I was reading Romans the other day, through a passage I have read many times, and a short instruction from the Apostle Paul jumped out at me. This instruction was, “mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15b)” I guess part of the reason it jumped out at me was because of a recent conversation I had with a friend. This friend has been dealing with some hard times lately and he’s been grappling with depression. He is also a friend who helped get me through a battle with depression a few years ago. We both realized that part of what we appreciated about each other’s friendship was the fact that neither of us just tried to solve the other’s problem. Instead we actually “mourned with those who mourn.”
It’s not that it’s never right to try to solve someone’s problems. But the reality is that often there is no easy solution to the problems and struggles a person faces. Maybe a person doesn't even have a good reason to "mourn" yet they seem unable to find joy in life. I think that there is a common assumption in our Western, modern culture which is that there is a solution to every problem if only we are intelligent enough, or perhaps from the Christian point of view, only if we know our Bible well enough or if we’re close enough to God. If this is your point of view, then a person who mourns and who cannot be easily consoled will only seem like a problem to you. Perhaps you will get frustrated with the person and avoid being around them because their mourning depresses you. But this is not obedience to the words of the Holy Spirit written down by the Apostle Paul. In Ecclesiastes, we see it affirmed that there can be a season for mourning. If we are to allow for “seasons” of mourning instead of thinking we can quickly solve every problem, and if we are seeking to love those who mourn, I think we must be obedient to the words of Paul and mourn with those who mourn.