Speaking the Truth in Love

“Rejoice” Is in the Bible, Too

Christians often complain that there’s nothing on TV worth watching. This complaint is well-founded. But it’s more accurate to say that modern programs aren’t worth watching.

The morals encouraged in the 1950’s show “Leave It to Beaver” are often impressive. In one episode, Wally is denied a full scholarship at State, even though he has had a stellar athletic career in high school. Lumpy unexpectedly gets the scholarship instead. At work, Mr. Cleaver (Wally’s dad) is subjected to the boasts and cuts made by Lumpy’s obnoxious father.

Wally dismisses his own disappointment and throws a party to celebrate his friend’s success. When a D in math threatens Lumpy’s scholarship, Mr. Cleaver contacts the university and secures him a second chance.

Beaver (Wally’s younger brother) asks, “Dad, why are you doing this?” And Mr. Cleaver says, “Beaver, don’t you remember the story of the Good Samaritan?” Beaver replies, “Yes, I guess I just never connected Lumpy with Sunday school.”

The Lord teaches us to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). Mourning with grieving people isn’t that hard. Only a heartless person goes to the funeral home and feels no sympathy for the bereaved family. But celebrating the successes of others is far more challenging. If my child has a learning disability, hearing about your child’s perfect grades may be irritating. If my daughter’s marriage is a disaster, it may make me feel a little sick that your daughter is about to marry the kindest Christian guy on God’s green earth. If I’m unemployed, your landing the job of your dreams may tempt me to feel resentful.

Weep with those who weep.” That’s in the Bible. “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” That’s in the Bible, too. If we only rejoice over our own good news, there’s not nearly enough to celebrate. If we share in the joys of others, there’s always something to be happy about.

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