Rejoicing with those who rejoice

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 8, 2018

A friend recently called me with some very good news that had happened in their family. I had been waiting with them, praying for them, and feeling their anxieties as they waited for an outcome they had been promised. When the answer finally arrived, I felt a great weight lift from my heart and truly felt the joy and relief they were experiencing.

I can’t say I’ve never been jealous in my life, exactly. I’ve certainly never wanted to take something good away from someone else and have it for myself. I’ve never wanted to undo something good that happened to another person, and never wished that anyone did not get a blessing. But I have wished that I could experience the same blessings in my own life from time to time. I’m not at all sure that’s jealousy.

I’ve heard people say, “I don’t understand why (fill in the blank) always has so many good things happen to them. Don’t I deserve a little happiness, too?”

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The truth is, none of us get exactly what we deserve, either good or bad. Thank God for His mercy and grace working in humanity. I’ve heard this explanation many times but found one source on an internet search(Gotquestions.ort) that can be used for a reference about the difference between mercy and grace.

Mercy and grace are often confused. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy.

We cannot live our lives happily if we compare what we have with what others around us do or do not have. I remember an insensitive and self-absorbed comment from a friend right after I was divorced many years ago. I had an infant son to care for, was working three part time jobs and taking classes in college. He said, “Just Jesus, Judy. Just Jesus.”

Truer words were never spoken. A spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ is what I needed to get me through that hard time. But while he was throwing this statement at me, there was also a lot of judgment and self-righteousness going into it. He was happily married, had two nice cars, both had good jobs, good health, and were actively involved in ministry. They were living the life I thought would be mine with my husband. I didn’t want this couple not to have any of those blessings. But I also didn’t need the condescending notion that if I had more of Jesus or a better relationship with God as they thought they did, then I wouldn’t be going through such a hard time.

Comparing one’s self to any other person and feeling as if God loves one more than the other is a huge mistake on anybody’s part. Our lives and our paths are different from each other in ways and similar in many ways. We can not judge the value or worth of one individual’s life as compared to another.

God doesn’t run out of blessings. The storehouse of Heaven is never going to be empty. The bank of heaven is never going to be broke. The blessings of Heaven are never going to dry up. And most importantly, the love of God is never going to fail those who have put their trust in Him.

When good things happen to people, without any comparison to our own need or our own circumstances and hopes, let us rejoice with our whole hearts when good things happen in the lives of those around us. Life is a much happier experience for those who can truly rejoice in the blessings of others.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.