Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Too Distracted to Mourn

{Matthew 5:4; ESV}
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I think many Americans live in a fantasy world. Because we have enjoyed such a high standard of living in the United States we have been able to be free from many of the world’s troubles. We don’t know what it is like to live in extreme poverty and to hungry most of the time.

Not only are we insulated from many of the harsh realities that many other people deal with on a constant basis, many of us are consumed with another life. Not the true eternal life that we receive from Jesus, but the fantasy life of sports, TV shows, video games, and even politics. These things blind us from the reality of the world around us and therefore we are clueless about what life in a fallen sinful world is really like.

I am currently doing a sermon series through the Sermon on the Mount. Last week I preached part 1 on the beatitudes, a sermon I entitled “Proper Citizens” as we looked at the 8 virtues that need to be present in the life of a citizen of God’s Kingdom.

Right now I am in the process of preparing for part 2, a sermon I have entitled “Kingdom Blessings” as we will look at the eight blessings promised to the citizens of Heaven. As I was doing my study today I read this passage from Leon Morris’ commentary on Matthew:
Perhaps we should bear in mind that typically the worldly take a lighthearted attitude to the serious issues of life, a fact that is very evident in our pleasure-loving generation. In there seeking after self-gratification and pleasure they do not grieve over sin or evil. Because they do not grieve over what is wrong in themselves, they do not repent; and because they do not grieve over the wrong they share with others in the communities in which they live, they take few steps to set things right. (The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to Matthew; p. 97)

It is so easy to allow these pleasures to consume our lives and to distract us from the reality of life, and in the end we are not people who are mourning over the sin in our lives, the sin in our communities, or the evil that is rampant in the world. We push from our minds the images of starving children, the disfigured bodies of those people in war zones, or the faces of drug addicts right around the corner. As a result we are not crying out to God in repentance for mercy, healing, and help. We are doing nothing except sitting on the couch catching the next episode of American Idol and talking about who is going to win The Super Bowl.

If we are going to be people who are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven then we need to be people who mourn, who cry over the sin and evil this world. This isn’t about being sad and depressed all the time, rather it is about living a life of repentance and joining God in bringing His Kingdom rule into this world. It is about taking time to pray about the issues that are on your heart, it is about being generous with the blessings God has given to you, and it is about becoming active in this world.

We live in a world that is messed up and where a lot of people are hurting. We may not be able to change the world, but we can do something that will bring a little light and love into the life of another person. May we be people who mourn over the broken nature of this world and who are confident that one day God will make everything right.

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