On Wednesday night, 21-year-old suspect Dylann Roof allegedly opened fire during a Bible study at a South Carolina church and killed nine people. It’s been reported that he had been invited and welcomed to the study by the pastor of the church and had even joined with them as they prayed. There is so much to be said about this wickedness, so many different points to consider from a Christian worldview, ranging anywhere from racism to the sovereignty of God over evil. For today, we’ll address just one: weeping with those who weep.
In the context of describing genuine love, Paul writes,
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
Empathy is an important part of Christian life and love. It shows compassion on others. It is a love that hears about tragedy and doesn’t react with stoicism or cynicism. It is a love that causes one’s heart to break when he sees others weep.
Not at all to minimize this heartbreaking tragedy, we acknowledge that devastating events happen all over the world every day. Just glancing at today’s headlines, people have died from MERS in Asia. A plane stowaway’s body was found on a rooftop. A study shows that there are more displaced people across the world than ever before in history. The man who had plotted a beheading in Boston was charged today. Terrible things are happening every day.
And this sheep confesses that he often responds with hardness and apathy.
Brothers and sisters, true love considers tragedies like the Charleston shooting and prompts weeping with those who weep. There are family members and friends, survivors of those whose lives were violently taken, whose hearts are crushed this day. They long for justice and they long for peace. They weep. May we weep with them.
On the other hand, for those who were killed and had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not weeping. No, they are rejoicing in the presence of Jesus, the Savior. They have endured this light, momentary affliction, and are now experiencing a weight of glory beyond comparison. And with those souls, we rejoice. And we who believe in Jesus will likewise join them, soon enough.