“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” Romans 12:15
This is one of my favorite verses, which I think I’ve mentioned before. It’s a hard one to actually do and it challenges me. I honestly don’t know which is harder the weeping with others or the rejoicing. You would think it would be the weeping but I’m not sure. The weeping is hard because no one wants to be sad and our culture is very uncomfortable with “negative” emotions: saddness, anger, etc. But the rejoicing is also hard. People like to be happy and you would probably say it’s easy to be happy for people but only in certain circumstances.
Everyone can be happy for someone whose cancer is in remission because we all agree that no one should have cancer. It’s easy to be happy for someone when they avoid pain like that, but what about when they get something you wanted? What about when they get something you don’t think they deserved? ouch
Your friend gets a new house and you have been saving and praying for a new house but it’s just not possible financially.
Your coworker gets the promotion you thought you should get.
Someone has an unplanned pregnancy and you are going through fertility treatments.
Someone does the hard work to get themselves to a better place physically and you wish you could do that but you don’t have time or whatever.
Someone gets married and you are still looking for that perfect person.
So many times we face situations where we hope and pray for something for so long but someone else gets it. It’s hard! Those are the times it’s so hard to be happy for someone.
What about when someone has been unkind or just plain annoying and gets something you wanted. That’s hard!
In the bible there is the story of Joseph. Not Jesus’s earthly dad Joseph, but the one with all the brothers and the coat. Joseph had a bunch of brothers and he was the youngest. His father loved him more than the others and they knew it and Joseph made bad reports to his father about his brothers. He also told them all he had dreams that they would all bow down to him. Sounds like an obnoxious younger brother tattle tale to me. They were so jealous of him and annoyed by him that they plotted to kill him but instead sold him to their enemies as a slave. Yikes! That’s some serious sibling rivalry. In the end he was appointed overseer over Egypt and saved his whole country from famine but they, of course, couldn’t see that at the time.
It would be hard to like someone like that. Of course God had plans that they couldn’t understand. He was working to benefit them all but all they saw was jealousy and his bad attitude.
Most of the time when I find it hard to be happy for someone else and rejoice with them, it’s because of jealousy or pride. I think either I deserved what they have or maybe they didn’t deserve it. It’s a dangerous idea to think you deserve something because in reality we are sinful people and we don’t want what we really deserve. But sometimes in my pride I think I have been pretty good lately and deserve something. It’s how the world works but not how God works. God hates pride and jealousy. Sometimes I think God gives others blessings around us for their benefit but also to see how we will react and point out our pride to us.
I want to be the kind of person who is genuinely happy for those around me who get blessings that I may have wanted ,in the same way I wanted to be the kind of person who is willing to step into grief with someone who is grieving and be uncomfortable.