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Faith Alive! | Commandments of Christ 11

11. Concerning your own character: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15)

From issue 90 (May 2008)

IN the highest and lowest times in our lives, situations always seem to be so much better if we have others with whom we can share the experience. Aren’t the best times almost always good because they were shared with those we love? In the worst times of life we really need others most. But in this busy world are we making enough time to share our lives with others?

Many of us have had a similar conversation – it’s the ‘How are you?’ ‘Fine’ conversation. The person we are speaking to is somebody we know, but yet somebody we don’t know that well. Sounds familiar?

Paul instructs us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). If we don’t really know others well, how can we know what makes them happy or makes them weep? We can’t help them to the kingdom unless we really find out what makes them tick. How can we have sympathy, let alone empathy, with somebody if we have never really listened to them? But to do this takes effort. It will probably mean that we take a risk ourselves and become vulnerable by showing them what we are really like. The results can be amazing and can lead to deep and lasting friendship and true brothers and sisters do need to take this step.

We should be so close to our brothers and sisters that Paul’s words become true in our lives when he writes, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25,26).

Paralytic man

One group of people that exemplify this teaching of Paul are the friends who carried the paralysed man to Jesus (see Mark 2:1-5). This man would have been difficult to know because of his situation in life. He would have been very dependent on the people around him for what we would class as the most basic of tasks. At times being friends with this man must have been an inconvenience to these friends but still they stuck by him, perhaps because they recognised that life for him would have been very difficult without their help. I think that these men would indeed have been with this man in his hours of weeping.

The determination that the friends demonstrate in getting this man before Jesus to be healed can be seen, even going as far as taking off the roof of a house. How they must have prayed that this man would be healed. It is their faith as well as the faith of the paralytic man which is recognised and rewarded by Jesus in the healing of their friend: “When Jesus saw their faith” (Mark 2:5). The joy of seeing their friend healed must have filled the men with a whole multitude of emotions: joy, relief, gratitude to name but a few.

Lessons

What lessons are there in this passage for us? Take time to think about how you would apply this passage to your life and the people you know. We should feel the weeping and the joys of others personally; we should make time to be there for brothers and sisters, friends and family. In this busy world it is easy for us to rush prayer and not to make time to visit others. Perhaps we can change that.

On a practical level, to help us pray for others if we feel we are getting a little self-centred in our prayers, perhaps we can write down a prayer list consisting of people we know who may be having difficulties and pray to God for them. Begin to pray for each person individually; we don’t have to cover everybody in one prayer, just a few each day perhaps. Not only are we following a scriptural precedent but we shall hopefully begin to think about that person and their needs more and hopefully try to meet those needs if we can, or rejoice with them in any blessings they have been given.

So this week, or this month or this year, perhaps we can all resolve to weep and rejoice with our brothers and sisters, friends and family; to put their needs at the forefront of our minds and in our prayers to God and praise God for His wonderful and joyous blessings to us.

Becky Parsons

Quotations from NKJV

 

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