The King’s Speech; Blessed Tears Beatitudes, part 2 of 6
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Upon our first inhalation of air in a fallen world, we exhaled with a cry. When we breathe our last, crying will surround us. And rivers of tears in between – from the scraped knees and scary nights of childhood to the deeper soul wounds of adolescence and darker nights still as we grow old, facing the loss of loved ones as well as our own vitality and strength. The Puritans called our time on this earth a “vale of tears” and such it is until the One Who is with us in the “valley of the shadow of death” opens the way to Paradise where His first act will be to wipe every tear from our eyes. Everytear! O, blessed thought.
Until then, we cry. But not all tears will bring us comfort.
In the natural world, tears function as “cleansers” removing toxins from the body. The proteins found in emotional tears, especially those of grief are hormones that build up to very high levels when the body withstands emotional stress. If the chemicals associated with stress did not discharge at all, they would build up to toxic levels that could weaken the body’s immune system. However, the chemical makeup of tears shed from irritation is different in that they are almost 100% saline and offer no benefit in cleansing of the body.
In Romans 1:20 we read that God’s invisible attributes are seen in nature… thus in tears.
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.
There are nine Greek words in the New Testament for “crying”. The sorrow spoken of in this verse is the strongest. These are not tears shed from the shallows of self-pity or anger or irritation which is worldly sorrow, but ones that flow from the broken up depths of self and from which springs a fountain of gratitude to a just and righteous God Who through the cross of His Son forgives sin. These are tears of godly sorrow; the only means by which God “cleanses us from all unrighteousness”.
“O the blessings, the many blessings of those who mourn” – happy are thosewho have come to understand how much their sin grieves a Holy God and how potent is the cross for pardon. There is no greater comfort, no deeper solace than when tears fall in godly sorrow leading to salvation – salvation from the stranglehold of guilt and shame liberating us to a life ruled by Christ-centered rejoicing rather than self-centered regret.
I keep a plentiful supply of Kleenex for those I counsel. (And for me as often I have wept with those who weep.) They have absorbed many a tear from every kind of emotion but until God grants them tears of godly sorrow (2 Timothy 2:25) – grieving over their offenses toward God more, much more than for those things done to them, seeing their abject need of forgiveness rather than focusing on the wrongs of others, when self-loving becomes self-loathing (Job 42:6), when a victim modality shifts to that of victor through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37), when the light of the gospel clearly shows the broad path of destruction resulting in a literal fleeing to the narrow way (Psalm 1), when there is an acceptance that their past may explain their behavior but it doesn’t excuse it, when I hear those divine echoes of David, “my sin, my transgression, my iniquity” rather than blaming their past or parents (Psalm 32) – when the Holy Spirit through gospel centered counseling has wrung from repentant hearts such tears, I know there is a cleansing work being done, removing the soul’s greatest toxin, that of guilt.
Happy are those who cry. Jonathon Edwards speaks more eloquently on the paradox of the second Beatitude: “Though it be a deep sorrow for sin that God requires as necessary to salvation (and sanctification), yet the very nature of it necessarily implies delight. Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder. ‘Tis impossible to be affected with the mercy and love of God, and his willingness to be merciful to us and love us, and not be affected with pleasure at the thoughts of it; but this is the very affection that begets true repentance. How much so ever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.”
Psalm 56:8 “You have put my tears in your bottle.” While a sympathetic High Priest takes note of all our fitful nights, all our hurts and all of our tears, those shed in repentance are stored very purposefully in His bottle to spill out in blessing upon our lives. And may I add that He also stores tears of grief which will evaporate in light of enveloping and everlasting joy when we are finally Home and “there is no longer any crying.” (Revelation 21:4)
Sweet comfort now and forever.
· Pray for each counselee that God would grant them repentance.
· Make clear the awfulness of sin and the Excellency of Christ to forgive.
· Listen for the language of repentance, primarily that of accepting responsibility for their actions.
· Watch for cultural “band –aids”: “I have a disorder.” Nancy DeMoss once said, “you can’t repent of a disorder but you can repent of sin.” “I came from a dysfunctional family.” We ALL come from dysfunctional families! “I am really struggling.” While there are legitimate struggles in the Christian life, some are really just an excuse for delayed obedience. “I have an issue with anger.”No, you have a sinful response to not getting your way.
· Keep them at the foot of the cross. It is the portal to joy.
Posted on November 12, 2014