Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
— Romans 12:15

It’s such a big letdown when you experience something that gets you all excited, but you can’t find anyone who will rejoice with you. Not so long ago, this happened to me.

After waiting a long time for a particular victory, it finally happened! I could hardly wait to tell it, so I summoned together the group I was with at the time to share this mighty victory. However, when I told these people the good news, they just stared back at me with expressionless faces, as if they hadn’t heard a word I had said. When the meeting was dismissed, they left, barely acknowledging the great report I had told them. I was very disappointed because I wanted someone to rejoice with me!

*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]

bookmark2Later that day as I thought about the group’s lack of response to my exciting news, it made me wonder how many times I had done the same thing to people who shared their exciting news with me. As I pondered the expressionless faces I had seen earlier, I realized that the other members of that group may have been loaded down with their own cares or anxieties. Perhaps their own thoughts weighed so heavily on their minds that they weren’t able to really grasp what I had told them.

We should never respond to someone’s good report with a lack of enthusiasm. Regardless of what we’re going through in our own lives, we need to get our focus off ourselves and learn to “rejoice with them that do rejoice….” (Romans 12:15). In this verse, the apostle Paul tells us about the importance of appropriate emotional responses. For instance, when a person rejoices about something wonderful that has happened in his life, then regardless of what we are personally feeling, it is appropriate for us to rejoice with him.

The word “rejoice” is from the Greek word chairo, and it means to be glad, to be full of joy, or to be elated. Furthermore, the word “rejoice” is a command, not a suggestion, which means Paul is ordering us to “rejoice with them that do rejoice….” The word “with” is the word meta. In this particular case, it means to rejoice along with those who are rejoicing and carries the idea of joining on the same level of rejoicing as “them that do rejoice.”

The phrase “them that do rejoice” would be better translated as “the rejoicing ones.” The Holy Spirit is instructing us that when people are thrilled and bubbling over with joy about something that has happened in their lives, we need to join right in with them and rejoice! If they are shouting, we need to shout with them. If they are laughing for joy, we need to laugh with them.

Therefore, this portion of Romans 12:15 presents this idea:

“When people are rejoicing, that’s a time for you to join in the celebration and rejoice along with those who are rejoicing.…”

You might say, “But it’s hard for me to rejoice when I don’t feel like rejoicing.” Well, you just need to get over it and put your flesh out of the way for a few minutes! Let the other person enjoy his exciting news. Think how selfish it would be for you to throw cold water on his joy simply because you don’t “feel like” rejoicing at the moment. What if you were in that person’s shoes and someone responded to you with such a noticeable lack of enthusiasm? It would disappoint you, wouldn’t it?

So rather than disappoint the person who is so excited, push your own emotional struggles out of the way for a few minutes and join in with those who are rejoicing! Besides, when you start to rejoice with a fellow believer, your deliberate rejoicing may be the very thing that sets you free from the emotional quandary that is trying to hold you down!

Paul goes on to tell us that we need to learn to “…weep with them that weep.” The word “weep” is translated from the Greek word klaio, and it means to weep, to wail, to sob, or to shed tears. A very good example of this word is found in Mark 5:38 when Jesus went to Jairus’ house and found “them that wept” because Jairus’ daughter had died. This perfectly presents the idea of weeping and sobbing that is portrayed by the word klaio.

Just as it is appropriate for us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, it is equally appropriate for us to weep with those who weep. We will all face times when people in our lives weep because of something that has happened or because of an event that has broken their hearts. When that happens, then no matter what we are personally feeling, it is fitting that we show softhearted tenderness toward those individuals, doing all that we can to comfort them.

Brokenhearted people usually need someone’s arms wrapped about them. They also need to feel like they’re not all alone. And sometimes they need a shoulder to cry on — not because that will make everything better, but simply because they need a tender touch in that moment of crisis. This is why Paul says we need to “…weep with them that weep.”

Learning to respond with appropriate emotions is very important. A sullen frown during a time of rejoicing is not appropriate. A laughing and light-hearted spirit is often not appropriate in a room that is filled with brokenness and grief. As believers, we need to be sensitive to the needs of those around us, allowing the Holy Spirit to show us how to respond to the emotional climate in which we find ourselves. If we respond properly, we can be a blessing. But if we respond inappropriately, we can hurt people’s feelings and either dampen their joy or deepen their sorrow.

Let the Holy Spirit be your Teacher and show you how to emotionally respond to the various situations of life. He knows exactly what response is needed and will make you a master of appropriate responses in every situation of life.

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My Prayer for Today

Lord, I ask You to help me know how to respond appropriately to those who are around me. When they rejoice, help me put aside my own struggles and problems and enter into rejoicing with them. When people weep and I’m not feeling the pain they feel, help me set aside my own light-hearted mood so I can be the kind of friend they need in that vulnerable moment. Holy Spirit, I know You can teach me how to appropriately respond to the different situations I face in life. So I ask You to start teaching me how to be what I need to be in every type of circumstance.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

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My Confession for Today

I confess that I am sensitive to the emotional climate around me. When people are rejoicing, I join in and rejoice with them. When people are weeping and feeling brokenhearted, I am careful to show love and compassion to them. Because the Holy Spirit is teaching me how to appropriately respond to the various situations that arise in life, I am becoming more fit to minister to people in any given circumstance.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

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Questions to Answer

1. Have you ever shared a great victory with a person or group of people who did not rejoice along with you? Was their lack of response a great letdown to you?

2. Have you ever seen someone respond inappropriately to a moment of crisis? When people were brokenhearted and weeping, did that person laugh and make jokes at a very serious moment? How did his or her insensitivity to the moment affect the other people in the room?

Are there people in your life right now who need you to rejoice with them or weep with them?