Am I Blue?
Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
Stoic philosophers in the first century taught that the way to happiness was to be disengaged from other people. You had to live among people, but you didn’t have to get too involved in their lives. If you did their rejoicing might provoke you to jealousy and their weeping might actually cause you to weep, so the best thing you could do, they taught, was to stay out of people’s lives.
That thought is still somewhat prevalent today. We no longer spend time visiting with our neighbors, or even talking on the phone. Life now in many instances is reduced to interaction over social media, or the occasional text messages. Most people don’t know a lot about the struggles that their friends and neighbors are going through because even though we are surrounded by people and can have constant internet interaction we actually live pretty isolated lives. It is the great irony of our world in an all the time connected society, we actually are isolated from one another.
Jesus called His followers 2000 years ago to live lives that were radically different than that. He called His followers to be involved, to love and to care. Remember He said the greatest commandment is to “love God” but the second one was like it, “love your neighbor as yourself.” He was calling His followers to a life of active involvement with other people. Paul follows up on the teaching of Jesus by explaining it this way, “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” In other words actively be involved in the lives of other people and really, truly care about them. Before Paul says to rejoice and to weep, he says in verse 10, “let love be genuine,” or “let love be without hypocrisy.” Really, truly care about and love other people, you can do that by celebrating when people celebrate and coming along side of people who are hurting and weeping with them. There is power in community.
I personally experienced this Sunday morning and I can say that it is truly humbling, yet motivating, and it feels your heart with hope and with love. Sunday was of course Autism awareness Sunday and the day that people were asked all over the world to wear blue for autism awareness. When I stood up to preach that morning, I looked around and guess what I saw? A lot of people wearing blue, a lot of people who were saying we support you and we weep with you in your struggles and we rejoice with you in your celebrations. Now to be fair a lot of people had no idea that Sunday was the day to wear blue for autism, but many of the ones that did put their blue on as a sign of saying we stand with you, and we pray for the struggles and rejoice in the celebrations of Isaac. It truly touched my heart, and the heart of my family.
Some of our friends even had shirts made that said, “I have a friend with autism, what is your friend’s super powers?” or “I love someone with autism.” We were given a card that morning that said, “the world is a better place because Isaac is in it.” My heart was moved and I was given hope, hope in knowing that Isaac was loved and that we were as well. There is power in community. It humbled me but it caused me to rejoice and to have strength for the days ahead.
Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. In other words love other people. Look around this week, there are a lot of people who need to be loved. A lot of people that need to see you rejoicing with them, and a lot of people who need to know that you are weeping right beside them as they weep through the struggles of life. Take time this week to love, you may not know the difference you have made this side of eternity but one day you will. Love other people for the glory of God.