“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit—that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart.” (Romans 9:1)
The apostle Paul cared greatly for people. He traveled often at personal cost to spend time with others and share with them his most meaningful beliefs, thoughts, and hopes. Paul’s ministry partners gave him great joy and yet also significant grief.
Some people received Paul’s teachings about faith in Jesus and lifestyle practices of Christianity. However, others were not ready to listen or follow. When people reject Christ, it can be difficult to differentiate their rejection personally. For Paul, the rejection of others only strengthened His resolve to fervently pray and courageously communicate more about his faith.
As Christians, we will encounter others who drift or stray from following Jesus. The grief of watching a person make unwise decisions and ungodly choices can cause us to react with mutual harshness tones or unhelpful communication.
Relationships with others can have equal joy and grief. This is the path of following Jesus who washed feet of His betrayers and took up a cross for His enemies. Let us learn from Christ’s example of humility and zeal for righteousness. Let us continue affection for the afflicted and compassion for those in conflict: “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20). In the end, God will honor those who trusted and did not follow the path of least resistance.