Romans 12:15-18 (New English Standard Version)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
One of the most comforting things about walking in the Christian faith is the assurance that God Himself has experienced all our human emotions. Joy, suffering, and yes, even sorrow, have all been felt by Christ during His short stay on earth.
The Bible talks about this extensively, especially in the Old Testament verses of Hebrews 4:15 (King James Version): “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
It is important to note here that Christ did not come to live a pampered life. He did not come to dress the wounds of the healthy and happy, but to mourn with those who mourned, grieve with those who grieved, and weep with those who weep.
As Christ-followers, it is our duty to emulate the work of God in both our lives in the lives of others. We are to minister thoughtfully and intentionally to those around us, no matter how ‘awkward’ or uncomfortable we feel. Rejoicing with those who rejoice is certainly not a difficult task. Yet, learning to weep with those who weep may sometimes stall even the most empathetic of us.
So how exactly do we weep with those who weep, especially when we haven’t been able to experience the depth of emotions that our friends are experiencing? You don’t necessarily need to understand, or even physically weep along with your hurting brother in Christ. However, it is important to minister to them as a member of the loving body of Christ.
Check up on those around you on a regular basis, and stay in contact with those who you know are suffering.
Have a willing ear to listen, and an active mind to process what it is your brother or sister is suffering from. Remember to practice active listening instead of passive listening: ask questions, get clarification, and minister freely!
Make a point to regularly spend time with those around you, even if they are not vocal about their personal suffering.
Beyond emotional and mental ministering, do what you can to physically minister the suffering around you. Stock their pantry, send gift cards, donate clothing, and provide other necessities that those who are suffering may have a more difficult time procuring.
The most important thing you can do for those who suffer is to pray! Not just pray in a group setting or with friends, but individually praying with passion, love, and intent.
More than ever in our age of digital isolation, the importance of a friend to lean on and cry with becomes more and more important. Let us seek to spread the light of Christ throughout all corners of the earth!
How can you see yourself weeping with those who weep? What about rejoicing with those who rejoice? How could this revolutionize the way you relate to the hurting around you? God calls us to live as servants to one another, each according to his or her convictions. How valuable is the work of the hands and feet of God!
Hebrews 13:3 (New International Version)
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Job 30:25 (Berean Study Bible)
Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has my soul not grieved for the needy?