This is the second post on my thoughts from The Beatitudes as I continue to learn what it means to have a kingdom-shaped identity. You can see the first post here.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” ~Matthew 5:4
Tears wash away the veneer that protects the entrance to the heart. I spend a good deal of energy protecting others from my tears. I don’t want them to know what has brought me pain. Even more true, if my pain came by way of them. Tears are just the heart’s way of saying something or someone got to it. Something bigger or stronger paid no attention to its walls of protection.
Mourning and vulnerability go hand in hand. The strong resist the mourning, or at least that’s what we convince ourselves of when we succumb to the effects of loss. “A stronger person wouldn’t be so broken by this!” In truth, many of us spend a good deal of energy protecting ourselves from the pain of life. Mourning is for the weak, for those who are powerless to protect themselves. If they don’t see us cry, they won’t know they hurt us. They won’t know there are cracks in the wall where we can be overtaken.
So when pain finds us, and it finds all of us, we hide. Some hide behind jokes. Others behind critiques and judgments. Or anger. Still others hide behind the Don Draper motto of “this never happened.”
Oh so confusedly human of us to both hide from the things that hurt us as well as from the truth and honesty that can help us.
Into this need for self-protection come the words of Jesus, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” If I listen carefully to this beatitude I hear courage to accept the vulnerable places.
Blessed is the young disciple John who stood at the cross mourning the loss of his Friend, Jesus. The others ran and hid. Or stood and denied. Only John, and the women, risked the vulnerability to stand openly before the cross and embrace its grief as their own.
The kingdom Jesus had earlier preached on a serene mountain-top surrounded by friends comes into clear focus at Golgotha. In this kingdom, you will lose much. You will mourn the loss of friends and your accustomed way of living. You will mourn the loss of your reputation. Yet you will also for the first time mourn the loss of the pure image of God in you—you will see how at a loss you’ve been. In the kingdom of God you will mourn that you have been lost and be comforted that in the vulnerable, weak, and exposed pain of life—Someone has found you.
It’s the way of the kingdom’s King: “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrow He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” Isaiah 53:3-5.
Do not think yourself strong if you resist the mourning. The tears don’t make us weak or fragile; they make us real. Please don’t judge me for my tears, only pity me if you find me crying over the wrong things.
Do you find mourning hard to do because of how it makes you feel about yourself? Focus on your Comforter. Do you find yourself chasing pleasure to avoid pain? Today I am embracing the pain because with it comes the promise of a Comforter. You?
“You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in your book?” ~Psalm 56:8