January/08/2018 14:31 Filed in: encouragement
Years ago, I was sharing some exciting news with a friend of mine that I greatly admired. It was a bit of a sensitive subject for him since he was desiring some of the same things to transpire in his life. He responded to my excitement by saying, “That’s good for you, but you will understand if I am not too excited.” I most certainly did understand--he had experienced a lot of heartbreak and I am sure it was a sore spot for him--but I still felt a little bit deflated. About a week later my good news turned sour, and I was heartbroken. Once he heard my bad news, he said to me, “Hey, if you need anything, you know I am here.”
I thought, “There is no way I would ever go to you. You are willing to cry with me but not rejoice with me.” Immediately I had an understanding to Paul’s admonishment in Romans chapter 12.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
We all love to celebrate; we equally dread mourning, but we will all go through spots in our lives where there will be reasons for both.
“There is a time for everything... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Whether you are in a season of rejoicing or a season of mourning, you don’t want to go at it alone. I mean, how fun is it to celebrate by yourself and how difficult is it to mourn and have nobody to help you along?
I’ve known a lot of people throughout my life who wanted to rejoice with me on a big win in celebration. However, when the difficult seasons came, they were nowhere to be found. No calls, no text, simply silence. On the flip side, I have had people that were readily available when I was going through a difficult time. They want to offer advice, or insight, but they never want to celebrate with me. They are compassionate, but not celebratory. It’s so difficult to receive anything from a person that is only with me on one side.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for both types of folks in my life. However, my life is most enriched by those that are willing to do BOTH with me. Rejoicing and morning with others is at the core of living in community.
Here are a couple of thoughts in rejoicing and morning with others:
1. Celebrate the small.
There is no victory too small to be celebrated.
Keep in mind that just because _you_ don’t think something is significant, it can be significant to them. You never know how much hope and prayer has gone into what has just transpired in their life.
2. Be excited for the person.
If somebody shares with you something that they are excited about, be excited with them and for them. You don’t have to be excited or even like what they are excited about, but you like them and you are excited for them! Have a genuine love and a rejoicing spirit for others!
Mourning with Others:
1. People mourn differently.
Some people want to mourn alone, others want to process things with another person. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that just because somebody is quiet that they are not processing. Don’t ever try to force somebody to talk about the situation they are mourning. You don’t have to give answers and solutions to help speed up the mourning process. In fact, that is a poor way to mourn with others. Mourning is a process, and it takes as long as it does for each individual.
2. Be available.
Although people may prefer to mourn alone, they should never have to be. Let them know you are there and check on them from time to time. Not with advice, but with availability. Some of my greatest encouragement in difficult times was folks simply telling me that they were there for me, or they were thinking and praying for me.
Let’s continue down the path of genuine, authentic community, and be a beacon of hope or a party waiting to happen for the friends God has put in our lives.