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By: Christopher L. Scott

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2020 was a year to forget for many people. I know of people that have not been able to see their beloved elderly family for months, numerous people have lost jobs or businesses, churches have not been able to minister.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he told them, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15b ). The Greek word Paul uses here can be translated as “weep, cry, bewail, or mourn.” I guess that much of the world has spent a lot of time weeping and it will continue for many more months.
Paul’s point in this brief phrase is that we need each other, and we need to comfort each other. The book of Hebrews tells us, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deed, not forsaking our own assembling together, as in the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

When we are going through pain and suffering, we need to sit with others and weep. And we need others to weep with us. While we might not be able to embrace in a hug while inside a Starbucks or restaurant, we can still get together and share our struggles with each other. The simple act of listening helps us weep with those who weep.
In his book, The Spirituality of Caregiving, Henri J. M. Nouwen provides guidance for how to listen, “Listening, however, is not merely a sympathetic nodding or a friendly repetition of hmm, hmm, hmm. Listening is a very active awareness of the coming together of two lives.”

He continues describing the healing effect of listening, “two lives are coming together in a healing way. It is like weaving a new pattern with two different life stories stretched out on the same loom. After a story is told and received with care, the lives of two people have become different. Two people have discovered their own unique stories, and two people have become an integral part of a new fellowship. In listening we discover that caring isn’t about the difference between pain and no pain, but about the difference between pain and shared pain.”

Right now we need to listen to people who are suffering and weep with them. They have been weeping more than they ever have. Change, lack of touch with others, and restricted fellowship are starting to cause more and more pain. Let’s listen in whatever way we can: telephone, six feet away across a table at coffee, on Facetime, or while going for a walk with a friend. We need to “weep with those who weep.” We need it and others do too.


Christopher L. Scott, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, is a pastor and freelance writer. Christopher L. Scott writes from Exeter, CA. Learn more about his writing ministry at

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