Developing Godly Character Part 3: Weeping with those who weep

Full disclosure:  I struggle with this one.  Not so much with the weeping with those who weep part of Romans  12:15, but the rejoicing with those who rejoice.  And it has been my experience that people often struggle with one or the other, and sometimes both, so this is not uncommon.  If it was uncommon, Paul wouldn’t have wasted the ink it took to write it down.

.

I am going to be blunt — it’s the jealousy and ingratitude still in my heart that makes it difficult for me to rejoice with people on some things.  I refuse to rejoice, and in doing so, I deny my Heavenly Father the praise He deserves for blessing someone — pure and simple.  I am not going to sugar coat it one bit.

.

I will expound more on that shameful admission in another blog post, but now I want to introduce the flip side of the coin — refusing to mourn with those who mourn.

.

I think that when I was repeatedly losing babies due to miscarriage (I was born with multiple reproductive birth defects), what hurt more than most anything else was the unwillingness of others to mourn with me.  I would be sad, and someone would ask why and I would tell them, and the response would be, “It was just a miscarriage, not a real baby!”  Not only were they unwilling to mourn with me, they also tried to guilt me out of my right to be a grieving mother,  and when we refuse to mourn with someone, that is exactly what we are doing — denying them dignity within their grief by telling them they have insufficient cause to mourn.

.

Or we can show them how little we esteem their pain by saying, “At least…”

“At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”

“At least it wasn’t born disabled.”

“At least you are married and have Jesus, having Him is better than having kids.”

.

In other words, “Your grief is not important to me, and it really shouldn’t be important to you either.”

.

But the Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn, and as we know that every Biblical law and counsel hangs either from the commandment to love God or love our neighbor or both — we can see that mourning with someone is loving them in a very intimate way.

.

So someone’s dad died, who they had a great relationship with, and they feel like their world is falling apart.  Mourn with them, or say nothing at all.  It isn’t the time to remind them about the fact that you would have killed to have that kind of relationship with your dad for even one day.  After all, isn’t that the sort of blessing we wish every child had?  If so, then mourn for the loss of that sort of relationship because something good in the world has passed away.

.

Judging the grief of another based upon what we think they should be thankful for only brings judgment down upon ourselves — because one day we will grieve for the loss of something that someone else covets.

.

Yes, covetousness.  The tenth commandment.  When we deny others our sorrow because they have what we want, that is the very heart of coveting in action.  And when we want something so badly that we hate those who have it through our actions, we are breaking the whole of Torah.  And we broke it because we hated them for having what God gave to them.  We judge God because we figure we should have that blessing for ourselves, and then we compound that selfishness by feeling they shouldn’t have if we don’t have it.  If I am not blessed, no one should be.

.

That attitude leads into another sinful attitude as well, and it is self-righteousness — being “too good” to mourn for this or that person because of this or that.

.

Yesterday I saw that a friend had commented on a fb status on my little sidebar and I clicked on it.  I was shocked to see that someone who I did not know was railing against the people who were mourning over the death of comedian/actor Robin Williams.  Rebuking them, telling them why they should not be mourning, etc.  But who are we to refuse to mourn with people who mourn, or to judge people for their grief?

.

Robin Williams as my children knew him, but I will always remember him as Mork from Ork
Robin Williams as my children knew him, but I will always remember him as Mork from Ork

.

I mourn Robin Williams, knowing very little about him personally.  I am grieved that a man was so incredibly depressed that he cut his wrists and hung himself.  And nothing else matters.  A human being was hurting more deeply than I can imagine, and he died without finding relief.  And people just like him die every day, hurting — and will we not mourn for them because we do not feel they are righteous enough to merit our attention?

.

Ez 18:23a Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?

.

If He doesn’t take pleasure in the deaths even of the wicked (and I am not casting aspersions on Mr Williams), then do we even dare rejoice and withhold mourning?  Does defiantly not mourning make us more or less righteous?  Does proclaiming our refusal to mourn portray us as loving or petty and spiteful?  More importantly, how does it represent the character of our King who said, “Blessed are those who mourn?”

.

If you hated Robin Williams and what he did and what he stood for, I guess you won.  He died miserable and alone and in a terribly dark place.  But when someone dies like that, no one wins, and even just for that reason alone — we should all weep.

image_pdfimage_print

2 Comments


  1. Brilliant and so true. :'(

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *