Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Rom 12:15, KJV
The Russian figure skaters did it – they won gold in the new team figure skating event. They may have been under pressure, but they proved that they were the best of the best on the ice. They may have been under pressure to win, but win they did. They may have been under undue pressure to win the gold on their home ice, but they won, and they won together; they did it on the ice, and they did it cheering from the bench.
Along with eight teammates, Evgeni Plushenko, a 31-year-old veteran and Julia Lipnitskaia, a 15-year-old Olympic rookie, won the new event of team figure skating and lifted the host nation to its first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics. Together, they put Russia back atop a sport it once dominated.
Cheering from the bench is as exhilarating as being in the game at the time of a win. Consequently, there’s no greater feeling than to rejoice with those that rejoice. There’s no better picture than to see those who did not win rejoice with those who did. There’s no grander celebration than to rejoice with those who have won a hard-fought victory. Sure, the entire Russian figure skating team did their part, but the heavy lifting was done by their old hero Plushenko and their young heroine Julia. And remember, Julia is only 15 and this is her first Olympic games. No pressure, huh? “My main motivation today,” Lipnitskaia said, “was not to let the team down.” Oh to be so humble.
Cheering from the bench shows that it’s not about any one person, or any one player, or any one participant. Cheering from the bench symbolizes solidarity and solidifies unanimity. Cheering from the bench is fun to watch and even more fun to do.
Rejoicing alone is the antithesis of teamwork and team play. Rejoicing alone is selfish and self-serving, egocentric and egotistic, condescending and patronizing, all at the same time. Rejoicing alone is lonely and lonesome, isolated and un-integrated, remote and removed from the community which cheered and inspired and urged us on.
The Message Bible gives us this admonition from the Apostle Paul: “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody” (Rom 12:15-16, THE MESSAGE).
So cheer from the bench. Shout and scream from the sidelines. Wave your banner from the wings. Rejoice with those that rejoice. Be happy for those who win, even if it’s someone you don’t like. Jump up and down as if you had won yourself. It’s the bible way. It’s the only way to live a truly happy, healthy life. The shepherd who lost one of 100 sheep went and got his friends when he found the lost lamb. Likewise, the woman, who lost one coin in her house called her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her when it was found.
Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10, RSV