Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

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

I think, as Christians, we’ve gotten pretty good at weeping with those who weep. We sit well with others hurting. We’ve learned, some of us better than others, to be okay with the uncomfortable emotions that accompany grief and pain. We can dive deep into misery alongside those around us.

But . . .

We’ve concurrently lost the ability to rejoice with those who rejoice. We exist in a highly competitive, get ahead at all costs, be the best society, and the church is no exception. Make no mistake, I believe in healthy competition. I believe that in the right context it propels you to push harder and do better. It is what helps us to push our limits beyond what we think is possible. But there is a point of diminishing returns with competition . . . when we can no longer be happy for others . . . when we can only celebrate successes if they’re less than our own . . . when we cannot say “good job”, “congratulations”, or “way to go” because we feel like the accomplishments of others somehow diminish ours . . . when we, I daresay, would rather see others fail than do well . . . we’ve reached the point where we’ve crossed the line from healthy competition into an unhealthy trap of comparison and jealousy that will only lead to misery.

Sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard to rejoice with those who rejoice. Especially, in direct competition, but this is not exclusive to direct competition. It seems to cross all lines, and it can be hard to watch others succeed when you don’t think, for whatever reason, they should. But feeding the monster of jealousy and envy and pride is never the answer. The answer can feel both impossibly hard and ridiculously simple . . . open your mouth and offer sincere encouragement and congratulations. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. It’s amazing how that silences the monster almost instantly.

We’ve learned to weep with those who are weeping, and now I think it’s time to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. To celebrate the successes and achievements of others just because it’s the right thing to do. And as with so many things, the unintended benefit is going to be a level of peace and joy in our lives that comes when we refuse to constantly play the comparison game.

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