In early American Christianity, most churches had a place in their sanctuary called the “Mourner’s Bench,” a place you went to when you got convicted of your sins or you were at the end of your rope. From the mourner’s bench you moved to the foot of the Cross to find forgiveness and salvation. Genuine sorrow over sin brings the joy and saving power of God into your life. Someone said the Mourner’s Bench should be called the Happy Bench because that is when God can save your life. Sometimes I think we have lost the Mourner’s Bench. We hardly seem to believe in sin anymore. Instead, we talk about our moral failures or our dysfunctions. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross for our dysfunctions. He died for our sins. Sometimes we want God’s blessing without the Cross. We want sermons on how to win friends and how to have peace of mind. We sometimes want to leave the church feeling good, but Jesus didn’t suffer and die on the Cross to make us feel good. He died to make us good, forgive us from our sins, and free us from our guilt, messed up lives and eternal death. I hope you will bring back the mourner’s bench into your life, because only when you mourn and grieve your brokenness and sins can you be healed forgiven, set free, and saved.
– Dr. Tim Thompson