Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Economy of Tears

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Live in harmony with one another.

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate
with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  

Romans 12:9-16

Yesterday this verse donned flesh and followed me the entire day.

I'm often found on the upside of it, as laughter/rejoicing is a welcome & frequent attendant in my life.  But yesterday I had great difficulty with the underside of the verse; and even more difficulty holding back tears.  I confess I failed.  They flowed often, and easily as I wept with those who weep - - at a loss as to what balm to apply that might salve a hurting, mortal wound.

We must embrace pain and
burn it as fuel for our journey.
~Kenji Miyazawa

I find it compelling that this collection of verses from Romans 12 - long among my favorites - marries such diverse elements as evil & good, joy & sorrow, humility & conceit.  It's not uncommon, for truly we know that God's economy is weighted like this throughout the ancient texts. 

It's the mingling of all this with the admonition to not be conceited that compels me today. 

Why that?

I'm not totally certain, but I have to wonder if it doesn't have something to do with thinking I know what's best, be it for another or for myself?  I have to wonder if cavalier or presumptuous summations (aka pat answers), or manipulative praying doesn't reveal the under-belly of conceit?  Otherwise why place such an admonition alongside such hospitable gestures done on behalf of another?  How and for who does the conceited one pray, or weep - or rejoice, for that matter?

How is it possible to be conceited when serving another so nobly?  I think the answer(s) are many & varied, but one's things for certain:  There is no shame in sorrow, and no victory in avoiding the human condition.

Jesus wept.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh."  
Luke 6:20-21

Earth has no sorrow
that Heaven cannot heal. 
~Author Unknown

Footnote:  Thanks to Terri's comment, I feel compelled to affirm God's sovereignty and goodness.   We could not live out Romans 12 at all or in any facet were that not true.  So, we can pray along these lines all day long and never err, certain that it is a LACK of conceit that allows us to draw near to Him, and to lean upon His everlasting arms. 


Terri Tiffany said...

I am not sure if it is conceit but a faith that we know inside our souls and hearts that GOd is always in charge and has good plans for us. I have coveted your wisdom and advice over these past years.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

love this post my friend. some real good meat in here today and i thank you always for allowing God to speak through you.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I think my first comment disappeared for some cyber reason, but I decided to share again. I think that whenever one of God's children share deep hurt or concern for those who are hurting, it is a beautiful reflection of God's amazing grace and love working through their hearts. "Pride" so often distorts our thoughts, actions, and our analyzes of situations that we encounter in daily life. We think we know, we think we understand, and we think we can offer the best rememdies. How wrong we are so often. God has blessed you with a compassionate heart and I am thankful. God teaches me so much through you.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Recently with all the losses here in the south through natural disasters I have joined in the weeping. My heart has been heavy.

Thanks for all the thoughts makes you stop and think and not just read across the word without taking it all in.
Great post

Rita said...

Today I am not weeping, but rejoicing because the tornado that was coming towards our home turned and went the other way, away from homes into the open country area and many lives were spared. But I do weep for those who were not near as fortunate as we were.

Rebecca said...

This chapter keeps coming back to my attention...if we had nothing else of God's Word for direction, this could carry us for a lifetime!

I'd never heard it read/recited at a wedding before - but (I don't know if you watched) the bride's brother read it at the Royal Wedding. I heard it with fresh ears.