Thursday, October 11, 2012

6 Reasons We Don’t Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice or Mourn With Those Who Mourn

Last night I preached on Romans 12:15-16.  It’s a tremendous passage that if applied to our lives is a great barometer of our pride.  Seldom do we rejoice with those that rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.  In preparation for the sermon I found help from a sermon that John Piper preached on the same text.  Here he lists six reasons why we might not be rejoice with those who rejoice or weep with those who weep.  I thought you might benefit from them too:

  1. We are too wrapped up in ourselves to rejoice or weep with others. We are so self-oriented that what is happening in the hearts of others has no effect on us.
  2. We feel above the emotional life of the ordinary person. Children laugh. Women cry. I’m a man. Or it doesn’t have to be male arrogance. It may be merely high-brow arrogance. To laugh with them or to cry with them would put me down on their level and I have a certain refined, aristocratic, high-culture status to preserve.
  3. We are hypercritical and our main reaction when we see emotion is to analyze it and point out its distortions or excesses or bad tendencies or shallow roots. So our hypercritical analytical heart keeps us emotionally at a distance and prevents our hearts from empathy with others.
  4. We are resentful or envious they have joy and we don’t. We feel gypped, passed over, given a raw deal. So envy makes it impossible for us to rejoice in their joy.
  5. We are simply the kind of personality that doesn’t have a discernable emotional life. We don’t rejoice or weep over anything. And so we don’t weep or rejoice with others. It may be owing to parents. Or to a traumatic experience. Or to some physical condition.
  6. We may be depressed and temporarily numb in our own emotions.


  1. What if you are self conscience and don't want someone crying or joyful to think that you are mimiking them or wanting to steal their thunder. What if you are concerned about the perceptions of others?

    1. That's a good question. First, I think if someone would actually be worried about you "stealing their thunder" then it's not real joy or weeping. In that case you aren't commanded to fake rejoice that are fake rejoicing, etc. When you really are rejoicing you long for it to be shared. When you are really weeping you may not necessarily long for it to be shared but I doubt you'd be upset for someone "stealing your thunder". If so, that's on them.

      Second, I do think that being overly concerned about the perceptions of others--while sounding--noble can actually be a mask for pride. I say that as somebody that struggles with this very thing. Sometimes I struggle to enter into peoples rejoicing or suffering simply b/c I'm not sure I'm welcome. That's part of why this verse was so convicting for me. I'm not given an out. Truth be told I'm more nervous about looking like a fool or being viewed as "unwelcome" than I am about actually entering into peoples lives. For me, that's pride.

      Good question. I know I only answered it in part, but hopefully that will at least set a direction for you to think through this question.

  2. Yeah, I think my concern is more coming off as weird or psycho. I was referring to stealing thunder as that person who is always wanting to "one up you" when you tell them something. You say, "I'm frustrated at my job" and all they come back with is, "Oh yeah? Well let me tell you about my job!" I don't want to come across like that. Also, one time I was praying with someone and I was feeling great sorrow for them and actually cried. When we were done praying, they looked up at me and were smiling and fine. That was awkward.

    1. Perhaps they were "smiling and fine" because of actually having someone entering into their suffering. Or maybe their just mental.



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