I remember an incident many years ago when a man in our church fell while taking a shower. As he slipped on the slick floor, he fell against a sheet of glass with all his weight. The splintering glass stabbed deeply into his arm at and around his biceps. Blood spurted all over the bathroom. Paramedics arrived quickly with lights flashing, sirens screaming, and the “squawk box” blaring from within the cab. The man was placed on a stretcher as the family hurriedly raced against time to get him to the emergency ward nearby. Thankfully, his life was saved, and he has fully recovered.
As I spoke with his wife about the ordeal, she told me not one neighbor even looked out his door, not to mention stopped by to see if they needed help. Not one . . . then or later! They showed no compassion by their lack of “mutual mourning.”
How unlike our Savior! We are told, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). True servants are like their Lord—compassionate.
In recording Christ’s words, “Blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4), Matthew chose the strongest Greek term in all his vocabulary when he wrote, “mourn.” It is a heavy word—a passionate lament on behalf of one who was loved with profound devotion. The term conveys the sorrow of a broken heart, the ache of soul, the anguish of mind. It could include several scenes:
- Mourning over wrong in the world
- Mourning over personal loss
- Mourning over one’s own wrong and sinfulness
- Mourning over the death of someone close
Interestingly, this particular term also includes compassion, a sincere caring for others. Perhaps a satisfactory paraphrase could read, “How happy are those who care intensely for the hurts and sorrows and losses of others.” At the heart of this character trait is compassion.
And the promise for “those who mourn”? The Savior promises, “they shall be comforted” (5:4). In return for the compassionate mourning they have given, comfort will be theirs to claim. I find it significant that no mention is made of the source or the channel. Simply, it will come. Perhaps from the same one the servant cared for back when there was a need.
It is axiomatic but true—there can be little comfort where there has been no grief.
God’s servants care intensely and with compassion for the hurts, sorrows, and losses of others.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This