- What person makes you laugh, makes you cry?
- What memory makes you laugh, makes you cry?
- What movie makes you laugh, makes you cry?
- What song makes you laugh, makes you cry?
We would all rather laugh than cry. We would all rather be happy than sad. When you’re sad, you cry and want those feelings to go away. Sadness can lead to anger, depression, sickness, and death. No one wants to be sad.
Families experience sadness. Couples disappoint each other and anger flares, words are said, and feelings are hurt. It can be a real struggle to be a parent to children and especially teenagers. And what about children and teenagers being restricted by parents that just don’t understand. Many families struggle with the pain of divorce. And the sudden death or prolonged illness of a family member can be so devastating that the sadness seems to never end. But Jesus gives a blessing to those who have sadness in their life.
“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
The Greek word that Jesus used is the strongest of the nine available words for grief. It is the mourning over someone who has died – a deep, inner agony you cannot hide.
So Jesus is telling our family – if you mourn, you are blessed. We need to have a different perspective of sadness. Let’s look at it from Jesus’ viewpoint.
- God cares about our sorrow.
- Sorrow is okay. God created us with the capacity to cry. Our tears are often an expression of love for others.
What about sorrow over sin?
On the surface, this simply looks like Jesus is pronouncing a blessing on those who have sorrow. But the kind of mourning Jesus wants us first to experience is sorrow over sin. Just as the first beatitude gave a blessing on those poor in spirit, this promises a blessing on those who mourn in spirit.
Mourning is an emotional reaction to the first beatitude. When a person sees his spiritual poverty, he can react in one of four ways: (1) deny it, (2) admit it and try to change, (3) admit it and give up, or (4) admit it and turn to God.
Many people know they are sinners, but never mourn over the fact. When a person mourns over their sin, and comes to God in repentance, they are comforted. Their sins are forgiven and given power to overcome sin. They eventually the live in Heaven where there will be no sin. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
Have you mourned over your sin and begged God to forgive you? God wants to forgive you more than you want to ask for it. You’re not waiting on God. He’s waiting on you.
The only way to happiness in your family is to mourn over your sin.
The wages of sin is death. When sin comes in a family it will destroy a family. Rather than deny our sin, or try to fix our sin, we should recognize, admit, and mourn over our sin. Only then will we begin the process of having a happy family again.
Remorse is not the same as repentance.
There is a sorrow that doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s called remorse. It is a sorrow that we got caught. It is a sorrow that we did something wrong and suffer the consequences of our actions. It is a sorrow for the pain we have caused our self and others. It is a sorrow that we wish we hadn’t done wrong. Remorse is the beginning step but it is not enough. Paul tells us that there is a ‘worldly’ sorrow and a ‘godly’ sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow is repentance. Repentance is a turning from our sin. Remorse is managing consequences – Repentance is turning away from our behavior or sin and changing. Repentance is a sorrow toward God because of our sin. Remorse is important, but repentance is needed. Repentance takes it to God and seeks a change of heart.
Learn to forgive and let go.
The person who forgives is always the first to be blessed. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person – it’s about you. It is a gift you give yourself. Sometimes we forgive not because we are wrong, but because staying angry robs us of happiness. Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. It’s hard to forgive? The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. To err is human to forgive divine. “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.”
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did was okay, or you have to pretend it doesn’t hurt, or we have to trust them again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you excuse the crime. It just means you’re no longer willing to be the victim.
I don’t know any greater sorrow than the loss of a son. I don’t know any anger than for someone to take the life of your child. But how do you find happiness again?
A Minneapolis mother, Mary Johnson, whose son was murdered, now lives next door to — and is friends with — her son’s murderer. As a devout Christian, she decided to forgive her son’s killer. “Unforgiveness is like cancer. It will eat you from the inside out. It’s not about the other person. The forgiveness is for me.” The video on YouTube has been seen by nearly ¼ million people. One person’s comment was this: “I’m an atheist but to me this is the single most powerful effect of Christianity. Jesus is a good man indeed.”