As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.
I recently read about a little girl afflicted with the disease “anhidrosis”. It is a rare genetic disorder that renders her unable to feel pain. Her life is daily threatened as she would not feel the pain of her hand on a hot stove, the pain of a broken arm, or the pain of her body overheating.
There are people afflicted with “spiritual anhidrosis”, a condition which renders them unable to feel any pain or grief for their sin. The Apostle Paul writes of people who have spiritual anhidrosis as “having lost all sensitivity” (Ephesians 4:19). They feel little or no remorse for not loving God with their whole heart, or loving their neighbors as themselves. They continue on in their sin but feel little or no pain. This is a condition, if not remedied, that will result in spiritual death.
Father Damien, or Saint Damien of Molokai, is revered for his ministry to the lepers of Hawaii. One day as he was preparing to bathe, he inadvertently put his feet into scalding water, causing his skin to blister. But strangely he felt no pain from his burn. It was only then he realized that he had contracted the dreaded leprosy.
Jesus speaks of the blessedness of feeling pain for what sin does to God, others, and ourselves. This sensitivity to sin is a barometer of spiritual health and vitality. It is in mourning our sin that we will experience the comfort of grace and God’s full forgiveness.
Notice the present tense verb in this beatitude. Jesus blesses those “who mourn” sin in the present. This will be a constant in the life of any who follow Jesus: we mourn sin.
It is undeniable that sin will bring mourning to everyone. It is only a question of whether the mourning comes now or later. Thank God if you are mourning sin now.
PONDER AND PRAY
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”—Psalm 51:17
- What is your pain threshold, that is, how well do you tolerate sin in your life?
- When was the last time you were heartbroken for having sinned against God or others?
- Ask God for sensitivity to sin that stabs at the heart of God.