Believers also display an “unfeigned identification.” Huh? I know, that’s a rather vague statement, isn’t it? Let me explain what I mean. Look at verse 15. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Another way we could render that is to say, “Share the happiness of those who are happy, and share the sorrow of those who are sad.” Do you see what I mean?
The point I am trying to make is that we need to be involved in the lives of those we want to reach. For instance, let’s see there is a death in a family. It would perfectly normal to say, “I am so sorry to hear about your loss. If you need something, please ask.” They won’t ask. First, they don’t want to burden you with their pain, but also they don’t have any idea what needs they may have . . . why don’t you take a proactive approach and simply be there for them?
I gave you an example of a time when I simply took care of the coats of guests attending the reception after a funeral. Someone once described Christians as “people who care.” Caring is good . . . action is better. We should be people who care enough to act.
We should care about those things that cause people to rejoice, and those things that cause people to weep. We should care so much that we are involved in their lives. We must have an unfeigned identification with the human condition. By unfeigned, I mean that is must be real, not put on. We cannot act as if we care. We must really care. In John’s Gospel, we see Jesus portrayed as someone who rejoiced and wept with people. His first “sign” was performed at a wedding. His last, at a funeral. One in life’s gladdest hour, the other in life’s saddest.
Yes. Once again, Jesus is our example. He identified with sinners — not with their sin, but with the human struggle to break free from sin and to live for God. He was called “a friend of sinners” (and criticized for it). But he didn’t identify with sinners in order to leave them in their sin and neither should we. Instead, we must identify with them in order to lead them out of sin into a new life with Jesus the Christ.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome