Feb 12

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."  Romans 12:14-16

Empathy means - "Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives."

Doesn't that sound like a good thing? Isn't that something that you would want from others?

But what does this have with finding peace? How does being empathetic lead to finding peace?

Let me ask you this, "What happened the last time you were insensitive to what your spouse was feeling?"

What happened when you acted according to what you thought your spouse was wanting when in fact, they wanted something different. How did that work out for you?

If you fail to empathize with someone due to unfamiliarity, or insensitivity, misreading some emotional cues, or failure to listen well, you will be perceived as not caring about that person. Or, it could indicate that you are too preoccupied with your own troubles that you don't have empathy for the needs of another. Those responses put stress on a relationship. They indicate a lacking for caring or a lack of really knowing the person. Over time it can begin to erode trust. Once trust is diminished it becomes much more difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to you. They will tend to be less patient with you. That changes the entire way that person begins to look at you. It will be more difficult to extend grace to you. Over time, the relationship becomes strained. 

Furthermore, your ability to empathize with the feelings of others and to show genuine concern for those emotions will win you loyalty and love from that person. It also indicates that you have found inner peace and resolved your issues so you are able to devote yourself to ministering to the needs of others - to know what they are feeling and how to best meet that need.

God can more completely meet our needs because His Son, Jesus, lived as a man on this earth for 33 years and felt the stresses and strains, the fears and frustrations, the pain and pathos of the human experience. He could have relied on His omniscience to know what we are feeling, but He didn't. He donned the flesh and blood of a human being to be able to identify with our sufferings by suffering Himself.

Empathy is a hallmark of caring relationships. And like Hallmark, it cares enough to send the very best. Therefore, it calls forth the best in relationships.

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