Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Love Journey: Rejoice and Mourn

on February 24, 2014

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

I have yet another sad “truth” to admit about my past behavior patterns.  I used to have a serious  issue with envy.  As I reflect on life today, I can see that God has done a great redemptive work in that area.  It wasn’t always so.

I used to look around me constantly.  I looked at you.  I looked at what you wore, how you carried yourself, what your hair looked like, the clothes you wore, how you talked, what you talked about, how you lived, where you lived, what car you drove, how much money you had, and of course (can’t forget this one) what size your body was and how attractive you were.

I was constantly looking at you.  Before you wonder what kind of freak I am, staring at you in such an intense way….let me explain why I did it.  I was never satisfied with me, and I longed always to be you….whoever “you” might be.  You always had it better than I did.  You always looked better than I did.  You were always more attractive, happier, had it more together, wore better clothes, lived in a better neighborhood, drove a nicer car, and talked about such a wonderful life. My heart would swell as you would talk about the wonderful things you had….swell to the point of explosion….with envy, bitterness, resentment, and self-pity.  I know, such ugly words.  But true.

I was the most discontent person I knew, and I was convinced, that YOU were the most content.  So, whatever you had, I wanted it.  And I wasn’t going to stop until I had it.  So, I manipulated my circumstances to try to match what I thought they were supposed to be.  I manipulated my relationships, I manipulated my own thinking….just so I could line up with what you seemed to be.

And if you had something wonderful happen in your life….forget about it.  My slight envy turned into to full-blown jealousy.  I could NOT be happy for you, because it meant that things were looking worse for me.  And…if something unfortunate happened in your life, I actually would feel better inside, because my situation started to look better.  Oh…what a very sick and twisted way to think, to feel, to BE! And “YOU” were the very people in my life that I was supposed to be LOVING!!!

Let’s just stop here, and look at verse 15.

What does this verse tell me about LOVE?

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Rejoice:  To feel or show great joy

Mourn:  To feel or show great sadness

With:  used to show that people are TOGETHER in one place

Right here, in this very verse….sits the heart of WHY I was constantly discontent with my life.  It’s the ugliness of comparison.  Continuously comparing my life with yours, left me always feeling an emptiness inside that could NOT be filled by anyone or anything (TRUST ME:  I tried it all!). In fact, the only satisfaction for that emptiness, the only cure for the constant ache of comparison….lies NOT in the acquiring any material possession, but ONLY in the unconditional love of ONE PERSON: Christ Jesus Himself.

What does Christ say about love?  What example did He set for us when He walked this earth?  He walked in a constant posture of humility, always being WITH His people, sincerely devoted to them, honoring them above himself, doing life WITH them….right alongside.  He rejoiced WITH his friends(the wedding at Cana) and mourned WITH them as well (the death of Lazarus).  Christ shows us that true love exists WITH others, not separate from them.
When I was constantly comparing myself to you, I could only exist on the outside of your life….I was separate, isolated on the island of “Self”.  And love cannot exist in the vast darkness of isolation.

So, what is my “take-away” from this passage in the context of love?

REJOICE when those I love rejoice!  Experience joy WITH them on their journey.  Sincerely find happiness in the success of others.  Support, encourage, and LOVE them through their happy times!  MOURN when those I love mourn.  Experience sorrow WITH them on their journey.  Sincerely enter into the grieving, the pain, the difficulties WITH them.  Support, encourage, and LOVE them through their hardships.

I have found that when I isolate myself from others, and only look at how their success or failure affects me…. I will was never able to experience and show the true depth of love that the Lord commands of me.

I have also discovered that when I ENTER into others’ lives in a sincere and loving way, when I let their pain become my pain, and their happiness become my happiness, the love that Christ commands of me is a natural by-product of the experience.  No effort necessary.

REFLECT:

Am I envious of anyone?

Do I sincerely enter into the joy and hardship of others in my life?

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2 responses to “Love Journey: Rejoice and Mourn

  1. Tracy Stella says:

    Great post, Dawn! I love the colors you chose for your blog. Reminds me of spring and robbins’ eggs and a fresh, new season.

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