Read today’s scripture (all of it):
Weeping —Psalm 22:24, John 11:28-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 11:28
Rejoicing—Romans 12:12-15, Hebrews 10:24-25, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Record what stood out to you.
Reflect, pray, and meditate on how it applies to your life.
Respond in your art journal to press the Word into your heart.
Empathy. This is probably one of my most favorite words. (It has to be since I am a social worker, but also because I’m a huge “Feeler” on the Meyers Briggs). It is also a word that is often misunderstood and needs to be redefined. A lot of times it is confused with “sympathy,” however these are two very different concepts.
For clarification: Sympathy is when one feels pity and sorrow for one’s misfortune. Empathy is the ability for one to put themselves into another’s shoes and experience their feelings. It’s the comfort of hearing, “Me too.” Here is an info-graph I made in case you are still confused:
Also, watch this video. Seriously.
Today’s scripture reveals how God is the master of empathy. He gets it. He has literally walked in our shoes.
In John 11:33-35, it says that “When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping…he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled…Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!'”
Jesus displayed empathy in a raw and vulnerable way. The barrier between divine and human was removed as his empathy fostered a deep connection between God and His people. The weight of grief and death because of this broken world was laid on his heart.
Empathy drives away the “you” and the “me” and creates “we.” It creates connection. It fosters a shared life from the deepest of hurts which makes room for the greatest of joys.
He can share with the one who has lost a dear friend. (Matthew 14:1-14)
He can share with the one who has lost family. (John 11:33-35)
He can share with the one who has been betrayed by a close friend. (Luke 22:48)
He can share with the one who feels abandoned by everyone. (Matthew 26:56)
He can share with the one who has been rejected and denied. (Luke 22:54-62)
He can share with the one who is experiencing death and suffering. (Luke 23:44-49)
He can share with the one who feels the pangs of forgiving after being deeply wronged. (Luke 23:32-43)
He can share with the parent who has lost their child. (John 3:16)
A beautiful reminder that our God of the Universe can say, “Me too,” because he can relate.
Because of this beautiful, perfect and powerful ability to empathize, he becomes our Perfect Comforter.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too….Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5,7)
We now have the ability to do the same. To weep with those who weep. And rejoice with those who rejoice.
God has highly exalted [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
So our deep connection with the greatest empathizer results in a deep comfort in eternal life. We will suffer with Christ. We will rejoice with Christ. And it’s completely worth it.