Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted– Matthew 5:4

Jesus is clearly not speaking here of every kind of mourning, some of which is due to the natural consequences of sinful living in a sinful world. Rather, he speaks of those who mourn for their sins, in repentance, recognizing their wickedness before a holy and good God.

It is the “broken and contrite heart” that God will not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Remember the tax collector in Jesus’ parable? (Luke 18:9-14). He could not even look up to heaven, the burden of his own sin and guilt weighed so heavily on him. He smote his own breast and cried “God be merciful to me, the sinner.” This man, Jesus said, went to his home justified before God.

True, spiritual grief is God—not man—centered. People often “mourn” for their mistakes, but only because they are caught in a crime, or suffer themselves, or see loved ones suffer. But all sin (not just “big” sins) should cause the penitent heart to mourn, knowing that it grieves and dishonors God.

True spiritual mourning also leads to true spiritual repentance, a turning away from the old way of life and to the way of Christ (2 Corinthians 7:10). Mourning that is only outward and temporary will not be comforted.

But how will those who truly mourn for sin be comforted? How will they be consoled when they are mourning because of real sin, real burdens, and real repentance? They will be comforted because, through Christ, the source of their grief will be removed.

In Christ, they find forgiveness, healing, and the power to overcome sin. Ultimately, they will be comforted when they are removed from even the very presence of sin, in heaven. Blessed they are, indeed, who mourn for their sin.