Blessed are those who mourn

In Matthew 5:4 we read,

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

It’s a confusing verse. Happy are the unhappy?

Sometimes the meaning of this passage is reversed. We are taught, “Blessed are the comforted, for they will not have to mourn.” !!!

After intensive study of this verse, I feel more freedom to grieve. In particular, the limitations of our lives (especially death), the world’s sin, and my own sin.

It would be nice to take a Stoic attitude to these issues. Ignore the problems and numb myself with a TV show! (I’m not entirely opposed to this). But often my inner world is in turmoil with all the good that is destroyed by sin and death. Jesus says that we are blessed when we mourn.

I believe this ongoing grief about the state of our hearts, and world, is part of how God purifies us to love him and practice life in the kingdom.


What is your faith?


Hey @esther1, I’d need a bit more context to answer your question.

I think it shows faith to mourn our sin and the sin of the world. How can we rejoice in sin?

In part, by lamenting what’s wrong, we savor and celebrate the work that God is doing.


The freedom to grieve is something that has been so important to me.

I remember reading Soong-Chan Rah’s commentary on Lamentations, Prophetic Lament, and just feeling so seen by what he shared. Within liturgical traditions, the majority of Psalms omitted from worship were laments. While within the Presbyterian and Baptist Hymnals only 13% of the hymns were laments - compared to lament comprising 40% of the Psalms. For contemporary music it was even worse, with only 5 of the top 100 songs being laments (all of this is on p. 22 of his book).

In my experience, and that of many others I’ve known, this aversion to lament and grief within the church has led to the stifling of suffering voices and caused many to question their faith in times of hurt and hardship. It felt so good to have that acknowledged and pointed out so clearly.

I am so thankful for this beatitude, and for the raw voice of the Psalms and Lamentations that have taught me that it is right and good to bring our pain to God, and that through it all we can trust in His faithfulness, mercy, and compassion to comfort us and bring us hope.

The tenderness of Jesus’s love as he weeps for the death of Lazarus, rather than growing angry at Mary and Martha’s lack of faith, particularly when He knows He is about to bring him back (John 11), is something that never ceases to amaze me.


Very true! That has been my experience as well. In general, I have listened to more sermons on having faith in churches than on coming alongside those who are suffering. Jesus weeping for Lazarus is a wonderful example. Another verse with similar message I came across today is Is 35: 3-4. When we experience support and encouragement through community amidst suffering, its easier to have faith as they serve as tangible evidence of God hearing our cries for help.


In Romeo and Juliet, Lady Capulet tells Juliet that mourning for the dead is good, but too much grief shows “lack of wit” (III.v.73). Lord Capulet then decides that Juliet will marry Paris the next day to distract the Capulets from their grieving. And so ensues Juliets poison plan…

I believe that this verse is saying that you don’t need to pretend you aren’t grieving, you don’t need to distract yourself or ignore the pain in your life. Instead, bring your pain to God and know that he is there. Don’t hide from it, but accept it and bring it to God.