You know that verse in Romans 12 that says "rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep"?
I think we often focus on the weep with those who weep, because hey, rejoicing is easy, right? It's the being compassionate and empathetic and talking with those who need a friend that can be hard.
Well, I've been rethinking that lately. I think it's harder to rejoice with those who rejoice. Any of you who have ever had a friend who lost a husband or a child suddenly knows that weeping with those who weep is almost instinctual. We want to help, and bring meals, and comfort. We may not do it very well, but we want to.
But what do you do when a friend succeeds? What do you do when your sister gets pregnant after you've had three miscarriages in a row? What do you do when a friend lands a great job when you're stuck in a dead end one, and you feel like she's more successful? What about when a friend's child gets married, while yours have left the faith?
Or, to make it more personal for me, how do I handle meeting authors who are more successful than I am? How do I handle hearing that someone else has landed a book deal?
My oldest daughter is struggling with this right now because he sister has turned out to be really good at Bible quizzing. Rebecca's still better, but Katie's on her heels. Can Rebecca take it if Katie one day beats her in a quiz?
It's hard to rejoice with those who rejoice, isn't it? We're naturally inclined to be jealous. We want to be the ones who get all the good stuff, and when someone close to us succeeds at something we've been hoping and praying for, it is hard.
So how do you defeat that little green monster that makes us smile through clenched teeth and give that hug and say, "I'm so happy for you!", while inside you want to go outside and throw something? Or at least go and binge on chocolate?
I'm trying to figure out what to say to my daughter, because I want her to be generous with Katie. But the more I've thought about this issue, the more I realize it's a problem I have, too.
And maybe that's the way I'll handle it with Rebecca. We all want to be the best at everything. We all want our dreams to come true. But God has His own dreams for us, that we don't know. If we can realize we're all in the middle of God's dream, then maybe it's easier to be happy for someone else.
Because if we can't rejoice with those who rejoice, we're not very good friends and sisters, are we?
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Labels: friendship, jealousy, teens