Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.– Romans 12:15
We are to love others to the point of sympathy in two ways – in joy and in sorrow. Think about this though: which is easier? Is it easier to rejoice with them that do rejoice or weep with them that weep? I would speculate that most people would find it easier to sympathize with those that are in sorrow. There aren’t as many people who make it a habit to rejoice with those who rejoice. In the case of sorrow, it’s easier to show compassion and sympathy for that sorrowful person because they need a shoulder to cry on. We feel like that sorrowful person NEEDS us. That joyful person doesn’t seem to NEED us. This type of sympathy which makes it easier to weep with the sorrowful than to rejoice with the joyful is a sympathy which lost, unregenerate people can have.
This SPIRITUAL sympathy takes the love of God filling the heart of a Child of God, controlling his attitudes toward others. This SPIRITUAL love will cause us to GENUINELY share in BOTH the joys and sorrows of others in our church. “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Paul digs deeper and deeper into the characteristics of the love that should be found in churches. Do you want to know why many churches suffer from so much strife, contention, and schism? True, spiritual love is lacking. In a Biblical church, if one member suffers, ALL the members suffer! If one member is honored, ALL the members rejoice! Think about it. Say you are struggling to make ends meet financially. You have bills that are taking back almost every penny you earn. And you hear that someone in the church was just blessed financially with an anonymous $500 gift to help them in their financial struggle. How does the carnal nature within you want to respond? The carnal man is jealous, but the spiritual man rejoices. You may attend a wedding of a happy young couple when you are going through difficult, discouraging times. These are the times when we must rely on the Holy Spirit to channel our emotions in the right direction. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Charity envieth not.” True, Biblical love is not dependent on US!
We are to be JOYFUL! When a soul is saved, when a backslidden one gets right with the Lord, when God bestows His blessings in a timely way upon a struggling member of the church – we are to be JOYFUL no matter what we ourselves are going through.
At the same time, we should show our sympathy in sorrow for the sorrowful in the church – not necessarily because we have been through a similar situation but because we LOVE them. Please don’t misunderstand me. God can use someone who has been through a struggle to help another going through a similar struggle. This is GREAT! God places people in our lives for a reason. However, a lost person can sympathize with someone going through similar problems that he himself has experienced. There are many secular support groups filled with lost, unregenerate people who share and sympathize in each other’s problems. Genuine, SPIRITUAL sympathy requires the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. SPIRITUAL sympathy is not dependent upon US and OUR experiences. It’s dependent upon the love of GOD. Be sure to weep with those who weep. Be mindful of those in the church who are going through rough times. Don’t forget them when things are going well with you.
Jesus’ love was constant in times of rejoicing like at the wedding in Cana and in times of sorrow like at the tomb of Lazarus. That’s the love of God.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.