This is a reprint too, from my old email devotionals. I’m reprinting it in honor of my friend, pastelsummer, who is in mourning right now.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
Let me tell you a story: Shortly after my grandmother’s death I went to a women’s Bible study. I thought I could use the support and love rather than sitting home crying some more. One was holding my new baby and another was standing near by. The other asked me a question which made me cry. I explained quickly why and was met with the question: “Was she a Christian?”
Now, this question alone is offensive enough because of this: What is she wasn’t? Did I need a reminder of her eternal state? Fortunately, my grandmother had made a decision earlier in the year. Then the woman replied, “Then she doesn’t miss you a bit.”
Of course I knew where my grandmother was – we were at a Bible study for heaven’s sake. Was God leading her to treat me so tritely? I can’t know. Maybe she had never had someone close to her die, I can’t speculate. But I felt like my feelings were pushed aside. We weren’t dealing with my grandmother at that point; we were dealing with a person in mourning. If I wasn’t in such a wounded state I would have taken my baby and stormed off. But I didn’t, and her words only wounded me further.
After I did take the baby I was talking to another friend, Kathy, and she asked me about my Christmas plans. I fell apart again and told her why. She said to me with just the right amount of compassion, “I miss my Grandma so much.”
She was a perfect example of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” I needed someone to come along side me and this kind woman, whom at that point I didn’t know very well, was willing to be vulnerable enough to do that.
I can think of other times in my life when someone didn’t rejoice with me, and it still hurts no matter how many times I’ve tried to forgive them. I can also think of the many times I couldn’t rejoice for friends because of jealousy or personal pain. Romans tell us when it’s appropriate to rejoice and when it’s appropriate to weep. These are not cheerful axioms, they are not recommendations, they are commandments, and part of learning to follow God means having compassion upon those in pain, and enthusiasm for those in times of joy.
Precious God, help me to be brave enough Rejoice with those who Rejoice and Weep with those who Weep. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.