In Romans 12:15, Paul wrote, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
What comes to your mind when you hear something like that? Paul is reminding believers that we need to meet people where they are and minister to them in Jesus’ name.
I want to look at these ideas in reverse order. We are to “mourn with those who mourn.” I’m reminded of a story I heard about a little girl whose friend lost her doll. When the little girl came home, it was obvious her eyes were puffy and red.
Her mother asked her, “Is something wrong? You look like you’ve been crying.”
“Oh, I have been. But I’m OK,” the girl responded. “I’ve just been sitting on Becky’s front porch crying with her. She needed that.”
Have you ever needed someone to sit on your porch and cry with you? I have, and I have been blessed to have friends and family do just that.
I think of Job’s friends and what they did when they first came to see him. The Bible says they sat down and were silent for seven long days. They didn’t mess up until they started talking.
Yes, we all need someone to mourn with us from time to time. And we need to do the same for others. Sometimes the best thing we can do for a friend is sit and cry with them. What a great ministry that is.
Interestingly, the first part of Paul’s instruction in this verse might be the more difficult one. Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”
Your first thought might be to think that would be easy. But I’m not sure that is the case.
Have you ever received one of those Christmas letters telling you about the family where the dad got a well-deserved promotion and raise, the mom was named volunteer of the year, the son just received an appointment to West Point, his twin sister has a full academic scholarship to Harvard and the family dog won the national competition for show dogs? I could go on, but you get the point.
Meanwhile, you’ve lost your job, you’re behind on all of your bills, your children are failing in school and your dog bit the mailman. Then you read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” That’s not easy to do.
When my wife and I learned that we could not conceive a child, it seemed like all of our friends were expecting. They were excited and wanted to share the news.
We were not telling everyone our news, and we really did want to be excited for them. But it was so hard. That’s why Paul had to command it.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice” is just as important as “Mourn with those who mourn.” We need to be an encouragement to those around us. I hope you will seek to do just that. God will reward those who are faithful to obey.