Church of Christ - 106 SW Murray Rd. Lee's Summit, MO 64081

THE IMPORTANCE OF EMPATHY


      

Hebrews 4:15 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

In my work I stay in a lot of brothers’ and sisters’ homes. This is one of the great blessings in this work. Throughout the years I have appreciated how families have taken me in when I was involved in working in their communities and among the Lord’s congregations.

Recently, I was in the home of a young family with several small children, and one of the very young children was having a particularly difficult time, nothing serious, just normal child-like stuff and behavior. Several times the parents looked over at me and said they were sorry that I had to observe and be in the midst of such. They felt I was in some way “inconvenienced” or perhaps I wished to be somewhere else while they dealt with the circumstances. I tried to assure them it was okay, and I was in no way “put out” by what they were dealing with. I completely understood what they were going through.

How could I say that? Because the Lord has blessed Becky and me with 4 children of our own as well as 2 of our grandchildren who are in our home constantly. I completely understood what they, as parents and their children, were having to go through. For this reason, I could totally empathize with their circumstance. And for this reason, I was not “judging them” or thinking less of them and their children, because I had been through it! After a couple of attempts, I think I was able to get through to them, and they seemed to relax a bit, and perhaps they even were able to deal even better with the problem. I am confident they appreciated that I could truly understand and empathize with what they were dealing with, and this made things much more comfortable for all of us, yes, even the children.

I am reminded of how much the principle of empathy works when dealing with others. When people know we can truly understand their circumstances due to our own experiences, I think they can more easily deal with those situations.

Nowhere is this more important than one of the primary purposes of Jesus coming to earth. He came as a man who indeed could empathize with us in our weaknesses. He knows what it is like to deal with temptation and our lives in general. He knows what it is like to have Satan constantly attacking us. He knows what it is like to face and go through death. How does He know this? He came and did His work, not as a God, but as a man as the above verse notes.

It is for this reason we can fulfill the next Scripture which says in Hebrews 4:16 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Praise the Lord for His abundant grace and mercy, for part of this is due to the fact that He can empathize with us! Believing and living this principle gives us power to do as He did, to overcome our common enemy, Satan.



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