||The Comfort In Mourning
You could almost hear a pin drop as fans across America were holding their breath during the final seconds of Super Bowl LII. Many Patriots fans may have declared today, Monday, as a day of mourning. Tom Brady summed it up this way in a post-game interview, "You try to win, sometimes you lose, that's the way it goes." Of course, the kind of mourning that brings comfort has nothing to do with football. It was Jesus who said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4)
The kind of mourning that is blessed, the kind of mourning that brings comfort, is the mourning that we have over our sin. If the Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags, we can only imagine what our sin looks like to a holy God. Without a doubt, with each passing generation, people develop a softer look on sin. James 4:9 warns us to "be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." If we are going to understand what mourning looks like, we need to discern between three specific words.
REGRET. This is the stuff that we're sorry about. It may be something that we wish we didn't say or something we regret doing. The attitude behind regret is more or less, "I would do that differently if I could do it over again
REMORSE. While regret is primarily in the mind, remorse comes from the heart. A remorseful person feels sick about the consequences of their action, but not necessarily the sin itself. Their flesh may love the sin, but they hate themselves for doing it.
REPENTANCE. True mourning leads to repentance. Repentant people are serious about changing course. Repentance is always two-fold: to change from something to something. If I mourn over my sin, it leads me to repentance; it leads me to want to hate the things that God hates. If it grieves God, it ought to grieve me. There are three great biblical examples of godly sorrow:
- Nehemiah 8:9-10. The joy of the Lord became their strength only after they dealt with the conviction that came from God's Word. The joy of the Lord as their strength is equivalent to "blessed are they that mourn" (Matthew 5:4)
- Luke 15:18-19. The prodigal son confessed his sin and experienced godly sorrow that ultimately produced comfort.
- Psalm 51:1-12. David's sin with Bathsheba greatly affected his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state. We see his godly sorrow produced comfort.
Just as David prayed in Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Are you willing to ask God to do that for you? Are you ready to look at your sin the way God sees your sin? Are you willing to rise up beyond regret and remorse, and have an attitude of repentance? It is the only way that mourning will bring comfort!