Getting on with others: Part 1 - Hope 103.2

Getting on with others: Part 1

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsMonday 9 Sep 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


During one of the wars,an American military unit hired a local boy to cook and clean for them. Being a bunch of jokesters,they quickly took advantage of the boy’s seeming naiveté. They smeared Vaseline on the stove handles so it would get all over his hands. They put buckets of water over the door so he’d get soaked when he opened it. They even nailed his shoes to the floor during the night. Day after day the young boy took the brunt of their practical jokes without saying anything. Finally the men felt guilty about what they were doing,so they met with him and said,”Look,we know these pranks aren’t funny for you,and we’re sorry. We’re never going to take advantage of you again.”  The boy smiled and then asked,”No more sticky on stove?” The guys responded,”Nope.” “No more water on door?” They answered,”No more water on door.” “No more nail shoes to floor?” “Nope,we’ll stop that,too.” “Okay” the boy said with a wide grin,”No more spit in soup.”

Not a very nice story,but it has a good lesson about revenge and retaliation. My guess is that each of us has had to grapple with this matter – I’d love to get even with someone who has hurt me or I want to pay back for something that was said about me that was wrong,and I was very hurt. We live among people,and sometimes things go wrong and we get angry or upset about cruel or malicious things said or done to us. Is it OK to retaliate or have feelings of hatred? It’s all about dealing with relationships .. That reminds me of what someone has said,”The more I get to know the human race,the more I love my dog.” Most of us need some help when it comes to our relationships,don’t we? Is there someone in your life that has bought you grief?

The Bible has some very good advice to help,and I’m looking at Romans 12,v 15. “When others are happy,be happy with them,and when they are sad,be sad”. That’s an invitation to share in the blessings and burdens of others. But to be very honest,it can be difficult to enter into someone else’s experience that we may be envious about ..If your friend inherited a million dollars,could you really say,”I’m so happy for you!” The story is told of two writers who were very jealous of each other and their animosity was apparent to everyone. One of the writers eventually wrote a book that was very popular and became an immediate bestseller. When the two met at a party,the other man said,”I bought your book the other day. It’s a good read. Who wrote it for you?” Shaken a bit by this,the first man nevertheless thanked him for the compliment and then asked,”Who read it to you?”
We should also admit that sometimes when someone is hurting,inside we’re secretly thinking that maybe they deserve it. Proverbs 17:5: “He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.”

In order to rejoice in someone else’s joy,we need to get rid of all jealousy and to mourn with those who mourn,we must get rid of a  judgmental spirit. Instead of being indifferent to the emotions of others,we’re called to show empathy.  Someone has said that a sorrow shared is but half a trouble and a joy that’s shared is joy made double. Oh,to have the compassion of Paul when he asks in 2 Corinthians 11:29: “When others are weak,I am weak too. When others stumble into sin,I hurt for them”.  Christian fellowship  is more than coffee and a chat with people .. it means sharing burdens and blessings.

In a world that couldn’t care less,we should care more. A story is told about a little boy with a big heart. His next-door-neighbour was an older gentleman whose wife had suddenly died. When the young boy saw the man cry,he went into the man’s yard,climbed up on his lap,and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbour,the little boy said,”Nothing. I just helped him cry.” That’s what Job’s friends did at the beginning when they sat with him in silence for seven days (see Job 2:11-13). Unfortunately,they couldn’t keep quiet and ended up just making things worse for him).
One Bible commentator says ..  “To refuse to rejoice with another,reveals envy in your own heart. To refuse to weep with another is to reveal a lack of compassion in your heart.
Either way,you have a serious problem.” Is there anyone you can help cry? Anyone you need to rejoice with? Let’s do our best with God’s help to get on with others.