“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep”.—Rom. 12:15
“Rejoice”–if that was all that was said in this verse there is much that could be said about it. As Christians we have a responsibility to rejoice, and numerous reasons for doing so. But there is more–we are to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep”. While we fail in both of these commands far too often, I suspect we fail at the first more than the second. For some reason, when it comes to others, remorse comes easier than rejoicing. Many people are bothered by the blessings of others—a strange attitude for a Christian.
The word “rejoice” means to be cheerful, glad, delighted, to be merry, a state of happiness. As used here it tells us we ought to be happy to see others happy! The problem is that rather than looking for reasons to rejoice some are looking for cause to complain. We have enough sadness in the world without looking for it, or creating it. It is shocking that the same people who are grieved over some great loss is saddened over the gain or gladness of another. And, yes it really happens. You tell them about your new promotion or a new possession, or a pleasurable experience and you would think they just learned they had cancer. They might mumble a congratulatory comment, but their countenance tells a different story. Nothing chills their spirit quicker than seeing someone else prosper.
The command to “rejoice with them that do rejoice” seems simple and easy, but for some it isn’t. Their envy and pride keeps them from rejoicing–causing them to disobey God’s command. Then they have the audacity to criticize others. They nearly gag at the thought of saying “congratulations”, or hitting the “like” button on Facebook, because they are afraid it give the other person the attention they themselves are longing for. All you have to do to ruin their day is tell them you got a raise at work, purchased a new car, caught a 10 pound bass, received a new diamond ring, etc. You got what they want and it makes them miserable. Some take it a step further– they rejoice when others weep and weep when others rejoice. Nothing makes them more unhappy than to see you happy. That is a sick attitude, but it certainly describes a lot of folks.
Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” and numerous verses speak about the need for us to be encouragers, but many refuse to do so. If a church needs anything it needs members who make it their mission to encourage others. The last thing it needs are sad sack fault-finders who bring a spirit of doom and gloom over the congregation. I am so thankful for those who make it a habit to say kind things and express appreciation for what you’ve done. We shouldn’t need that to keep going, but it certainly helps. There are certain people who never leave after the service without a kind comment about the sermon or the music, and there are some who never say a thing. They refuse to commend and encourage others. That is a serious sin because it helps when someone appreciates what you do rather than ignoring you, or criticizing you.
If you can’t rejoice over the blessings enjoyed by others there is something terribly wrong in your life. If your desire for attention is so great that you detest seeing others get what you long for, your motives are wrong, your pride is showing, and your envy is eating you up. Those who do such things are like little children on the playground trying to out-do each other–you can hear them screaming “Look at me” over and over again. If we don’t love others enough to be pleased by seeing them pleased we are sadly lacking the one thing above everything that makes for strong relationships and a good testimony—love. If that describes you, you ought to study 1 Cor. 13 and ask God to forgive you of your sinful pride. True love causes us to be moved by and adjusted to to moods of those we love– we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Unconditional love never fails to do this. Think about it!