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Reflections on Romans 12:15 (Tue)

Sorry about posting this so late–WIFI has been intermittent.

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Today’s passage:*

12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. [NET]

Today we’re encouraged to enter into the experience of another. To fully join them on their journey and walk with them through hardships and celebrations.

Disney does a good job at rejoicing. Their motto is: “Celebrate Everyday,” and they do that enthusiastically.

Enthusiasm and Empathy seem to be two main character traits needed to obey this verse.

I don’t think I’m very good at keeping this verse–I’m not especially good at either enthusiam or empathy. I’m a thinker, not a feeler. I have a hard time rejoicing or weeping even over my own life, not to mention the lives of others. I’m even-keeled, matter-of-fact, rather stoic, an ascetic. Even being here at Disney World is something that’s fun and interesting, but I can’t say I’m very caught up in feellings about it.

I tend to be aloof and myopic–nearsighted to the point where I don’t notice the experiences of others–and therefore I think I’m often insensitive. I’ve been told that this seeming indifference of mine has offended and hurt others in the past. I have no doubt that it happens and sadly I’m not even aware of it when it happens. My insensitivity is never intentional–if I could apologize to anyone who has felt this way about me, I would do so in a second. I don’t like this about myself.

So now I will pose some questions as a “thinker.” How does someone like me obey this verse? Is it possible? If so, how does one generate empathy and enthusiasm when these things don’t come naturally? Is it a matter of using what we’ve been given as best we can? Is it that we don’t have to compare ourselves to others (who may have great natural abilities at enthusiasm and empathy) and instead are to just use what we have as best we can?

I suspect so. Lord, may I be supernaturally sensitized to the experience of others that I may rejoice and weep with them to the best of my ability.

(*For this summer, I’ve divided up Romans 12-16 into daily readings and have committed to daily journaling my reflections about each to correspond with Pastor Bob’s sermon series.)

1 Comment

  1. Martha Troxel

    July 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Having failed at this more times than I would like to admit and even recently, I am acutely aware that this is not something natural either. I obviously need to pray for the Lord to help me!

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