This is a previous article I wrote about a year ago. I thought it worth sharing again. I do understand, and want everyone else to understand that the Beatitudes are not about marriage. I do believe we can apply some principles to marriage though. Let me know your thoughts with comments below.
Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4, HCSB
In the last blog I was showing how the first beatitude is important for marriage because it is the realization that we are all in the same boat: spiritually bankrupt. That is the case with you and the case with your husband or with your wife. We are made in the image of God and yet we are all marred. We are all sinners and so we sin. The absolute logical conclusion then is that our spouses will at some point in time sin against us, and we will sin against them.
This week we hit the second beatitude. Jesus said that those who mourn are happy. He didn’t say that they will be blessed later, but that they are blessed at this moment. At best that’s paradoxical. Yet here is the crux of the matter: our mourning is over our own sin. Remember what the David wrote in Psalm 51?
“Against You–You alone–I have sinned
and done this evil in Your sight.
So You are right when You passed sentence;
you are blameless when You judge.
Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.”
Psalm 51:4-5, HCSB
This is a man who is mourning over his own sin. King David had lusted after a woman, committed adultery with her, had her husband killed after finding out she was pregnant, and then married her, hoping no one would figure it out. When the prophet Nathan confronted him, David was faced with how awful his sin really was. He immediately repented (turned away from his sins and turned toward God and holiness).
Perhaps you have not committed adultery or murdered anyone, but your sin against your spouse (whether losing your temper unjustly or watching porn or squirming your way out of doing the dishes on your night) has been against a holy God as well. Just because you or I do not consider the sin to be that serious, does not mean that God doesn’t. It is He who has legislated the law, and it is He who executes the law, and it is He who judges when the law has been broken. Any breaking of the law is “a big deal” with God. It may also be a bigger deal to your spouse than you realize.
It is time to take a deeper look at your actions and your motives. Have you acted justly and purely? Have you treated your spouse fairly and lovingly or with respect? If not, (and I would say we all have to say no at some point), then you need to repent. There needs to be a period of mourning. Yes, mourning. Imagine how you would feel if you accidentally hurt your spouse physically, so badly that it landed them in the hospital. Would you feel horrified and guilty? Would you tell them that you are sorry for their pain and their being laid up in the hospital for a few days? There are sins against your spouse that you may have committed that have actually wounded them deeply, wounded them to the core. Like a trouper they won’t let you know, but the pain is there. It’s time to mourn and repent.
John MacArthur wrote:
There are. . .legitimate sorrows that are common to all mankind and for which reasonable mourning is appropriate. To express these sorrows and to cry over them opens an escape valve that keeps our feelings from festering and poisoning our emotions and our whole life. It provides the way for healing, just as washing out a wound helps prevent infection (John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 1-7; Moody Press, p. 155.).
Granted, Dr. MacArthur rightly pointed out that this type of mourning was not what Jesus was referring to, the same result will happen, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. As he continued:
Godly mourning brings God’s forgiveness, which brings God’s happiness. Mourning is not merely a psychological or emotional experience that makes people feel better. It is a communion with the living, loving God who responds to the mourner with an objective reality–the reality of divine forgiveness, (ibid, p. 158).
To live in a state of mourning actually brings blessings. By being in a state of mourning, I simply mean that the moment you realize you are in sin let the pain of such a reality bring you repentance. Repent to your spouse and repent to God. Seek after your spouses forgiveness immediately. Don’t think that it will pass by and nothing will come of it. Sin always has a consequence. Deal with it the moment you know you are in sin.
Recently, I snapped at my wife. My mind was focused on something I considered important and she was asking me if I was going to take our son to his class. I snapped that I was. My tone was harsh. As I was dropping off my son, my mind recounted the very short conversation. I had to repent. I had to apologize. I immediately called her and did so. This allows healing to happen sooner than later. It begins healing the spouses heart, your own heart, and the relationship. No wonder those who mourn are blessed. They receive comfort of knowing they are forgiven!
Just a quick note about that forgiveness. We are commanded to forgive. That’s easier said than done. That doesn’t mean that we can skip this part of marriage. Remember what Paul wrote: “[Love] does not keep a record of wrongs,” (1 Corinthians 13:5d, HCSB). If you love, you must forgive. Reconciliation can come later. The rebuilding of trust takes time, but forgiveness must come quickly. I once heard some great advice, though I cannot recall who said it. It is often said that the key to a good marriage is communication, but that’s not true. The key to a good marriage is forgiveness. Let us mourn our sins, but let us forgive the sins of our spouses.