Rejoicing and Weeping with Humility

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Over the last couple of weeks God has given me sweet opportunities to connect with a couple of women who are also caregivers for their moms. I left both conversations feeling better. People long for someone who truly understands — and, perhaps more importantly, someone who communicates that understanding effectively — at least I do.

One of these women (I’ll call her Megan) called me because she was in a tough spot in another area of her life. When she heard my voice, she could tell I was in a tough spot myself. I didn’t tell her that anything was bothering me. What a sensitive soul she is to be able to hear what I wasn’t even saying. Before we had our planned conversation, she wanted to know more about that unspoken weariness she could hear in my voice. We did get around to the original purpose of the call but only after she drew me out and did a great job of listening and communicating understanding.

Megan is a busy homeschooling mother with three young children. She is an only child taking care of her father and her mother who are in assisted living and need many hours of her caregiving every week. Knowing her responsibilities are great, I appreciated her taking time to send a couple of texts after we got off the phone. The first was:

“I know you are in a hard spot.”

And later she wrote:

“We are in the same storm.”

 Those two statements met specific needs in my heart. The first statement recognized that the pain I feel is real. The second statement gave me the affirmation of companionship.

Too often, when two people discuss a problem that one of them is having, the person with the problem leaves the conversation feeling worse than when it started. Those moments are some of the loneliest the human heart experiences. Romans 12 has two specific teachings that can help to change that.

Rejoice with those who rejoice,
and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Be of the same mind toward one another;
do not be haughty in mind,
but associate with the lowly.
Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Romans 12:16

I’ve written before about rejoicing and weeping with folks, but I don’t remember making the connection between the joint rejoicing and weeping of verse 15 and the judging way of listening discussed in verse 16.

It is no fun to rejoice around people who refuse to rejoice with you. It hurts deeply to weep and have no one to sympathize. Sometimes it is easier to get this rejoicing and weeping right when the cause is one of life’s milestone moments. Many people do a pretty good job of rejoicing at a wedding or weeping at a funeral. Many people don’t do such a good job rejoicing and weeping with folks on regular days of living.

It is particularly hard for some adults to rejoice and weep with children. I believe Romans 12:16 helps with that. Adults often see a child’s rejoicing or weeping as silly or unnecessary or something to get attention.

Poor kids. They deserve grownups who will rejoice with abandon and weep with abandon right on the level with the child.

It is probably easier to be honest with ourselves about the reasons we don’t do a better job rejoicing or weeping with children. It might not be so easy to admit that one reason we don’t do a better job rejoicing with or weeping with our peers is that we think we know better than they do. We think what they are rejoicing about is a bit silly. We think they wouldn’t need to weep if they saw things in a more mature way or if they just had things together better — like we do.

Jesus could have justifiably felt that way Himself. After all, He could do everything better than we could. He understood everything better than we could. But He humbled Himself and became a man. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and be a friend.

Have this attitude in yourselves
which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,
and being made in the likeness of men. 
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Romans 12:15

You’ve heard that pride comes before a fall. I believe that humility comes before mutual rejoicing and weeping. Let’s all head into this day with humble hearts looking for rejoicing and weeping to join with abandon.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things,
so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest
in things pertaining to God,
to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered,
He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Hebrews 2:17-18



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  1. Great challenge, Mom. Listening with humility to the positive and negative experiences of others is a way to say, “I love you.”

  2. I love this reminder! So often I repeat these verses to my children to remind them of how they should treat others. We even did copywork with Phil 2 for several months. But to be totally honest, I don’t recall contemplating how to apply it to my relationship with them. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

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