Verse: Romans 12:14-16
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and living life with other people lately, and this verse ties in so well, particularly about the parts regarding living with each other and sharing experiences. It can be really hard to stick with people through their really hard times, and especially as you get older, your friends and family are going to go through even more hard times. Deaths, illnesses, injuries, financial problems—all these things happen at a higher rate as life goes on and as you make more friends.

But I think we’re made to be social and communal. It’s built into us not only to want to share experiences with others, but to have them shared with us. It takes a lot of trust from another person to allow you into those intimate moments: whether they are the happy and joyous times, or the depths of despair.

I think that it’s really easy to feel isolated and lonely nowadays. By no means am I anti-technology, but when used incorrectly it can be a poor substitute for real connection with others, and it does seem to bring out the worst in us in bulk. Outside of family relationships, one of the very best things that I’ve done is start and host a small group each week. We’ve been meeting for almost 5 years now, and people come and go, but we’ve developed a depth of friendship and relationship that I certainly would not have gotten otherwise. It’s really helped me avoid being isolated personally, and I think it fits in really well with this verse where the context is to try to share everything with others (in a safe way of course).

And maybe this is just me, but I personally find it really difficult to appreciate and enjoy the things that are going well. It’s always whatever’s next, the future, looking at the horizon instead of appreciating what I already have. Taking some time to rejoice with others, whether it’s regarding my own circumstances, theirs, or some sort of a shared experience is something that I’m terrible at, and these verses are a really good reminder of the value of social connection, family, strong friendship. Sharing experiences with others requires a bit of a slowdown and taking time to savor and appreciate them.

Author: Jordan Ambra