Love involves recognizing the state of others, being sensitive to their lot, and drawing near to walk with them. With those who weep, we weep. With those who rejoice, we rejoice. Like celebrating the promotion of a coworker to a position we desired, we feel the hurt but we revel in the blessing of others. And if that promotion comes to us, we would want others to join in rejoicing with us.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15, NKJV)
The holiday season is underway. Thanksgiving this month, Christmas the next. Soon the new year will be upon us and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will roll around.
Surely, causes for celebration. Maybe, but there are those who will tell us to keep it down. Thanksgiving is a family celebration. There are those without families. Christmas might be full of festivity but there are those who find the season utterly depressing for one reason or another.
And when it comes to Mother’s Day, what about those who have never been able to conceive or those who have had a child die through miscarriage? Perhaps we need to make every woman an honorary mother for the day or not celebrate the day at all lest we offend or alienate or stigmatize someone.
What happened to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Rom. 12:15)?
It’s all reminiscent of King David and Absalom. Absalom had maneuvered to usurp the throne of Israel from his father David. He masterfully won the hearts of the people and David chose to flee in the face of the threat. David reasoned: “If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back…. But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him” (2 Sam. 15:25–26).
Absalom established himself in Jerusalem in David’s place. By God’s providence the army of David would prevail over the army of Absalom. But David, upon hearing the news of his son’s death, fell into deep despondency. His words betray his anguish: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33).
Even victorious, David’s army dared not enter Jerusalem with their heads held high to shouts of exaltation.