What does it mean to weep with those who weep in Romans 12:15?
Paul gets to the application of his letter to the Romans and begins to talk about community expectations. As we live in our faith communities, Christian churches, he answered how we deal with one another.
To rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep is to live life together. This is what it means to be a Christian. It’s almost impossible to live the Christian life in solitude. How can you forgive if there’s no one to forgive?
As we live life together and share it with one another, when people have victories and triumphs, we rejoice with them. When another Christian gets a great paying job with benefits, sees one of their family members come to the Lord, overcomes an impossible situation by the power of Christ, we rejoice.
When others experience sorrows beyond measure, the death of a family member or friend, are persecuted for their faith, are suffering sickness, we weep with them. In these trying times, we lean on one another and rely on each other.
Jesus taught the same thing in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:4). He taught that we mourn with each other, and we comfort each other. But this is just the beginning of what it’s like to live in a Christian community.
When we are together, there shouldn’t be any quarreling or anger with one another. We must live in harmony and peace (Romans 12:13). The world is the place where we feel the disharmony. It’s like coming out of a cold, dark winter into the warmth and light of love and friendship.
We learn humility in our Christian communities. We don’t repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17). No Christian is perfect, and no Christian community is perfect. We make mistakes, have our moments when we sin against one another, and need forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
We seek peace in the community (Romans 12:18). The requirement of Scripture is that we ask for forgiveness. But we can’t force others to forgive us. So we do all we can to live at peace with everyone. Even if they don’t live in peace with us, we have done our part.
One could say Paul isn’t only referring to the Christian community, but to everyone we meet. We shouldn’t have enemies in our community, but they are in the world, against us. In such cases, we don’t seek our own vengeance for the way they wrongness. We leave it to God (Romans 12:19-20). This also is part of the teachings of Jesus.
In the world, we must not be influenced by worldly standards. Rather we must be the ones who influence others. We overcome evil with good, not evil (Romans 12:21). We surprise those in the world by not doing what is human nature. When we are harmed or persecuted, we bless those who do these things to us.