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Cheerleaders and fellow mourners

My pastor preached that we should be “cheerleaders” for fellow Christians  when something happens to them that would cause them to rejoice, and mourners when they suffer. While I would wholeheartedly agree with him, I would also suggest that we do the same for anyone if there is a biblical reason for us to rejoice with them, and mourn when someone is suffering, regardless of if they believe or not.

God has convicted me in this area because I realized that like most people I tend to rejoice with others with selfish parameters. For instance, a friend of mine recently got a promotion at work, and I do rejoice with her. However, if this person wasn’t a friend, but someone who I didn’t get along with or didn’t know as well, would I have still rejoiced? I would have to admit that my heart would probably have not rejoiced. Why? Because my heart, like most hearts if we are honest, likes to only rejoice when we get something out of it.

People tend to be similar when it comes to biblical mourning when someone else suffers or is distraught. When we know personally the person who is upset or suffering  we tend to mourn with greater passion and empathy than if we don’t know them at all or if they tend to be someone we don’t like or care about. How many of us (if we are honest) get a sense of joy and glee when an enemy of ours (besides satan of course) suffers, even a little bit? But we are commanded by God to “Mourn with those who mourn,” in Romans 12:15, without any parameters to who is mourning. For instance, it does NOT say, “Mourn with those who mourn who you know personally.” It just says “Mourn with those who mourn. Furthermore, we are commanded in Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.” (NASB).  I know it’s easier to curse those who curse you instead, but when we bless those we don’t like, it “heaps burning coals on their head” so to speak, and they usually begin to soften towards you, and if you keep being kind to them and mourning when they suffer even for their own evil actions, soon you may find that it may be easier to get along with them.

It can be difficult to relate to a stranger that is suffering because you don’t see them personally suffering, but when we even try to relate to them and enter into their world (at least a little bit), we find that we get to know them a little bit better. We probably won’t weep as much as if someone we know personally is suffering, but we can at least “show” that we care about the stranger or someone you don’t know as well in their suffering by praying more intensely for their needs than you normally would.

So, if we are to be growing followers of Christ, we need to strive not just to rejoice and mourn (when appropriate) to those people we know, love, and care about, but also those we don’t know so well or maybe don’t like so much. Of course, we need to rejoice over biblical things and mourn over sin and other things that cause God grief. Jesus always had a radical approach to things.-Will we love with the radical love He loved, or will we fail to get out of our comfort zones and not make as much of an impact that we could have?

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