Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”
Ahh! One of the most difficult verses to follow in the Bible!
There are some people who rock when it comes to obeying this verse, but for some, it’s a verse that leaves them uncomfortably exposed. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.
Every person on earth will go through times of great rejoicing and great mourning. So why do people not actively choose to always rejoice or mourn with others?
We live in a world where people aren’t quite sure how to handle grief and deep mourning, and on the flip side, people resent the good in other’s lives—frequently turning towards jealousy instead of celebrating and rejoicing all of the good.
I think there’s many reasons, but four primary reasons stand out for both.
People don’t mourn with others because:
- It’s time consuming. It truly takes time and a selfless commitment to grieve with others and to genuinely care and be there for them throughout grief and the hardships they face in life.
- People are scared or uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say, what to do, or how to effectively help others who grieve. They also clearly understand that a similar grief event could happen to them or to their loved ones.
- It’s messy. Grief is messy business. The emotions people go through during grief, a life challenge, or a poor decision in life are very messy. People can act their worst and you never know what you’re going to get day-to-day.
- It exposes what’s in our own heart. When you’re helping another person, it truly reveals so much about ourself, our character, and our depth. As we help others to grow through grief or a hardship, it often forces us to be vulnerable and grow as well. And that can be very uncomfortable.
People don’t always celebrate with others because:
- Jealousy and envy. We see someone enjoy success and we wish we were being blessed in a same or similar way. Someone has it better than us or seems to enjoy life more, and instead of learning from them how to have a better life, we begrudge the goodness they’ve obtained.
- Things aren’t going well in our own lives. We see someone happy and we wish we held the same joy in our own life. We resent the hardships we’re experiencing and secretly wish our own lives were better. We may have lost someone or something special, such as a treasured loved one, job, health—it could be anything—and all we know is our life isn’t what we want it to be. Some things in life, we can change; other things, we can’t.
- It’s an irritating reminder that we aren’t committed to our own wellness or we aren’t creating/living our own “best life.” When we see the goodness in other’s lives, it rarely “just happened.” Majority of the time, a lot of work and sacrifice went into a person living out their dreams. If we put as much effort into our own wellness, success, or relationships…instead of begrudging another person…we’d see a similar amount of blessing in our own circumstances or life. Not always…but many times, we would. When I feel tempted to be jealous of another person, I’ve trained myself to immediately self-reflect and to look for places in my own life to improve. Nobody likes to be reminded that they weren’t true to their self or that they betrayed their self by not living out their best life possible. That’s the biggest reason people resent celebrating with others.
- We feel threatened. When people are living a great life, or good things are happening in other people’s lives, we can feel threatened. Competition mode sets in and nobody likes to feel inferior or like a failure.
The thing is…whether going through grief or great things in life, it all comes down to the heart. We can choose to have a good heart that rejoices with others and mourns with them, and take the time to learn from other people and their lives—or—we can choose to have a poor, undeveloped heart that refuses to rejoice and celebrate with others, or we can refuse to grow as we neglect our own self improvement.
A good heart realizes it must continually grow, so it can eventually experience good things in life; but a poor heart will choose to become bitter, hardened, and will eventually die a little bit more each and every day. The great thing is this: we all have the power to choose what kind of heart we will have, and we have the opportunity to better the lives of our family and friends, as well as our own heart and life every single day.
If everybody would follow Romans 12:15, what an incredible difference it would make inside homes, marriages, friendships, parenting, churches, workplaces, and, ultimately, in the world! We all would have the ability to live much richer, more enjoyable lives!
Romans 12:15 basically says: when good things happen in other’s lives, be happy for them, celebrating God’s goodness with them—be incredibly happy for the favor in their lives—and when people are hurting, fallen, or struggling, be there for them, encourage them, love on them, and HELP THEM UP. Love your family and friends back to life!
To do only one of these, makes life unbalanced. The world needs people who are willing and committed to doing both.
I like what Lysa TerQuerst says about rejoicing with others, “There’s enough space for all of us to thrive in our gifts. Whether you paint, do lettering, take photos, sing, write, speak, dance, decorate, give fashion advice, or any other artistic expression… Do you. The world needs your brand of beautiful. And the world needs the best version of you.
Don’t listen to the enemy’s wicked whispers. The enemy wants you to feel threatened, suspicious, and skeptical. Resistant to cheer another on who does the same thing as you. But here’s what I know for sure. When we don’t love and cheer on others, we start to shrink. We have less to give. We hold back. And we become wilted and withered. It’s in the cheering on of another that we ourselves bloom and blossom and show we can be trusted with more beauty.”
How cool it is when everybody accepts…and cheers on…one another’s gifts, greatly rejoicing in all the good things that happen in their loved one’s lives, while taking the time to mourn with their family and friends, too!
When sad, tragic, and bad things happen in the lives of others, or they are deeply struggling, that’s the time a person most needs others to build them back up. We live in a world where people have a tendency to avoid those who hurt…sometimes even discarding, rejecting, or throwing them away…which adds to the hurting person’s heartache, discouragement, and pain.
Getting involved can be time consuming, but helping others and loving them is what life is primarily about.
…And you never know when you may need someone to be there for you, because we all are literally one choice away from majorly changing our lives…for the good or for the bad.
When you go through grief, you understand the mourning part of the above mentioned bible verse on a much deeper level. God may even open your eyes today to people who have hurt in the past that you may not have been there for, or to others who are hurting right now and you can perceive it better…especially if they are going through a similar situation as you or a situation you or a loved one has been through in the past.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, help the broken, and mourn with those who mourn….These are some of the greatest situations and opportunities to TRULY be the most like Christ.
Love God, love others, especially at the greatest and the messiest times in others lives! The world needs more people who aren’t afraid of being inconvenienced by messy!
To celebrate and grieve with others are both ways of greatly honoring and showing deference to the people God has placed in our lives. When we show honor to others, we ultimately show honor to God—and food for thought—we also actively show others…especially the world…what we think about Him.
Who have you failed to rejoice with or mourn with? Take the time to contact them today and show honor to them. Actively care.
Who can you rejoice with and mourn with TODAY? Always seek to look for opportunities to rejoice with others and to mourn with others…every single day.
Be the love, celebration, mercy, encouragement, help, and compassion TODAY that YOU hope to receive TOMORROW!
We all will have experiences in life where we will need both rejoicing and mourning.
Choose to be a sincere rejoicer and genuine mourner in other people’s lives, and allow others to rejoice and mourn with you during your celebrations and losses today, too!
Gratitude & blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
For more encouragement:
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Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617
FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays