Saturday, November 08, 2014
Blessed Are They That Mourn
By Rick Blumenberg / @RickBlumenberg
Whatever you do, don't tell people who are bereaved and heartbroken not to mourn. I have heard such statements at the death of a saint, and although I know they were well intentioned, such admonitions are neither helpful nor wise.
In that awesome address we call the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus told us about nine blessings from God that are amazingly helpful in the process of living well in our time world. One that is often misunderstood is when he said, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
I think he meant that mourning is God's method of sharing his comfort when we suffer loss. In the event of a great loss such as the death of a loved one the grief often comes back over and over again, especially in the time closely following. Try to realize that grief is God's way of helping us and loving us and leading us through a horribly difficult time. Accept the grief as a blessing from God and a reviver of good memories of the past.
Don’t misunderstand and think Jesus meant that the loss we suffered was the blessing. When Jesus stood at the graveside of his friend Lazarus, the Bible tells us “Jesus wept.” Jesus knew he planned to resurrect Lazarus and that it would bring glory to God, so why would he weep? Wouldn’t it be more logical that he would rejoice at what was about to happen?
Perhaps he wept for the pain Lazarus’ friends and family were experiencing. Perhaps he wept because he knew the temporariness of life and all things earthly in our time world would often bring loss, and the death of a loved one would bring excruciating loss that would stay with us for a lifetime.
We need to understand that even with the anticipation of a reunion in heaven there is still the loss of an irreplaceable earthly relationship. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows full well this is true. Even if the death was “timely” as with a very elderly person who is ill and ready for heaven such a loss is still great and should be properly mourned. Jesus was teaching us that as we mourn such a loss, we then experience God’s loving comfort.
Part of preparing to grieve our losses is to recognize we all are temporary. Most children and youth do not believe that, but at some point in life, we are shocked to realize that someday we will all die and the world will go on without us. This can cause great pain, even agony, for some people and we often try to run from it. Humanity has always sought the “fountain of youth” and it grieves us when we finally learn it is only a fairy tale, not only for all humanity, but for each of us, personally. For a healthy view of life, we must grieve our own mortality so we can move on and enjoy the life we still have. Otherwise, we will spend those last years running from the inevitable instead of living the abundant life while we can.
God blessed us when he gave us the ability to mourn and, as a result, be comforted in our losses. Grief is one of God's healing methods for which we should be thankful and of which we should make good use of rather than reject. The person who refuses to mourn—for whatever reason—will only find grief turning inward and often doing physical and emotional damage.
Grief is not the enemy. It is God's blessing and should be embraced. Grief is the path to God’s loving comfort.
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.