Rejoicing and Weeping

Weeping and Rejoicing

I have noticed a terrible habit that I have grown accustomed to displaying. First, I will tell you how I came to see that I have this habit. A week ago, I was visiting with both sides of our family and noticed that I have become horrible with light conversations. Once we talk about the weather or recent events, the conversation dies. And I started wondering why I have become so poor about sharing my life with others, even close family. Most people might get bored hearing about my personal life, specifically my ministry and my kids. Still, your family always wants to hear the latest installment… yet I don’t share that information.

So, I rounded up the usual suspects to discover what had changed in my life to inhibit my interpersonal communication habits. First, I targeted my biological and environmental factors to see what had changed. For example, biologically, I have gotten older, which means slightly more sedentary, but I also have a pretty active life, particularly if you factor in raising my kids. Another contributing factor is that perhaps I have grown more introverted in my old age… which tends to happen as we get older. Yet I have always been more extroverted than most, so even if that is the case, I still desire to converse with people.

Then I thought about environmental factors that have changed and how technology has possibly inhibited my conversational habits. You may have noticed that I don’t post much for those of you who I have friended on social media; my wonderful wife handles most of our familial media content. But I do scroll from time to time. And when I scroll, I am caught up on the latest happenings with everyone around me. Then, I give a brief “like” or “love” and move on with my day. Sharing the snippets of our lives is what these platforms were made for; include pictures (which are worth 1000 words), and you have a full-fledged novel moving past our eyes, giving us a virtual snapshot into each other’s lives.

Now to address my dwindling everyday dialogue. When I speak to people, I already know what they have been up to, and I assume they already know what I have been up to; therefore, there is nothing left to share. And I feel this is especially true when it comes to my family. They already know everything, so I think there is no need to divulge more information. But that’s the problem social media typically only highlights the most superficial surface level of events in our lives. It rarely portrays all the emotions and feelings that go into each portion of our day. Therefore, when I assume that my family knows everything, my assumption is wrong; they only know a small portion, the portion that I have revealed.

This causes me to reflect on God’sGod’s view of the church. Typically, what we see on a Sunday morning is the most superficial part of each other’s lives. We might get glimpses of each other’s high or low points, but ultimately, we miss the bigger picture. And so I think about Paul’sPaul’s words to the church in Rome.

Romans 12:15-16
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”

Three times in verse 16, Paul uses a conjugate of the Greek word φρονέω phronéō, from-eh’-o- to exercise the mind, i.e., entertain or have a sentiment or opinion, understanding, to feel or think. The phrases connected to this word are “be of the same mind,” “do not be haughty in mind,” and “do not be wise in your own estimation.” And so, it seems that the key to having the same mind and understanding each other is to rejoice and weep with those experiencing those same emotions. In other words, we should be sharing our lives in such a way that we can also share in our high and low points.

To tie these thoughts together, I witness within myself the reluctance to share my life events in person because I have already shared them through social media. However, that does not allow others the opportunity to rejoice or weep with me in person. We become linked with the “same mind” when we share these details of our lives, and each person can congratulate or comfort me in these moments of my life. If I want to grow in this community, I need to share my life with others, which means weeping and rejoicing even in the “small talk.”

One Response to “Rejoicing and Weeping”

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