Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know.
Paul mentioned that part of growth in the Christian life is how we interact with others. As we rejoice with others, we will also weep with others. I wrote about what rejoicing with others looks like, and now we look at weeping with others—both are marks of unity.
The second part of Romans 12:15, says to “weep with those who weep.” There is a sense of sympathy and empathy that we should have toward those who are hurting. Sympathy is having sorrow for someone while empathy is sharing in their sorrow. Christian unity knows that when one sorrows, the body sorrows. We are united in Christ because of Christ, and as Christians, we have been adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:15). When a brother or sister in the Lord suffers, we suffer and come together to support them.
When we weep with those who weep, we are showing God’s character. God is compassionate (Deuteronomy 4:31) and His compassion never ends or fails (Lamentations 3:22). God cares so much that He knows when we cry and puts our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56). God, who is tenderhearted and forgiving, has asked of us the same thing—to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32). When we weep with those who weep, we are displaying God’s characteristics with others.
Here are some things that we should weep over with others:
Weep over Sin
The implications of the Fall have a wide effect. The Fall changed the world and human beings (see Genesis 3). And the ravages of sin have left their mark.
We live in a day and age where we see how dangerous and devastating sin is. We know that the devil desires to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). We see how destructive sin has been in our lives and in the lives of others. We weep over the sin in our lives and we weep with those who are touched by the sin of others. We weep over the destructive nature of sin and how relationships have been destroyed by the lies of the evil one. We weep over the lives that have been damaged over sinful decisions. We see the vicious evil in this country and our world and weep over it with others. We weep for those who should weep over their sin but do not. We weep over those who have not repented of their sin and are in rebellion.
We weep with those who weep, but not without hope. We weep over what sin has done, but we also remind ourselves that Jesus Christ defeated the devil on the cross and through His resurrection. We say, “How long, Oh Lord,” knowing that one day Jesus is coming back to make all wrong things right. We remind ourselves, as Jesus said, “that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Amen!
Weep over Disease
When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, everything changed. Part of the fall is sickness and disease. I hate cancer, I hate disease, and I hate hearing the news about so-and-so and what they are fighting. I weep with those who weep over sickness and disease, but I also know that what the devil intended for harm and evil, God intends for good (Genesis 50:20). I know that even through sickness and disease, God can be glorified.
As believers, we weep with those who weep over sickness and disease but—again—not without hope. We know for the believer that though the body may be perishing, our inner soul is being renewed, and this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:16–17). God is good and does good!
Weep over Death
The final swoop of sin may seem to be death. We weep over death. We know that for the believer, death is not the end, but it still is hard. We weep with those who have lost loved ones. We weep with those that we may not know personally, but who have felt the sting of death in their families. We weep because we know death was not the way it is supposed to be, but sin brought forth death (Romans 6:23).
Our weeping is not the final answer. As believers, we know that Jesus Christ is our victorious King who defeated death and the grave through His resurrection from the grave. That is why we can sing just like that early church did, “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55–57 esv).
Christian unity is shown by us weeping with each other. There is strength in our presence because we weep, not without hope, but longing for that day to be in the presence of the Lord where there is no more death and no more sin.