So, my grandson who is four years old beat me at a game of memory. There are a lot of reasons this happened. The cards, for example had some sort of out of this world superpower heroes. I didn’t know them. He did. By name.
They had tentacles, fangs, green goop, and could fly through the air in-between plays. This was not fair. He kicked the legs of the table and made the cards skid and slide from one place into another. It wasn’t fair either. I had been distracted. It wasn’t fair.
Today when we set up the game, I was determined not to get beat by little chubby hands cleaning off those weird pictured cards into a growing pile. I was out for purple venom or something. Grandma vs. Grandchild.
“Gamma, I beat you. ‘Member?” he fueled it with every move.
I remembered. Quite well in fact.
I got to a pretty safe spot, with my pile taller than his when the reality for us both began to sink under his soft little skin. He was on his way to losing.
“I’m not going to win,” he whined.
“Oh, but remember last time?” I soothed.
He nodded happily. “I beat you Gamma.”
I wiped two more matches.
He responded with a kick at the table leg and another, “Nooooo! I not gonna win!” And his arms crossed. Every Grandma knows to watch out for crossed arms. His bottom lip hung. Grandparents have vivid memories of hanging lips.
At that point, I let him take some matches. His stack grew but I won by one match.
“Not fair,” he declared.
The pouting turned dramatic. Wails, beating his little chest, gnashing of teeth, and full blown heartache despair on the cold floor.
I am not fond of seeing myself in my grandchild’s tantrum, especially if it happened only days ago.
Muddy Pity Parties
The Apostle Paul, in one of his blunt and succinct lists of Christian standards tells us to: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 NKJV
Honestly, it’s often a lot easier for me to weep with those who weep than rejoice with those who rejoice. And that’s just mixed up, isn’t it?
I play games of Other People Can. It’s easily found on the rack with It’s Not Fair and How Come I Didn’t Get That?
I find I can be quite magnanimous to others when I have an advantage, much less so if I am an underdog.
Do You Really Want Others to Succeed?
Recently I attended a gathering where I felt a certain lack of success. Remember Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:8-10 of the lost coin? After the woman looked all over her house, she found it and called her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. In that group I felt like everyone else had their coin, and I was next door muttering, “No fair, where’s mine?”
As I sat in my muddy pity puddle, thinking how wicked I was for being envious of others (also true), it struck me how totally I’d robbed Jesus’ honor. The achievements and success they received came from His hand.
Rejoicing with others can hurt. Before a friend’s daughter passed away from cancer, another mother whose daughter also battled cancer in the same hospital, was declared cancer free. My friend rejoiced with her. What a sacrifice of praise.
It doesn’t take great searching to find another’s heartache which unmasks ours to be no more than a child’s tantrum. It doesn’t take great searching to find another’s heartache which unmasks ours to be no more than a child’s tantrum. Click To Tweet
Joy And Sorrow
How can we rejoice with others as Paul commands us to?
- Recognize another’s joy is God’s gift. Praise Him for showing His love and grace to them through that particular blessing, not because it feels good, but because it is right.
- Submit to trust. God is in control. He accomplishes His plan in His way both for the one rejoicing and the one sorrowing.
- Be assured God understands sorrow. He knows how often the joy of one highlights the sorrow of another and He has purpose in both. Thank Him for their joy and talk to Him about your own sorrow. He knows. He gets it. He cares.
- Get rid of the blockage. Confess and repent. Envy and pride do not belong in the same room with Jesus.
Soon after my grandson left, my phone buzzed. The call came from my son’s phone.
“Hi,” I answered.
A little penitent voice responded, “I sorry Gamma, I fussed when I didn’t win.”
May I be as that little child.
If I hold my misery against other’s elation, two natures within me do not match. For when I am displeased by another’s success, in effect I am suggesting God is somehow unjust. Blessings granted others have joyful purpose for my growth too.
How about you? Do you ever find it difficult to rejoice with those who rejoice? What do you do to overcome it?