Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy are the Unhappy!?!

When we read The Beatitudes, we are surprised at whom Jesus blessed and why. The second Beatitude may be one of those. Here's my paraphrase of it: 
Happy are the unhappy because they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Not that we purposefully want to make ourselves unhappy or mournful so we can receive comfort, but the promise of Jesus is if we find ourselves in that condition, comfort from him is a promise.

How does being unhappy (mournful) help in our spiritual growth? We try to avoid that condition, don't we? How could Jesus put value on us feeling this way?


In my book, A New Way of Living, I point out that mourning is the next step in our path to spiritual wellness because it follows our awareness of our spiritual poverty. Jesus blessed those who were "poor in spirit" and promised them access to his kingdom.

Mourning is evidence of our own confession of spiritual poverty. Take King David's mournful confession recorded in Psalms 51:3-5 after his affair with Bathsheba, for example.
Here's an authentic confession in community about one man's heartfelt need for God and the church in times of loss and need. Watch it here.
Mourning can also express our sadness over the spiritual condition of others. Jesus mourned the spiritual condition of those he came to rescue and was moved to compassion for them. (Matthew 9:36) Genuine remorse and authentic sadness over the reality of sin and it consequences leads to spiritual wellness.

Jesus promised that when we find ourselves in this condition, we will receive comfort. Jesus said he would send "another Comforter" (John 14:16-17), an Advocate (1 John 2:1), to those who trusted him. The Holy Spirit Comforter responds to our confession of spiritual poverty and need for comfort.

What spiritual exercises can maximize this condition and promise? 

I suggest in my book:
Confession in community is God's plan to help us achieve and maintain spiritual wellness. It is the door to God's forgiveness that begins in sorrow, but leads to joy. (103)
When we come to the place to realize our wrong doing and that of others and we confess that to others with whom we share authentic community, Jesus promised we will find comfort from him and others to come alongside us to address those wrongs.

Have you experienced genuine mourning for your spiritual condition and that of others?
Have you had a huge loss that caused you to mourn?
Embrace the promise of Jesus, and continue on the path of spiritual wellness.

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