 3:12-14).  Our personality components include our emotional attitudes.  Thirdly, these attitudes Jesus taught are the laws of God governing the spiritual part of mankind (John 14:6, 7).  God has developed laws of nature to govern the physical part of man and other created things.  Great universities exist for learning the laws of nature.  Atheists often give more detailed attention and have more respect for God’s laws of nature than theists do for Jesus’ laws of life (Luke 16:8).

When we have been convinced of these three things and decide to have faith in them, we will not disagree with the teachings of Jesus after we have given them the “experimental faith” test.  We will want to try them.  Of course, we will have the happiness and rewards promised by Jesus.  We also need to understand how other attitudes, such as fear and anger, detract from a happy life.   We really don’t have a choice if we want to be happy.


After we are convinced we need to develop the attitude of a mourner to be happy, the next question is for what, or whom, should we mourn?  Jesus is our example:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.  Matt. 23:37 

Jesus mourned for the condition of the people in Jerusalem.  We need to focus on the phrase, “I have longed,” in order to understand the definition of the word “mourn” in our text.  It is a concern for the condition of humanity.  This is not something one can just decide to be.  We cannot merely say, “now that I know I should, I will be a mourner.”  How then does one enter into the spiritual growth process of becoming a Christian who mourns for the condition of mankind?  We begin by doing a study of Jesus Christ.

Jesus mourned for people who had an “inner personal problem.”  It is not to say He wasn’t concerned about the physical condition of people.  He often relieved people of their physical stresses.  However, He did not mourn about people with that kind of dilemma.  In fact, He said the poor will always be with us (John 12:8).  He could have fed them all and healed all their physical illnesses; however, this would not have made them happy.  He did help some people out of compassion but He would hastily move on to fix what His emotional attitude of a mourner moved Him to do.  His emotion of a mourner drove Him to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  He came to do the will of His Father.  His Father also has the emotion of a mourner.  Because God had this attitude, He sent Jesus to do what He could for mankind’s spiritual recovery from sin and death.

Christians too can learn to mourn; that is, be concerned about those who are unlovable, unhappy, lonely, unhealthy, unlearned, hungry, ignorant, lost in sin, widowed and orphaned.  The question is, “Does Jesus really mean for us to contribute our time and energy for sharing the burdens of other people?”  Would this not cause us more unhappiness than we already have as a non-mourner?

Some have said, “By doing good to others we take our minds off of our own problems.”  They mean to say: “This is the way we are comforted.”  There is probably some truth in this; however, it is not a permanent solution for our need to be comforted.  If we undertake the sharing of the problems of others without possessing a solution for our own challenges, then, very likely, the results will be frustration and unhappiness for all concerned.  Consequently, we must have been comforted in the time of our tribulations in order to have the attitude of a happy mourner.  In fact, Jesus said a mourner is comforted.  These are not a one-time happening.  The mourning and being comforted is a cyclic continuum.  An unhappy mourner without comfort would not be of much value to people in spiritual trouble.  It is as the Apostle Paul said, “If it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”  Rom. 12:8.

Christians do have the answers and personal strength to overcome our own tribulations and still have enough left over to help others.  Please note that Jesus was talking about how to solve deep-seated unhealthy emotional attitude problems – attitudes that miss the mark which is sin.  Christians need to be capable of offering more than good advice or quick fixes from the food pantry.  We must be people who mourn for the condition of the people in Satan’s dark lost world (Eph. 2:1-3).

Where then does this emotion have its beginning in the personality?  We are not born with it; however, it can begin to develop very early in one’s life.  What child does not have sympathy for others, and a lot of it, at a very early age?  If this innate characteristic is allowed to be expressed by the child the emotional attitude of a mourner may develop as their decision making characteristics mature.  The emotion of a mourner is not an innate characteristic but sympathy appears to be an inherent urge.  The urge to sympathize may be a component of our inherent need for friends.

The parent of the child and the society by which the child is conditioned, inadvertently, in many cases seek to “throttle down” the expression of children’s sympathizing urges.  They may do this by shielding them from being aware of people who need help.  They develop an unrealistic environment of “no problems.”  Adults are prone to foster scenarios like, “look, no one is crying so we must be happy.”  The problem is they may have suppressed their sympathy urges.  Children do see the sadness in others and they want to help.  Let them!  Children are idealistic.  Their parents are their first ideal role models.  Parents need to express their urge to sympathize for the sake of their children.  This can become the seedbed for the attitude of a mourner.  It will, in turn, promote the behavior of love (agape).

