Applause: Encouraging Others
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
Recommended Reading – Philippians 4:14-20
The Hebrew culture had a unique way of referring to “everything”: identify two opposite poles and let them represent everything in between (Psalm 139:8-12). There are traces of that figure of speech in Romans 12:15 where Paul writes about our need to identify with and encourage each other. The two opposite extremes are when someone weeps and when he rejoices. The implication is, “those two and all the times in between.”
If we are honest, we might say it is easier to “weep with those who weep” than to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Another person’s pain or hardship evokes empathy and compassion in us. We ourselves have suffered and we know what the other person is going through. Rejoicing in another’s success is more challenging. Perhaps we have experienced no equal successes or joys and find ourselves envious, even jealous, of another’s good fortune. Paul doesn’t place one need above the other; they are equally our responsibility.
You will meet someone today who is at either end of the emotional spectrum or somewhere in between. Ask God for grace to identify with them—especially to applaud them in their success.
The church should be a community of encouragement.