“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” ~ Romans 12:15
This Scripture verse sticks a metaphorical finger in the eye of modern “it’s all about me” culture. Instead of focusing on ourselves, this verse challenges us to focus on our brothers/sisters.
If my fellow Believer, my brother/sister in Christ, is rejoicing then I rejoice as well, for I celebrate their success. My brother’s/sister’s joy is more precious than my joy or my lack of joy. Similarly, if my brother/sister is sad/sorrowful then I weep with them, for I feel their pain in my heart. My brother’s/sister’s sorrow is more precious than my sorrow or my joy.
Instead of life being all about me, life must be all about Jesus. And, as a channel of Jesus’ love and mercy, I cannot allow MYSELF to become clogged up with MY SELF.
To be clear, God does care about my joys and my sorrows; God cares about all the issues that affect my life. But life is still not about me, life is about Jesus. Therefore, my focus is on serving, being there to support my brother/sister. My focus is not on being served.
In the story of Lazarus’ death (John 11) it seems cruel and heartless that Jesus, knowing He could save his good friend Lazarus, allowed him to die. Consider all the pain Lazarus must have gone through (no modern-day drugs were available) as he struggled with illness till he finally died. Lazarus’ sisters also suffered greatly as they endured their brother’s illness and death, as their hope of Jesus’ help was crushed. They didn’t know the end of the story. Only Jesus knew the end and the purpose of their suffering.
As we know, Jesus did raise Lazarus from the grave, which was a great ministry to many and helped many to believe in Him. God is in control of our situations, despite how difficult they are. God challenges us not to let our situations (good or bad) cause us to lose sight of Him or of our brothers/sisters.
As the author learned at a church camp a some time ago:
J–O–Y = Jesus first, Yourself last and Others in between.