“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15
The apostle Paul taught us to become all things to all people so that the world will see the light of the glory of God and be saved (1 Cor. 9:22). Here in the book of Romans, Paul reiterates the same concept. He tells believers to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Why is this concept vital for the Christian life?
This concept is vital for the Christian life because we are to imitate the love of Christ. This imitation is to be displayed in our empathy and emotional connection with loved ones and the world. Meeting people where they are at, whether in a state of rejoicing or in sadness and despair, shows that you care for their well-being.
Jesus was the best example of displaying empathy. When his disciples were learning about the kingdom of heaven, the Lord told them to rejoice that their names were written in heaven (Lk. 10:20). He also says to the Father how he was full of joy to see that the chosen people of God understand and know what it means to obey Scripture.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to rejoice with those who have the same common goal and aspirations as you do? This is how Jesus felt with his disciples.
On the other hand, mourning is an appropriate emotion that all of us experience. In John 11:35, after the death of Lazarus, it states that Jesus wept. Even though the Lord knew he had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead, he still wept. When we lose a loved one, there is no rejoicing in death. Even though we know God has conquered death and Jesus was victorious over the grave, it’s absolutely natural to mourn and grieve with the broken-hearted.
This is what it means to be a Christian. When we attend funerals with loved ones or family members, we mourn and grieve over those who have perished. Death is never to be celebrated. It is a curse from the fall. Nevertheless, we have hope in heaven.
It seems to me this year that the weight of mourning has been much heavier than the weight of rejoicing. The pandemic has brought tragedy to many families and friends. In America alone, over 300,000 people have perished to COVID-19. This year’s anthem really has been, “mourning with those who mourn.”
I am hopeful that next year will be filled with more rejoicing and less grieving. Our world has been through a lot and really needs a breakthrough. But even in trials and tribulations, we are to rejoice. James 1:2 really seems counterintuitive, but this is what it says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4
So even when we do experience trials, we should know that God has a reason for it. He works all things together for our good, to those who are called according to his purposes. We need to believe that so our faith will produce perseverance. Therefore, when we go through difficulty, our faith will be strong and mature. Faith can truly change the world for the good. Let’s pray and hope for this.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus, we both rejoice and mourn with you. We mourn over our sins and that you had to suffer and die in our place. You were righteous, good, and didn’t deserve to be crucified. However, we rejoice that you took our penalty.
We are happy that you who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might receive the righteousness of God. There is both mourning and rejoicing in the cross. Thank you for this reminder. May we serve you and worship you all the days of our lives. For you, the Lamb of God, are worthy of all praise. Amen!