“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
This verse reminds us that God intends for us to share the joys and pains of the members of our church family. This is no “formal”, casual relationship we are to have there. We are to truly be family for each other — and that takes more than an hour or two a week to build. The bottom line is, we are to DO LIFE TOGETHER with those in our church fellowship, feeling their pains, and celebrating their victories together with them.
This is actually what the word “sym-pathy” means: sum (together) pathos (feeling). It means just what this verse commands: that we are to share whatever emotions our brothers & sisters are experiencing, together with them.
Sometimes people purposefully try to “insulate” themselves from pain by keeping their distance from others. They see love as an invitation to hurt. And truly, sometimes it is. But God tells us here that backing away from from relationships for the sake of avoiding pain is NOT the Christian practice. Feeling pain is often the cost one must pay to have close relationships, and God commands us to pay that price. He did for us!
So He commands us here to follow in His steps, and to “sym-pathize” with the fellow members of our church body: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Sum-pathos: feel together.