OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            We live in a nation that tends to frown upon crying.  Children are taught not to cry when they get hurt.  When death passes through a family, most will only cry for a day or two.  If one of our political leaders is caught crying, he is said to have some type of emotional problem.

            Sadly, this cultural trend against crying has been carried into the spiritual realm as well.  Individuals sin against the God of heaven and there is little, or no, remorse.  Individuals can grossly sin against their heavenly Father, and there is still no grief exhibited.  This stoniness will never lead to a blessed life.

            In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:  “Blessed are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).  The word “mourn” means “to cry,” yea, “to weep audibly.”  The picture is of one who is deeply remorseful before God.  The individual weeps uncontrollably because he understands his deplorable, sinful condition before God.  James echoes the words of the Savior in his short epistle.  “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep:  let you laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness” (James 4:10).

            We find examples of mourning in at least two Bible characters.  One of them was King David.  David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and, then, engaged in a wicked cover-up that led to the murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband.  When David’s sin was exposed by Nathan, David’s heart broke.  His mourning is put in words in Psalm 51.  He opens with these words:  “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness:  according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (Ps. 51:1).  In verse 8, we learn that he was in grief for he asks for joy.  “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.”  In verse 12, he expresses a similar desire.  “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation…”  David’s heart ached over his iniquities.  Sorrow filled his soul because of the evils he had committed.  He yearned to be cleansed.  “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51:2).

            Another example of a grief smitten sinner is found in Simon Peter.  Peter wanted to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  He seemed always to say the right things, but when tested at Jesus’ arrest, he fell short.  Three times he denied his Master.  The third denial is recorded with these words:  “Then began he to curse and swear saying, I know not the man” (Matt. 26:74).  His sin was immediately exposed.  The cock crew, and he remembered the words of Jesus (Matt. 26:74-75).  He also felt the penetrating gaze of Jesus after the words of denial passed from his lips (Luke 22:61).  Peter’s heart was shattered.  “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).

            For the human heart to reach the point of mourning over sin, it has to realize the enormity of the transgressions that have been committed by the sinner.  These things involve the transgression of divine law, but they involve more than that.  They display a lack of love for God, but they involve more than that.  They express an exaltation of self over God, but they involve more than that.  They involve crimes that put the Son of God upon the cross of Calvary.  “For he hath made him to be sin for us…” (II Cor. 5:21).  “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…” (I Pet. 2:24).  “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under food the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29).  The sinner must realize that his sins caused Jesus to suffer.  His unrighteousness caused Jesus to shed His blood.  His transgressions led to His death.  Yes, an innocent man, the Son of God, lost His life because of him.

            A good and honest heart will mourn once that realization sinks in.  Those who weep audibly have a promise given unto them:  “…they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).  God’s great love, abundant mercy, extreme kindness, and amazing grace will remove the sin and bring comfort to the soul.  How?  The man who mourns will move to seek the conditions of the Father’s forgiveness.  Once those conditions are met, he will be cleansed of sin and will stand justified before God.  He will be reconciled to the heavenly Father.  The wrath of God will be assuaged.  Grace will abound.  Hope will be provided.  The individual can rejoice that he is right with God.

            David said:  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:  a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).  Those who possess such a heart can be delivered from bloodguiltiness, and their tongues can sing aloud of the wonderful righteousness of God (Ps. 51:14).  “Bless are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).