As I prepared my Christmas cards yesterday, I looked back on 2012 with mixed emotions. My smiling family on the card warmed my heart. A few addresses on my yearly mailing labels broke my heart.
I am thankful to God for the new people on my Christmas card list. Just last year, I didn’t know some of the amazing people God’s introduced to me this year. Some of these individuals are so integral to my life now, I can’t imagine them missing from the list.
I am also filled with sadness for those I reluctantly deleted from the list. People with whom we are no longer friends; people I’d never have thought in 2011 would not be on the list in 2012.
I took a moment to pray, asking God why. While I know why, I thought it was worth another ask. Why are some relationships fractured beyond (my definition of) repair? God answered clearly in my heart…
My sin. Their sin. Others sin.
We live a broken world; people are broken; we sin against God and one another.
We are all in need of Savior and His redeeming love.
I’ve been studying the Sermon on the Mount and have been impacted greatly by the beatitudes. I’ve heard sermons about the beatitudes and read them many times, but recently God’s opened my eyes in a new way.
In verses 3-6 of Matthew 5, Jesus teaches us about our relationship with God. In verses 7-10, he teaches us about relationships with one another. Vertical relationship, then horizontal relationships. Him first, others second.
While I could write much about what He’s teaching me – and may someday – one verse causes me to pause often.
It caused me to pause this morning as I considered my Christmas card list.
Verse 4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Read in context, this verse is not talking about those who mourn the death of loved ones. (God is close to the brokenhearted – those who have lost loved ones for sure). Jesus is talking about mourning our sin. Sin is so terrible, so heinous that we should mourn it – just as we mourn the loss of someone or something we love dearly. Jesus promises his followers they will be comforted when they mourn their sin.
Mourn: Feel or show deep sorrow or regret for.
Do I mourn my sin? Do I feel deep sorrow or regret for the sins I commit against my Creator and those He’s made in His image? If I do, how do I express that mourning? Through words of apology to God or others? Do I repent, saying I am sorry, asking for forgiveness, and turning completely to go in another direction?
I pray so…
As 2012 comes to a close and we look forward to 2013, I pray you reflect on the not-so-great moments of the year. I know. It sucks. It’s so much more popular and easier to reflect on all the wonderful moments – and I hope you do that too!
But, 2012 is a year I would never want to repeat. And out of the suffering and bumps of the year, God’s taught me to mourn sin. Truly mourn it in a gut-wrenching, on my knees, sobbing manner. No longer can I ask for forgiveness from God and others and move on, using and abusing the amazing grace He offers freely.
No, I want to be more intentional in 2013 about seeing sin for what it is – horrific, heinous evil– no matter how “small” or “big” culture deems the sin to be. (Sin is sin anyway.)
There’s no guarantee that I won’t be posting this time next year, describing more loss and broken relationships. Following Jesus is not a guarantee against suffering. In fact, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll face difficulty.
But, I rest in Him and His promise of comfort in Matthew 5. He will comfort me when I mourn my sin and the sins of others.
I pray you do, too, for when we repent, mourn our sin, and seek Him more, He is glorified.
To Him be the glory.