Stepping away from the shallow end of the Barbie stick, I’m going to get real, real about me, real about the love in Christian relationships… lets talk about Love In Action: Romans 12:9-21
Romans 12:9 starts… “Love must be sincere.” NIV and “Let love be without hypocrisy.” NASB and my favorite “Let love be genuine.” ESV. There is so much truth to glean from this passage, but I’d like to focus on verse 15; “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Rejoice. The first part of this verse is not to difficult to master. Rejoice. We love happy stories. We love good news. We love to celebrate. Good grades. Engagements. Birth announcements. Promotions. Puppies. Rainbows… okay, now I’m reaching. But we rejoice. We rejoice with people we don’t know, and even people we don’t like. And we LOVE to rejoice with the people we love! We love to rejoice… we don’t love to weep.
Weep. When was the last time you cried with someone? I’m not talking about that hormonal, parental emotion that comes when Bambi’s mom became the hunter’s dinner. Or the somber hush when we remember a fallen solider. Not even the sadness that follows a tragedy like the a school shooting. Nor the tears that flow from personal heartbreak and loss. I’m talking about your heart breaking solely because someone else’s is breaking?! Don’t know about you, but this is not the easiest demonstration of love, but definitely one of the most necessary. Think this goes hand in hand with bearing each other’s burdens. Let’s be honest, if it makes us weep, we can label it in the burden category.
Our culture, even within the church body, finds spilling our guts to a certified counselor a whole lot easier than sharing with a Christian. But why? Where is the break down in this manifestation of Christian love? Why are we afraid to be that intimate and open with fellow believers? Do we not trust us to keep personal stuff private? Have we been burned too many times in the past? Are we afraid we’re going to judge or condemn us? Why don’t we weep with those who weep?
And this is one of the areas God has been growing me… and I wanted to end the post here – but then I wouldn’t have been getting real about me. I don’t like to be intimate and open with anyone unless I have to be. And I have one of those faces that people find trusting enough to open up and air their dry laundry or unveil the skeletons in their closets. However, neither of these prove either side of that Christian love thing. I don’t share because, I find that other’s don’t interrupt God’s grace on my life the way I do, plus I don’t like being confronted about sin. And I don’t bear someone’s burden, usually because it won’t or doesn’t directly impact my life. Sooo, I pray. I pray for compassion. For opportunity. For change of heart and attitude. I pray that my love for others will be genuine, sincere, and without hypocrisy.
Being that God’s into that answering pray thing, in the not too distant past, a friend of mine was handed, what I so lovingly refer to as, life’s worse case scenario. The kind of situation that only the grace of God will be able to positively influence. One where nothing anyone in the history of time could say or do that would be considered encouraging. This friend said to me “I don’t know what to do – I HAVE to share this with someone.” Which I understood to mean, “This burden hurts, here, you tote this for a while.” And I did. Not because of how horrendous the situation was (didn’t directly impact my life), but because it was the only way to love and encourage. I found tremendous joy having learned to authentically “weep with those weep.”
PS: Having such an honest face, lead me to acquire a bachelor’s in counseling.