Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (ESV)
The true believer in Jesus Christ knows what it means to offer sympathy to others. When we think of sympathy it is easy to think of a sympathy card. When someone is going through a difficult time it is a common practice to send a "Hallmark" card to make someone feel that they are not alone and that someone cares for their situation.
Our modern understanding of sympathy might be severely lacking. In some ways we want to feel as if we are being sympathetic towards someone, but we do not really want to get tangled up with their problems. It is very easy to send a card. It is quite another matter to have genuine feelings of sorrow for those who are in distress and to truly rejoice with those who are celebrating.
Paul demonstrates for us the standard of genuine sympathy for the believer. We weep when others weep. We rejoice when others rejoice. When was the last time that someone's tears brought you to a place of physical weeping? Have you grown so close with your brother or sister in Christ that you would be affected to this degree by their sorrow?
It might seem like an easier task to rejoice when others rejoice. Yet, even in that we may be lacking. Let's put it this way. How many people truly rejoice at others successes? Or do we clap for their successes while inwardly criticizing the way they achieved their success? Do we struggle with our own jealousy while we ought to simply be celebrating another.
Real sympathy is a Christian ideal. It is not as easy to offer as we might think. Ask the Lord to show you the ways you need His help in being genuine in rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep.