The apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome spoke about the nature of genuine love. He said many things with respect to this in Romans 12: 9-21. However, the one I would highlight is in verse 15 where Paul writes, “mourn with those who mourn.” Now the dictionary defines the word mourn as to feel or express sorrow or grief or to grieve or lament for the dead. I guess most people when they think of mourning indeed think of death.
We have had a lot of death in our world lately. For months now our news has reminded us every day of the death count of those who succumbed to COVID-19. Our tears were still falling for these 100,000 + individuals in our nation when we witnessed on video the death of George Floyd on the streets of Minnesota by officers of the law. The country was shocked by what they witnessed. People decided to protest and rightly so. Yet, then violence crept into peaceful protest as cities struggled through the nights. With the rise of the sun, we saw the damage left behind and the livelihoods that were lost.
In the Bible, mourning is often associated with lament. A Lamentation is a prayer for help coming out of pain and is very common in the Bible. A quick read of the book of Psalms sees that about 1/3 of the psalms are psalms of lament.
I find myself lamenting and mourning a lot recently, especially these last several days. Paul tells us to mourn with those who are mourning.
So, as a Christian, I mourn with those who suffer any form of racism, discrimination whether violent or not. African Americans have suffered greatly since the foundation of our country. I mourn for those honest police officers who take seriously the oath to serve and protect but are all labeled for something they do not condone or participate in, but rather daily seek justice for all people. I mourn for those who lost their businesses and who were just trying to make a living. And I even mourn for those who killed George Floyd because their lives have been so darkened by sin they did not recognize right and wrong. I mourn for myself, my own sinfulness, my own judgmentalism, my own lack of understanding of those around me.
So, we ask heartfelt questions: “How long, O Lord? Will you utterly forget me?” (Psalm 13:2), which implies: I am at the end of my rope, and I cannot hold on much longer; and, “Why, O Lord, do you stand aloof? Why hide in times of distress?” (Psalm 10:1), which implies: “I do not understand what is going on; this makes no sense. How long? Why?” These are not requests for information, but cries of pain. (Franciscan Media)
There are a lot of hurting people in our world. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to stand with them in their pain. Elie Wiesel in his book Night, which tells of his experience in a Nazi concentration camp writes, “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” We are all mourning. We all need one another. And we need God to help us through mourning’s darkness.