“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 AKJV
On kind of a personal note… regarding just everyday things right now…
I am blessed with a grandson, near, who always says yes when I call on him. Since I’m restricted right now in how much I can lift and push and pull on, my son-in-law is clearing out things in the yard I’ve been wanting to be rid of for some time now and himself is available to call on whenever.
I’ve daughters that keep an eye on my wife and me health-wise and we spend time together regularly in one way or another.
And there are the two other grand children, who are older and away right now taking those first steps out into independence, seeking and building a future for themselves, both of whom have and are a pleasure and happiness in my and my wife’s lives.
But to the other side of things… one of my brothers, a very fit and strong man at seventy and retiring in a month, right now in the midst of selling his house, packing up and moving, where?, well of course to Florida… is now in the hospital with a very worrisome condition. How strange, right now, at the end of a career, in the process of moving…this happens.
And I have friends, people I like and care about that have health problems that are hard on them. And how do I…what do I…do to ease it for them.
I have a son with whom I am trying to come into harmonious relationship with, repair a relationship in which both of us have made serious mistakes, win mutual trust, turn from anger and… making vulnerable… express love.
I turn on the news and tune into what is going on in community, country and world and it’s turmoil…and worse…man’s inhumanity to man.
Within the fellowship of believers, across the board, there are disagreements that are not approached as they should be and even when they are, reconciliation and unity, that is the goal, seems to elude us…much of it because information these days is untrustworthy and people and organizations that should be trustworthy, are not.
So…ups and downs…right? And whose lives don’t have these? If they don’t now or haven’t…they will.
The Scriptures tell us to help carry one another’s burdens, be glad with those who have been blessed and grieve with those who grieve.
That is empathy…”understanding so intimate that the feelings, thoughts, and motives of one are readily comprehended by another.”
That can happen because of one’s own past experience but how is that translated from understanding and comprehension into sympathy and compassion?
I’ve heard it said that empathy opens the door to sympathy and compassion. These two are more than recognition. They are extensions of the heart on behalf of another and lead to some kind of action.
Where does that heart come from that characterizes empathy by sympathy and compassion?
My guess is that one must want that kind of heart and be willing to allow God to make the changes in our nature that will bring it about, changes that will require us to make allowances for human fallibility…that of others and our own…and then care for them as much as God does.
Empathy and compassion may lead us to join ourselves physically to others who are close to us but for those far away or unfamiliar the most we may have power to do is pray. And I know in my own walk that seems so inadequate at times as to make me wonder…why bother.
But pray we must. It’s required.
Somehow in spite of how circumstances look, it brings hope and confidence to those who engage. Maybe because we go from the temporal to the eternal perspective…Yahweh reigns…He and we get the victory.
A dear friend, empathetic and moved to compassion, by troubles she was seeing in the world around her wrote: “My heart, spirit and soul were in such anguish I closed myself in with The Lord and sobbed my concerns to Him.”
A good cry seems to bring relief to women. Maybe we men should do it too, do it as righteous people, fervently …for the promise is that if we do… it will avail much according to brother James in chapter 16 and verse 5.
May our Father create in us hearts that intimately understand and comprehend the feelings, thoughts, motives, life situations of others and may that empathy be characterized by compassionate shared concerns and joy…characterized by the same love that You, Father have for us sending Yeshua to empathize and share and deliver.
In Yeshua’s name we pray.
May God’s love be in us all.