Gaining From Your Loss

Ludwig Van Beethoven noticed that he was losing his sense of hearing. As a composer, he worried that he could no longer create music if he becomes deaf. He tried every cure available to him but to no avail. One day, his greatest fear came true. He became totally deaf.

According to the Daily Walk devotional, “Beethoven finally found the strength he needed to go on despite his great loss. To everyone’s amazement, he wrote some of his grandest music after he became totally deaf. With all distractions shut out, melodies flooded in on him as fast as his pen could write them down. His deafness became a great asset.”[1] In other words his loss became his gain. Now, in His sermon on the mount, our Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”[2] I like how The Message translated it: “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” This morning let us talk about “Gaining from Your Loss.” Let us pray first…

I read that out of the nine different verbs in the New Testament to express grief or mourning, the word ‘mourn’ in Matthew 5:4 “is the strongest of all the Greek words used in the New Testament to express grief. It often refers to mourning for the dead—the passionate lament expressed for a lost loved one.”
[3] In fact, this word is so strong that it means “To grieve with a grief which so takes possession of the whole being that it cannot be hid”.[4]

Now, what loss was Jesus talking about here? I believe Jesus was not talking here about the loss of a loved one or someone special. But the grief equals that in intensity. In verse 3 Jesus proclaimed, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Then in the next breath He declared, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” So, “mourn” here has something to do with “poor in spirit.” We can say that a person really knows that he is spiritually poor when he truly mourns his spiritual state, when he is not proud but humbled. Actually, we can only be truly happy when we are sad with our sinful condition. So, first, we gain from our loss when we RECOGNIZE what sin does to our lives.

The Bible defines “sin” for us. 1 John 3:4 says, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” The Good News Bible goes like this: “sin is a breaking of the law.” Thus, sin is anything we think, say and do that goes against the Word of God. When we do what God prohibited us from doing or when we fail to do what He commanded us to do, that is sin.

Now when we harbor sin in our lives, sin weakens us physically. Psalm 32:3-4 says, “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.”
[5] The Message translated verse 4 this way: “The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.” We could barely sleep. We could hardly eat. And, the sad thing is we’re not even in love. Guilt can actually cause ulcers and other health problems.

When we continue in it instead of confessing it, sin wreaks havoc in our relationship with each other. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” There are times we lose our temper against another not because the person was a pain in the neck but because of our inner struggles.

Sin puts a wedge between us and God. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened”. It alienates us from God. It blocks even our prayers. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “The LORD hasn’t lost his powerful strength; he can still hear and answer prayers. Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why he doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see his face.”
[6] Thus we can see that sin is not worth it.

So, we gain from our loss when we recognize what sin does in our lives. Second, we gain from our loss when we RESPOND with repentance. We really mourn our sins when we repent or we decide to give it up.

Yes, 2 Corinthians 7:10 says that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret”. But the true measure of repentance is not whether we cried but whether we commit to change our ways. We may or may not shed tears. Yet if we truly repent, we gain from our loss.

1 John 1:9 promised that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What does it mean to confess? “To ‘confess’ means to acknowledge or to say the same thing as. The believer is instructed that he is to say the same thing as God says about his sin, ‘It is sin.’”
[7] You don’t excuse or give an alibi. You call sin as sin. I read that if we say we are defeated by this or that sin, we are putting the blame on God. But when we say we are disobedient, we put the responsibility squarely on our shoulders.

This morning, we will participate in the Lord’s communion. Paul reprimanded the believers in Corinth for being divided rather than united. Thus he warned them that “If, then, anyone takes the bread or the cup of the Lord in the wrong spirit, he will be responsible for the body and blood of the Lord.”
[8] And God punished them for that: “That’s why many of you are sick and weak and why a lot of others have died.”[9] Note that sin can actually kill us. 1 John 5:16 warns us that “There is a sin that leads to death.” What is this sin unto death? The Bible did not specify. That means that if there’s a sin that the Lord has been convicting us yet we refuse to confess, it can lead to our death. This is the reason why we should first examine ourselves before we join in the breaking of the bread.

So, we gain from our loss when we recognize what sin does to our lives and when we respond with repentance. Third, we gain from our loss when we RECEIVE God’s forgiveness.

Let’s go back to the promise of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We can trust God to forgive us. We can count on His faithfulness. Note how the Bible describes forgiveness. Psalm 103:12 assures us: “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” God throws away our sins as far away as possible. That’s why we should not allow guilt to haunt us anymore when we have confessed our sins to God. So, if God has forgiven you, learn to forgive yourself.

Micah 7:18-19 extols God for His mercy: “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Someone said that God casts our sins in the deepest part of the sea and then puts a “no fishing” sign there.

In fact, He will wipe away our sins from our records. God gives us a clean slate. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
[10] This is different from what people call “forgive and forget.” Yes, God forgives. But I don’t think He forgets. Just like we can forgive but not really forget. However, God promises that He “will remember their sins no more.” In other words, He will not hold it against us anymore.

After describing how unconfessed sin weakens our vitality, King David wrote, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
[11] I like how The Message translated it: “Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.’ Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.”

Forgiveness is the comfort that mourning brings. Thus David can declare, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”[12] That’s why blessed are they that mourn. That’s how we gain from our loss.

Let us pray…

[1]Daily Walk, August 9, 1993
[2]Matthew 5:4. All Bible verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.
[3]Dr. John MacArthur, Jr., “Happy are the Sad” (GC2199)
[4]Cleon Rogers Jr. and Cleon Rogers III, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the New Testament
[5]New Living Translation (NLT).
[7]The Open Bible Expanded Edition
[8]1 Corinthians 11:27, Basic Bible English.
[9]1 Corinthians 11:30, Contemporary English Version (CEV)
[10]Hebrews 8:12
[11]Psalm 32:5
[12]Psalm 32:1-2


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