Saturday, May 20, 2017

Weeping With Those Who Weep

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:15-16

The news this week has given us extra reason to weep with those who weep. 

An Amber Alert was issued after a car was stolen with a 6-year-old boy in it. His kidnapping and subsequent murder riveted attention all across Mississippi and beyond.

When Kingston Frazier’s disappearance was announced, details of the crime and countless expressions of hope and anger were shared on social media pages throughout the state. When it became known that he had been killed, grief was palpable in people of all shades. 

May God use our shock, mourning, and even our outrage to comfort Kingston’s family and each other, reminding them and ourselves that in viewing such horror against the infinite goodness of God, we now see only in part and know only in part but that someday we will “know fully” (1 Corinthians 13: 12).

Back in Romans 12, we’re told not only to weep with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice. That’s a particularly emotional juggling act for pastors, who may be called on to grieve with one family at a funeral and to celebrate with another that same day at a wedding.

Rejoicing and weeping at the appropriate times, with the appropriate people, for the appropriate things, is part of living “in harmony with one another,” as Paul urges. Grief and celebration alike are improved by sharing them with others.

But what about when a friend flashes her engagement ring, and we’re still waiting for someone special to show up in our lives?

Can we “rejoice with those who rejoice” when a couple near you have their third new baby, while each month is another announcement that you and your wife are infertile? 

Can we rejoice when we’re asked to train the person who will be our new boss?

Similarly, can we weep with the gambler whose house is being foreclosed on, the smoker who’s been diagnosed with lung cancer, or the coach who’s being sent to prison on a child pornography conviction?

Romans 12:16 makes Romans 12:15 more plausible.

To weep with those reaping what they’ve sowed takes being willing to “associate with the lowly.”

To rejoice with those whose celebration makes us feel our own lacks more intensely takes “never (being) wise in your own sight.”

We can envy and backstab and tear down those rejoicing in great blessings like a bucket of crabs that pull each other down.

We can point fingers at those under crushing grief, as some have at the family of little Kingston Frazier. 

Or we can reflect our Savior’s humility by setting self aside to share others’ joy and grief.

Guest Blog by Errol Castens
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Why We Need to Hate Our Own Sin

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