Distracted

{Matthew 5:4; ESV}

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

It is a blessing to live in the United States. I have been able to enjoy a standard of living that most people around the world, and throughout history, have not known. Even though I am far from rich according to American standards, the reality is that I am very rich. According to this article you need just $34,000 a year to be counted in the top 1% of the richest people in the world.

This means that as Americans we are insulated from the day to day struggle to survive that many people face. For the most part we take a lighthearted approach towards life. Yes, we experience the consequences of sin, and we struggle with episodes of pain, but we are always on the look out for our next pleasure fix. Consumerism is rampant in our culture, as is the party mentality. From the outside looking in it would appear that our culture’s motto would be, “We are here, entertain us!”

This focus on pleasure, possessions, and fun blinds us to the corruption that sin causes in our world. Leon Morris in his commentary on Matthew wrote this about the second beatitude:

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 their 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)

Before we point a finger at the world and judge them for pursuing a life of pleasure, I want us to stop and evaluate our lives.

Since my life is so insulated from the horrors of the world, it is easy to turn my back on the devastating consequences of sin found around the world. Life becomes about good food, good entertainment, and good times. Any inconvenience I experience is made out to be a major episode, when in reality it is just a “first world” problem.

These things, both good and bad, distract me from the corruption that is in God’s good creation. I do not mourn about the evil in the world, rather I complain that work was frustrating or that Peter Jackson has ruined the Hobbit.

Jesus taught that the people who mourn, who grieve about the hideous consequences of sin will be blessed with comfort. Sadly, I am not one of them because I am too concerned about trivial things.

If I am going to be a person who is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven then I need to be a person who mourns, who cries over the sin and evil in 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 the world. It is about taking time to pray about the issues that are on my heart, it is about being generous with the blessings God has given to me, and it is about serving those in need around me. Why do I need to do this? I need to live this way, as the apostle Paul wrote, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).

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.

Questions to consider:

  • What are we to mourn over?
  • When you look at the world, what breaks your heart?
  • How has God comforted you in your mourning?

 

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