As I consider all of the recent disasters and violent attacks that have come to our nation, I am again reminded of the hurt and pain of those around us. As I contemplated these things it brought to mind a scripture that is relevant for our times.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
To rejoice is to be glad in the blessings, honor, welfare of others no matter your own situation. It is to identify with others, treating others’ victories as your own. The other night I was at a one of our Bronc football games and we celebrated, together, yet another victory! #gobroncs
It was interesting for me to notice all those who celebrated in this victory and how. One thing I observed was the fact that not one Bronc strayed away from the team on the field to celebrate all by his lonesome in the corner of the stadium. No, they celebrated the win together! I found it interesting however that there were students rejoicing that may have never played in a football game and yet they were sincerely celebrating with their school mates who had fought hard to get the win. There were parents, on the field, celebrating! I am not only speaking of the parents of players who had been on the field that night, but also the parents of those players who never get any playing time. These parents were congratulating the athletes who start ahead of their own children and had led the team to another victory. It seemed that they realized that they were all part of the same team although truthfully, these parents had little or nothing to do with bringing about the “W.”
You see, when we have a victory it is natural to want to rejoice with others. But it is a good reminder to us that as followers of Christ we cannot be indifferent to the joy of other followers of Christ! Sharing in the joy of others maintains a unity that honors the Lord.
You need others to celebrate with you. Others need you to celebrate with them. Do you have some around you to share in your joys? Do you have a church family to rejoice with you in your victories? If not, consider connecting with a church family today.
The other part of the verse tells us to weep with those that are weeping no matter their race, political party, religion, etc. The encouragement is that we are to live with the same compassion toward others that are hurting. We have seen great examples of this around are nation during these recent tragedies. But we don’t have to go far to find hurting people. We all go through difficult situations that may bring affliction and weeping.
To weep with those that are weeping is to be sensitive to the hardships and sorrows of others and to respond with compassion and understanding. It is a call to mutual love and concern in the fellowship of followers of Christ. Let me encourage you to let your heart feel for the distressed, enter into their sorrows, and bear a part of their burdens.
I heard the story recently of a young girl who was given responsibility of her little brother why her mother ran across the street see a neighbor for a minute. The young girl left the child alone for just a moment to go out to check the mail only to hear her brother cry out. As she turned back toward the house, to her horror she saw flames coming from the home. Boldly she ran into the house and rescued her little brother. When interviewed by local media about her courage she replied “I didn’t even think about the dangers, all I could hear was my brothers cries.” She continued, “then nothing else mattered.” I wonder, when was the last time we could hear only the cries of our brothers? People are hurting all around us. Are we sensitive to their hardships and sorrows? Who do you cry with? Do you have people in your life to cry with you? Do you have a church family to share in your sorrows and pain? If not, get connected today.
You and I may not be able to “fix” all of the brokenness in our troubled world, but I believe we can make a difference in our community, our nation and our world. If we will determine to rejoice with those that rejoice and to weep with those that weep. If we will love those around us, we can make a difference in someone’s life today.
Let me encourage you to know that Jesus loves you and he celebrates with you and he hurts with you in your time of need. Call out to him today and reach out to his family, the church. You are loved!
Scott Lee is a pastor with the Bethesda Worship Center.