Sympathy, harmony, humility
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Romans 12:15-16
SYMPATHY. This is another aspect of loving our brothers and sisters. When we can be glad with them in their triumphs and when we can grieve with them in their tragedies, then we are showing love to them. Commentators have noted that rejoicing with those who rejoice is put first because this is often the hardest for us, the opposite of our desire to be first. It is incompatible with a spirit of jealousy and envy. Oh, that all believers were more like this!
HARMONY. Christians who have a renewed mind (12:2) should also have a common mind (John Stott). Note Jesus’ prayer in John 17. There is a real unity in that we are all part of the same body, and we should show it (cf. Eph. 4:1-3). This, again, is the outworking of the fruit of love in our hearts and lives, as it is worked out in Christian community.
HUMILITY. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight (16, ESV). Finally, we come to humility which is the final fruit of love which the apostle mentions here. The KJV here has “condescend to men of low estate.” This is an unfortunate translation because condescending carries with it today the idea of patronizing others. But the word Paul uses here means to be “at home with humble people” (John Murray) and imitates him who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” A corollary to this attitude is that the people of God are, or ought to be at any rate, approachable people. Unapproachable people have no place in the kingdom of God and the church of Christ.
As those who have received the mercies of God, let us meditate on these things, let us pray them into our lives, and let these be the goals which we set for ourselves. And if you have not received Christ, by whom we are partakers of God’s saving mercies, may God enable you by his grace to seek him and find him by faith today.