Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
With various Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook offerings this season, it is always tempting for our covetous voice to come out.
Mr. Jealousy tends to pop his head up as we look at families all put together while we are covered in kid puke and haven’t seen a shower in three days.
But, this time a year is a also a powerful opportunity.
In relationships, there is no neutral. We are either growing together or drifting apart. Nothing causes drifting faster than jealousy. The sad truth is that you don’t want to be associated with those you are jealous of. But there is hope.
I teach my kids Romans 12:15 on a regular basis. When you have six kids, there are going to be times when one kids gets something or gets to experience something the other kids don’t. Of course choruses of “that’s not fair” always ring out. But these cries are only masks for pure jealousy. Much like in real life. IF you ever find yourself screaming about “fairness,” chances are you are just covetous and jealous. (There is a decided difference between fairness and justice.)
So, in my household, we obey Romans 12:15. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Your sister gets a new toy? Rejoice! Because she is rejoicing! Your sister falls and bumps her head? Weep. Because she is weeping.
If this seems like common sense, you may be asking how does this apply to my life? Too often we do not rejoice when our friend rejoice. We see photos of Hawaii and hide them in our timeline. We see photos of a clean house and grumble about how they must have a maid helping them out. We here of a CEO getting a bonus, an NFL player getting a new contract, or any other good news…and we grumble and complain.
Don’t believe me?
Just read the butthurt posts on, what otherwise, would be happy occasions. Valentine’s Day? Have you not considered your single friends’ feelings. Mother’s Day? What about all those who have not been able to conceive? Independence Day? What about those who aren’t free?
Let me be VERY clear. If other people’s happiness causes you butthurt. That says more about you than it does about others. More importantly, about your attitude. We have all felt pain or hurt. Yes, this pain is real. But when it comes to those we are friends with…we need to rejoice when they rejoice. Because friends you have to hide happiness from…are not going to be friends for long.
And therein lies the problem. Because there are two parts to that scripture. And we can only provide comfort to someone in their grief…if we are friends to begin with. How does that work? My wife and I have experienced losing a child through miscarriage. What if shortly thereafter, friends of ours found out they were pregnant? What if we chose not to rejoice when they rejoice because of the painful memories it wrought? What if they, then, experienced a miscarriage?
The important truth of this scripture is that we cannot minister to those in their times of grief if we are not, first, there in their times of rejoicing. This dichotomy is present in many relationships. Being there in the good times enables us to minister in the bad times.
So, this Holiday season…let’s REJOICE when other’s REJOICE!
So that we may be there to weep when they must weep.