SYMPATHY OR EMPATHY? Monday 13 June
Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
MEMORIZE: “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).
READ: Hebrews 4:14-16
When someone is going through an unpleasant, sorrowful situation, you can ignore, sympathize or empathize with him or her. The easiest of these is to ignore the person, like the priest and the Levites did to the victim of robbers in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-33). To sympathize is a little more demanding as you would want to take minimal steps to make some effort even when you know it is inadequate. But the most challenging response is to empathize; that is, to put yourself in the shoe of the victim at the receiving end and ask: ‘If I was the one in this situation, what would I expect others to do to me?’ Based on such expectations, you will assist the fellow. This was what the Samaritan did (Luke 10:33-35). Empathy is borne out of compassion. Compassion can be said to be mercy in action. If your claim of having mercy lacks expressive action, then it is merely sympathy, not compassion. One very active trait you will find in our Lord Jesus Christ is compassion. Virtually every move He makes concerning us is driven by compassion.
According to today’s reading, one major reason He is able to identify with us in all our trials, troubles, and tribulations is because He has been here. He has passed this way we are now talking. He knows exactly what we feel. Sometimes, while going through some pains that cannot be described, you wish you had the right adjectives to convey the message. Some people at such trying moments say, ‘Lord, I wish you could feel what I feel so that you will understand what I am going through’. He does. He knows every bit of pain in that leg. He knows the difficulty you are going through. He understands. But unlike us, He does not ignore, and will not sympathize with us. Rather, because He is driven by compassion, He empathizes. Just remember that as you go through unpleasant moments, you are not alone. Jesus has passed through what you are undergoing and understands. This helps to hasten a change. Are you going through pain, sorrow or difficulty? The Lord will make a way for you today!
Compassion makes you intercede for others with a heavy heart, carrying their burden in your heart. When last did you pray with a burden?
Bible in One year: Num. 1-3