How many times do young children hear someone tell them, “Now, now, don’t cry.”  Or perhaps, the father, in an effort to save his son from being laughed at by his peers, may be heard to say, “You know, big boys don’t cry.”  The intentions may be good but the results are devastating.  By the time these children mature in mind, heart and conscience the expression of this beautiful innate human characteristic of sympathy may have been withheld so many times, it can no longer be expressed.  When it is expressed it is often viewed as a sign of weakness rather than the strength of their personality.

Is it proper to express one’s sympathy feelings?  Some would say, “Well yes, but don’t go around crying in public.  You will embarrass us all.”  Jesus did not inhibit His feelings of sympathy and He didn’t hide His tears when His feelings of sympathy surfaced (John 11:35).  This is where the mourner emotion has its beginning.  A person needs to let the expression of sympathy develop.  It is a behavior that can become the “want to” in a healthy habit.  A healthy habit includes three segments: What to do, how to do and want to do.   As this person matures in their decision and judgment capabilities, they will have the emotional attitude of one who mourns for specific cases where people have been hurt.  When it becomes a part of their personality, this emotion will generalize to include the whole world – like Jesus did.

Of course, a Christian would have mourned for their own sinful condition when they first felt the guilt for their own sins.  They would have been comforted in their new birth.  They would have continued to be comforted in their justification by faith.  They enjoy peace with God, themselves and mankind.  They have been comforted because of the sufferings of others on their behalf; therefore, they are happy to suffer for the salvation and comfort of the people in the same condition over which Jesus wept (II Cor. 1:3-7).  They are happy mourners.

The “poor in spirit” attitude has its root in experimental faith.  People see the vision of a better life through the door of faith and they experiment with their faith in the teachings of Jesus.  It works because Jesus said it would.  The attitude of mourning for the spiritual condition of others is based on love (agape).  Christians have faith in God and Jesus Christ.  Christians love God and Jesus Christ.  Our faith and love is the seedbed for our healthy emotional attitudes Jesus taught in His great sermon.  As our faith and love grows our healthy emotional attitudes will be strengthened.  The result is a happy Christian.

Christian leaders and preachers often use authority or logic to settle religious matters.  In most cases the disagreements remain unsettled.  Jesus generally used the method of pragmatism.  For example, “Thus by their fruits you will recognize them.”  Matt. 7:20.

How then do Christians who have developed the attitude of mourners receive comfort?  Let us first consider the physical problems of a Christian.  All physical problems are considered by God to be tribulations and not really problems for His children (Heb. 12:5-13).  We may want to read the instructions of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Rome on how to view tribulations (Romans 5:3-5).  Paul’s thinking, which was guided by the Holy Spirit, was that we rejoice because of tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and steadfastness, resulting in proven character.  Character developed like Jesus gives us a hope that we too can join God in eternity as His children.  This hope will never disappoint us because God’s love is in our hearts.

Now let us consider our spiritual problem.  Really, Christians do not have spiritual problems in Christ Jesus.  He has solved all of our otherwise unsolvable problems in God’s kingdom.  We need only to accept by faith all of the blessings God has for us through Christ and develop our personality into His own likeness.  The good news (gospel) of the kingdom of God is our answer to all people who have spiritual and personality problems.

We can be a happy mourner because we are not only concerned about the problems of others; we actually have solutions to offer them in the name of Jesus Christ.  We will consider the emotional attitude of mercy later in this series as it harmonizes with the attitude of mourning for others.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are the three “points of faith” Christians need to keep in mind as we study the attitudes of a happy person?
  2. Define the word mourn.
  3. Who is our example of a mourner?
  4. For whom shall we mourn?  Make a list.
  5. Why is it possible for Christians to be happy mourners and bear up under the load of other peoples’ problems?
  6. Name the inherent urge that needs to be considered in order to develop the attitude of a mourner.
  7. How do parents sometime cause their children to fail to be mourners for other people?
  8. Name the doctrine that continually gives Christians comfort in regard to our own spiritual weaknesses.
  9. Did Jesus promise Christians we would not have trials if we are happy mourners?
  10. Why can we say Christians do not have spiritual problems?


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