In Romans 12, Paul encourages us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Some weeks, I experience both ends of that spectrum.  You do too. I stood at the graveside of a broken-hearted family as they laid to rest a son who had been missing for 14 years, only to be found dead not far from home just a few weeks ago. Heartbreaking.  Lots of weeping.

But I also participated in an evening of great joy as Joey Eugene and Jessica Leon became husband and wife. I love to celebrate God’s work in joyful moments. And then to bring some perspective out of the extremes, Christie and I headed to El Segundo a couple of times – just to hold our new grandson, Everett.

In thinking about Paul’s instruction to us to weep and rejoice, I thought about which is more difficult to do?  Well, it depends, right? My answer may surprise you. We do well at weeping with those who weep.  The turnout on Thursday afternoon at Green Hills reinforced my joy in this church family. When one suffers, our compassion surrounds broken hearted. We cry with people.  We hug sincerely.  We pray for one another. We remind each other of the hope of heaven. And, by the time Sunday is over, we will have fed three meals to 25 PV landslide victims. Practical acts of kindness are seen when we care about people.

But, to rejoice with those who rejoice can be a bit more complex. I might even say harder. To rejoice in someone else’s joy sounds easy – until someone is celebrating that which we also really want.  Another engagement?  Another baby announcement? A retirement? A raise?  It can be hard to rejoice with someone when we wonder if we will ever experience that same joy.

We are experts at the jealousy and envy thing. Isn’t it interesting how we don’t have to practice those in order to be good at them?  We know how to want what others have and how to get angry at them, while hoping they lose what they got, even if we can never get it! That is a very fallen response that comes naturally. It just may be harder to rejoice with those who rejoice than to weep with those who weep.

But if we can be sincere in our weeping and sincere in our rejoicing, we will declare to the world that there is a God and He is our ultimate satisfaction. Let us abound in that kind of love. Risk it.  Practice it.

Sometimes it is hard to bounce back and forth between those extremes, but God has given me a grandson to help with those emotions.  You might want to hold one and see what happens!