To rejoice when others succeed
When I see people laughing their hearts out and having a good time, I feel happy for them. In this world of pain and suffering, laughter is a precious gift. So, I say in my heart, ‘Have fun my brother and God bless you sister’. But at times when things aren’t working well for me, it is harder to feel that way about others.
In a society filled with envious people, success becomes a danger. When a person becomes successful, some people make it their life’s mission to bring him/her down. That is a very sad reality that we face today. We have many people who cannot stand the success of other people. Some people have this mentality, ‘If I can’t have something, I won’t let anyone have it either’.
Jealousy, envy, one-upmanship, and backstabbing are common in the work place. Instead of supporting one another, it is ‘each one for his/her own interest’. Behind the flatter are motives to trap and tarnish the image of fellow colleagues. One cannot meet the other with a straight face and talk straight. One has to read in between the lines and try to decipher the intention of what was actually meant behind what was said. It becomes a dirty game where factions are formed and psychological wars are fought.
Not so, the Bible tells us to think of others as better than ourselves. We are to look for the interest of others above our own. It tells us to encourage and build up one another. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for others. Jesus’ self-giving love in giving all of his life and giving it up unto death for us is the supreme example of how our attitude should be towards other people.
Our society’s structure is being reshaped that people have become more individualistic. To look for the interest of our own without regard for the welfare of others is not an anathema but is a shining example of our ‘free modern society’. Personal autonomy except for economic transactions between people is a good way to respect the freedom of others, or so it seems. Even Christianity is reconstructed in such a way that salvation is privatised and individualised. ‘It is something strictly between you and God’, we say to those who we want to bring to Christ. That is a very modern construct. Life in Christ is a call to life in a community: A community of many parts but one body (the body of Christ). Each part is incomplete without the other. The hand cannot say to the eyes, ‘I don’t need you’. In a community, we need each other’s success for our own good. If a good person gets into the civil services, we should be happy for her, for we need good leaders. We also need good teachers, politicians, farmers, engineers, and dedicated sweepers. Without the service of office clerks, an office full of officers will collapse.
If we have Christ-like self-giving love, we discover that we can rejoice at the success of others. In Christ, we find that though we suffer defeat or are surpassed by someone else, we can still find the grace to carry on with malice towards none. After all, it is God’s world and even if we should play second fiddle, every good work contributes towards building God’s Kingdom. We may plant the seed while others enjoy the fruit, but God never overlooks any noble deed done in secret. God’s yardstick for measuring success can be very different from ours.
Some success can be annoying. Some people are such show-offs who love to parade their achievements at every given opportunity (or despite the absence of opportunity). But even in such cases, it is not for us to pull them down. They will be their own downfall.