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In just a few days, it will have been a year since my mom slipped away from this world and entered the arms of Jesus. Easter was the last holiday we celebrated.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Our family all sat in the living room joking and laughing about who knows what, recalling the good ‘ole times.
But, while I have no recollection of our conversation, I do remember sitting right next to my mom, placing a hand on her knee a few times, like I always do as I share stories. It’s my go-to tendency. And her smile. Her radiant smile as I went on and on, story after story, and she just listened.
I miss that.
The days after came with some pretty harsh realities. We are never fully prepared for the loss of a loved one, especially one that was loved so very dearly.
The echoing sounds of hospital beeps and doctors dosing out the unthinkable diagnosis replayed in my mind for weeks, causing me to slip into a state I had never been in before.
I can still remember watching my dad (who is the calmest and most sincere man you will ever meet) break down, hitting the side of the hospital wall with his fist, wailing in a way I had never heard.
After the whirlwind of services and standing before a bunch of family and friends to deliver a speech about my mom that I somehow managed to get through without too many tears, I had moments in which I sat alone and cried until I had no tears left.
Pain does that. Greif can trigger all sorts of emotions. I tell you this story because after about a week of my precious mom being gone, I had a dear friend not only bring over dinner but sit with me. She didn’t really talk, but rather listened — intently. Then she did something that moved me beyond words. She wept with me!
I never told her how much that meant to me. The notion of her recognizing my sorrow and grief meant more to me than she will probably ever know.
As one that has experienced grief a few times on this journey, I have begun to learn and understand to an extent, the impact we can have on others when they undergo turmoil and pain. It’s in these times that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus (Matthew 18:8).
Jesus Is Our Example
Maybe the sound of weeping with others makes you feel a tad bit uncomfortable. I can understand that, but as believers, we are actually commanded to be humble servants of the Lord.
Let’s dive into Romans and take a look at what that actually looks like. The entire Book of Romans is chockful of wisdom, given to us in Paul’s letters, touching greatly upon God’s grace and salvation.
Since the human heart and mind naturally bends towards sin and can easily get swayed by the things of this world, God gave us a redemption plan with Jesus.
Jesus came to live a human life as an example for us. Jesus shows us how to love others, not just with words or simple actions, but to love with selfless sacrifice.
Romans 12:9 tells us that love is sincere. We are called to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, honoring one another higher than ourselves (Romans 12:10). We are to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, and practice hospitality (Romans 12:12-13).
Love is an act of selflessness. Loving like Jesus calls us to a place of surrendering ourselves to someone else’s needs, doing so with gentleness, kindness, compassion, and mercy. Romans 12:15 calls us to take it a step further and to weep for those who weep.
What Does Weeping Really Mean?
Weeping for those who are mourning or in sorrow is to simply have mercy and show empathy. In other words, it is to share in one’s painful experience, acknowledging what they are going through by matching their emotion.
While we may not be moved to physical tears, it invites us to serve those in pain by being led and moved by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It gives us the opportunity to love mercifully and carry their burden, bringing us to a place where we not only recognize their sorrow but feel it as well.
There are several instances in which Jesus wept. While we portray Jesus in many lights, from bold like a lion to meek and gentle as a lamb, Jesus was a man that suffered grief and deep loss. Jesus knew about sorrow and mourning and modeled for us how to comfort those who are hurting.
Jesus wept when He heard of His friend Lazarus and was met by Mary, who fell at His feet in pure anguish. It is said that when Jesus saw Mary weeping that it moved Him deeply and troubled Him (John 11:33).
Jesus also wept over the town of Jerusalem during His triumphal entry, riding on a lowly donkey, all the while knowing His fate. Yet He wept not for Himself, but for this city.
As the people lowered their palm branches and proclaimed, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19: 38), Jesus saw a crowd of people that were lost and in search of peace (Luke 19:42).
Jesus also wept in prayer and supplication. We see Him do this in Hebrews 5:7. Jesus offers up prayers for the people, just as high priests did at this time. Jesus is showing His human nature and ways we, too, can step into the role of tenderness for those that need comfort.
We Are Called to Weep Like Jesus
Jesus sets the tone for us in the way we can gently love others who are weary and gripped by tears.
1. Tap into your tender side. It can feel somewhat awkward and uncomfortable witnessing someone who is weeping, maybe even causing us to retreat, but Jesus’ actions remind us that compassion is not only needed but expected of us as believers.
Showing compassion can be as simple as listening or extending a hug. These actions show that you are troubled and saddened by their state. This also acknowledges their pain, helping them feel seen instead of bringing them more pain by feeling forgotten.
2. Notice the non-verbal cues. Many times, it is the internal weeping that we fail to recognize. If you recognize that a person is acting differently or seems withdrawn, seek God’s wisdom on how to reach out to them and check-in. Just a sweet text or call could mean so much.
3. Recognize the power of your prayers. When we reach out to God and ask for peace and comfort for those who are weeping, it does two things: recognizes God as the ultimate comforter and invites us to gain wisdom on how to love others better.
So, pray for those that need comfort and ask God to bring them a source of everlasting hope and timely healing.
A Closing Prayer
Lord, we humble ourselves before You, seeking Your love and forgiveness where we fail to love others the way You have so graciously shown us. Please soften our hearts and help us learn what it means to truly weep with those who weep and follow Your beautiful example. Help us gently walk beside those in deep pain and show compassion with our actions. Amen.
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Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.