Christians are given this daunting command in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
It can get trite and tired and simplistic, but this exhortation is essential to loving one another. We have to ask God to help us learn to authentically, wholeheartedly rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Also, and often more difficultly, we have to open our hearts to weep with those who weep. But how can we do this?
I don’t know the whole answer. One of my frequent sins in lack of empathy and a cold-heartedness towards others. Thankfully, I’ve had two friends show me the way.
Our first-conceived baby died in a miscarriage around Christmas 2006. When we shared this with friends in early 2007, my friend Brian didn’t try to cheer me up or explain it away. He simply said, with tears in his eyes, “We love you. And when you hurt, we hurt.” Brian was a wonderful example of loving us during those lonely days of grief.
With the loss of this baby, our friend J.J. just demonstrated the same love. He and his wife are no strangers to grief themselves, which I suspect informed his prayer yesterday when he said, “Father, we love Brian and Kassie, and when when they hurt, we hurt.”
Two guys who have never met. Six years between losses. The exact same empathetic words of love. I believe this is one way- one essential way- that we can love people as we weep with those who weep.