The Pathway to Joy
I once served in a little country church where it was common to “bless” those who were hurting, or failing. If someone messed up they were more likely to hear, “Bless your heart, honey” than to be criticized publicly. Don’t misunderstand. People still succumbed to the temptation of gossip, and on occasion those who suffered were neglected. Yet, there was an assumption that painful seasons were temporary and with God’s help and the support of His people, even the most unwanted experiences could be redeemed for good.
Still, the notion that someone who mourns should perceive the experience as a blessing sounds absurd. When we mourn over the loss of a loved one our hearts ache. Comfort comes through the loving words and actions of others, but it is hard to imagine any blessings we might receive could possibly make up for what we no longer have.
Sorrow over sin isn’t much different. Yes, we appreciate the assurance from others that better days are ahead, but given the choice we would rather turn back the clock to rewrite our story. Blessing we are offered in the process of healing still doesn’t hide the fact it would have been better not to have sinned at all.
But we must remember the beatitudes are not as much about our circumstances as they are about how we respond to them. We can’t change the past, but we can forge a different future. At this juncture the act of mourning prepares us for a blessing and to be a blessing.