Romans 12:15 Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.
It would be nice if this verse went on to say that we only have to be happy with those who are happy, when it's fair. Wouldn't that be much easier?
Some days I have a hard time rejoicing with others, if I am being totally honest. (And, it's hard to grow without honesty, so I'll just admit it.) I don't often have a problem with being happy for the people in my life, but sometimes I am frustrated that those whom I have rejoiced with, have not done the same for me. Therefore, I can struggle to continue sharing in their happiness.
I am talking about the kind of person that does not share in your life due to jealousies or insecurities or something out of your control. The ones that are quick to be happy with others in front of you, but not you. It's knowing that it is purposeful that makes it hard. I am sure you understand what I mean, although I would guess your experience with this would have been in high school, rather than adulthood. At least, I hope so.
This has also been the case when it comes to feeling sorrow with others who haven't been there for me when it's my turn. I have listened with care to the trials or even just complaints of others, but sometimes feel as if what I get in return is judgememt, if anything at all, when I am hurting. Unfortunately, people can be quick to assume you have done something wrong if you are undergoing trials, even if they are Christians. Or, they don't want to share in your grief because it is uncomfortable or possibly even selfish.
There are a couple of things I know I must do when I don't feel like obeying the scriptures, and I know I better do it quickly before I give bitterness a chance to take hold.
I have to take those feelings to God. I know He understands unfairness, and all forms of rejection. I know He is my best friend, and even though He wants His people to do these things, He cares, too and will always be there for me. I also know He is the One who can change my heart to have the right attitude when I would rather act poorly.
Then, I just have to obey. It's important to keep voicing, whether it is in writing or in person, my happiness for others. Maybe they don't need it from me, even, but I am going to choose to be happy with those that are happy. And, I am going to share in other's sorrows without judging the reasons sorrow may be in their life. I will be available to be used by God whenever He wants to use me. I will do it even when the only one that notices is God. Maybe it's not always appropriate or necessary to do or say something physically, but I know it's important to be intentional.
I really can't stop there, though - I need to do some soul searching. Am I neglecting to be happy or weep with anyone whom I should be? Have I done the same thing to other's that has hurt me?
Of course, we are all going to miss times to share in each others rejoicing or sorrow since we can't always be on top of everything, but am I allowing that to happen on a consistent basis?
How many times have I been wrapped up in my own busyness or stress that I haven't seen where I could be another friend or family member to share in their life?
How many times have I let a lack of resources stop me from doing anything at all? Or, rather, how often have I let embarrassment of what little I have to offer to someone when they should be congratulated, or when they are hurting, stop me from sharing happiness and sorrow?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know I want to be more alert to these commands from God. We all need to be noticing what is going on in the lives of those around us. The more we work on paying attention, we train our minds to be on the alert, and when our minds are alert they are urging us to reach out to others and/or to pray for others.
I thank God that I do have the many friends and loved ones that I do. I am so incredibly grateful that they rejoice with me and weep with me through life, and that those who have chose not to are not many. It is so meaningful when those that do are so proud of my kids' accomplishments, or when they take the time to ask and listen about the loved ones I am grieving.
Much of that happens through facebook, email, cards, etc... sometimes it's person to person with words, laughter, hugs or tears... whichever form it takes, it's wonderful, and of course, God planned it that way.
What are ways you rejoice or weep with others? Have you had any of the same experiences as I? Leave a comment and share how you reflect this verse, or how it has impacted your life.