Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.
Remember that Paul told us already that we shouldn’t be hypocritical when we show love for others. According to this verse, church should have both rejoicing and weeping in it. It is true that we have so much more to rejoice about than we have to cry about, but Paul doesn’t allow that to be an excuse to not share in the sufferings of others.
Church should be a place where people are free to cry when they hurt. It is important that we make people who are hurting feel just as welcome as those who are rejoicing. Remember, that Paul has been telling us that we are one body and are members of each other. When one part of the body hurts, the rest hurts too. If we don’t hurt together, then we are not acting like a body does! In the very next book of the Bible, Paul talks to the Corinthians about the same issue. Here’s what he says:
1 Corinthians 12:24b-26
But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
This really is true in a physical body too. When you are in pain, you may not have any idea what it is inside you that hurts but you certainly know that it is hurting! It doesn’t matter how much exposure that part is getting on the outside, the fact is that it hurts and needs attention. That’s how our church body should be too. Every part is important, whether it is a highly-visible part or not.
Fortunately, great things happen too and we should rejoice with each other. This can also be a challenge because our flesh may have the desire to be jealous of the happiness of
others. Our flesh is completely wrong, however, because we already are a part of each other. Our brother’s happiness is ours too!