|Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”.|
We move through life, rubbing shoulders with many people. Most we don’t notice.
We do notice 2 different kinds–the ones we enjoy and the ones that irritate us.
How do you feel about those people? Especially, the second category? Do you assume they are irritating us on purpose?
But…are they, really?
The apostle Paul instructed us to: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
It sounds simple. But as with most simple things, it is harder than it seems.
It requires a special trait called “empathy,” the ability to feel the same pain as another.
Perhaps this story will help us understand it.
A man sat drinking his morning coffee when an infernal sound disturbed the quiet of his morning. He thought it was a car alarm. Instead, he went to the window and discovered it was a northern mockingbird. Here is how he tells his story:
The volume was incredible, twice as loud as any robin, blue jay, or cardinal I’ve ever heard. I tried earplugs and pulling a pillow over my head, both to no avail. The mockingbird pegged the decibel meter morning after morning.
I tolerated the bird the first year. The second spring I went to war. I borrowed a BB gun from my secretary. She insisted I take the safety goggles as well.
Early one Saturday I tiptoed into the backyard, BB gun in hand, and waited by the patio table. I spotted him at about 6:15, sitting on the power line that stretched from the pole to the house. Before I could raise the gun, he was gone—hiding in the top of a neighbor’s sugar maple. He made a few more runs from the tree to the power line to the roof of the house, but I never had a clear shot. I went inside at about 8:00, equal parts ashamed for wanting to kill the poor bird and discouraged for being so inept with a BB gun.
My ambush having proven fruitless, I figured I needed more information. I googled “killing mockingbirds” but all the references were to Harper Lee’s book. I knew it was not an instruction manual. Then I googled “mockingbirds.” What I found was astounding. A male mockingbird has as many as 200 songs in his repertoire. Males and females build their nest together and may call on other mockingbirds to protect the nest in the event of an attack. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. “These are incredibly fascinating birds,” I told my wife.
With dripping sarcasm, she replied, “So, you still need that BB gun?”
When we find ourselves irritated, think of them as a mockingbird. Try to find out more about what is happening in their lives. It may explain much. And when you do, you will feel with them and feel better about them.
-Robert G. Taylor-