The following is part of a series of articles.
It is a satire.
The idea behind this series is simple: What if Jesus and his "blessed" statements - his Beatitudes - were being "collaborated" on by a modern Christian Public Relations Consultant?
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Let me put you at ease with this one, Jesus. You'll be glad to know that we don't need to go in an entirely different direction the way we did last time. I think this one is salvageable! We just have to place enough conditions and contingencies on it to... tame it a bit. The reason, of course, is that I want to ensure people don't abuse what you're saying and take it too far. I love your idealism - I really do - I'm just here to run interference for you, buddy! Part of my job is to let you know, there are a lot of people out there who, it seems, just want to mourn. It's to the point where they tend to get in the way of ministry with their mourniness. So it's not your statement that scares me, but the application of it.
We definitely want to keep our services safe from these sorts of people. Whether those who have gone through something terrible and just aren't getting over it as quickly as we'd like them too, or those who are simply sad too often, or even just the generally melancholy (maybe they have a hard time normalizing themselves to the tragedies and evils of this world, I don't know, whatever the case may be) - they can't take precedence over the more important stuff we're doing in spiritual community. We have programs to run! And programs are hard to run when they're being disrupted.
So this mourning-being-met-with-comfort-thing... It's okay to an extent, but we can’t get too carried away. It can't disrupt the general flow of our services. It can't get in the way of the kind of musical and sermonizing environment we're shooting for. If we have too much of that, it will upset the show. That's why I'm thinking we probably just need some fine print to what you're saying here. Some stern qualifications to constantly remind people of. That way, when tragedy strikes them, they will feel guilty if they make too much of a scene with their grief and anguish. A little religious anxiety never hurt anyone, and hey, a lot of these people are struggling with anxiety already! At least it's familiar territory for them.
Let’s face it: there are many people who simply refuse to "pray through it" or "count it all joy." I mean, seriously, "clinical depression?" Sounds more like a spiritual warfare problem, am I right?
What we can do to work with your statement here is use other scriptures and religious clichés to diminish what you're saying. We can over-qualify it and water it down to the point where it doesn't have anything too bold or dangerous to say. (This is a particularly effective tool with people who already submit everything you have to say to the rest of scripture, rather than using you as the lens through which they view all the other things. So believe me - they are primed and ready to be fine with what I'm talking about.)
Ultimately, we want Evangelical Christianity to carry the distinct culture of a people who feel like they've done something wrong if they get too "mourny" (or are mourny for too long).
If they can't "give it to God" in a reasonable amount of time, maybe they should isolate themselves from the group so they're not too much of a distraction. We want people who see themselves as "blessed" when they come through the sadness of their trials and tribulations... Not so much when they're in the midst of them. If they sense the presence and favor and solidarity of God from inside their hurt and pain, that might encourage them to stay in mourning as long as it takes to process their grief and loss! And you never know how long that might be.
So let’s take what you said and make it a bit safer, like this:
#BLESSED are those who mourn -- a bit, within reason -- who can totally be comforted -- for a time... but who are careful not to mourn like “those who have no hope,” because we expect them to show us their “peace that surpasses understanding” pretty quickly no matter what horrific and devastating thing happens to them. True pain and loss make us uncomfortable, and we can’t have too much of that, or church just gets too awkward.
And, that said, I'm glad to have collaborated again on one of these! I can't wait to tackle the next one tomorrow! They're turning out great, aren't they? It's so great to make your name famous, Jesus! It's all about you, and your glory...