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Christian Union: The Magazine
June 26, 2024

Grieving with the God of All Comfort 

by Christian union america

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." —Matthew 5:4

Did you know that mourning over sin is an important aspect of prayer for revival? 

As Christians with a healthy heart and mind, grieving over the destruction that sin causes in our own lives, in the lives of others, and in the land we live is a natural response. Consider this idea from the Bible:

Jesus’ second beatitude promises blessing and comfort to those who mourn. In a narrow and natural sense, this beatitude applies to those who go through the heartache of trial and loss. But most commentators believe that there is a larger, spiritual application in Jesus’ words that centers on mourning over sin. Most often, this verse is applied to mourning over one's own individual sin. Yes, we should sincerely repent over our own sin; however, we need not stop at the personal level. There is also a corporate dimension to repentance, prayer, and blessing. If, together, we allow ourselves to feel what God feels- to allow God to give us a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone- and mourn over the sins of our families, our churches, our communities, and/or our nation, Scripture illustrates that God’s blessing of comfort and healing can flow into these areas as well.

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Think of Biblical examples that emphasize the importance of corporate mourning for sin and God’s subsequent blessing. James chapter 4 shows us the power and need of corporate repentance for the blessing of God. That church was full of quarrels, covetousness, hatred, and prayerlessness (James 4:1-3). Their biggest problem was with God; they were making themselves enemies against Him (James 4:4). 

James exhorts the believers to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

Part of James’ prescription for this spiritual renewal is to grieve over their sin: “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9). That does not sound like a nice, encouraging word. Who wants to heed that advice or preach that sermon? But sometimes we need to accept a truth that, in our flesh, we really don’t like, so that we can receive a cure that we desperately need. If, together, they would be willing to rend their hearts and humble themselves and mourn for sin, God makes a bold promise to exalt them (James 4:10). 

God exalted Nehemiah, his people, and the city of Jerusalem, after Nehemiah spent four months mourning over the sins of his people (Nehemiah 1:1–2:1). God answered Daniel with angelic appearance and incredible revelation after Daniel grieved over the sins of his nation (Daniel 9:3-19). The Lord will be faithful to us as well, and bring blessing and comfort to us corporately after we sincerely lament the sins of the church in our day and age.

Dear Father, we live in an age of instant gratification, self-focus, and shallow connections. In many ways, we wish that we did not need to take time to deeply feel things or to process them as you intend-- instead, we wish we didn't need to feel anything painful. We wish we didn't need to mourn, weep, or grieve. But we will not pretend any longer. We will not keep on pretending that following our own way or the world's way is working. We will not double-down on our own destruction out of a spirit of control or pride. We will turn away from our own ways and turn to you. We will stop pretending things are fine when they are not, whether in our own lives or in the Church. In many ways, the Church in America has distorted the truth of human purpose by loving "self" and the world equal to or more than You. Help the Body of Christ have eyes to see and to turn away from the idols that lead us to forsake you and our inheritance in you. Help us to understand our true identity in You and return to You wholeheartedly. Lord Jesus, help us to hear the words that you spoke to Peter, "... I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32). Restore in us love and purpose, again, for the benefit of those around us and for Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.