Empathy describes the ability and willingness to recognize, understand and empathize with the sensations, emotions, thoughts, motives and personality traits of another person. It feels good when we meet people who show compassion and can empathize with others, rejoice with us in good times and sympathize with us in difficult times. As a result, the joy becomes greater, as is well known, shared joy is double joy and sadness becomes lighter. Compassion is very important in all of our relationships and encounters. Empathy helps us deal with conflicts and with people who think differently from ourselves.
Scientists have found out that empathetic people live longer and happier lives. Since empathy is not always a matter of course in our everyday life, we have to decide again and again to get rid of our egocentrism and to get involved with other people.
“Treat people as you would like them to treat you” Luke 6:31
For me, the best example for empathy is Jesus. He had compassion and love for all people. For example, he took a deaf man aside and healed him away from the crowd. He didn’t want to expose him or make himself big. In the Bible in Luke chapter 7, we read the story when Jesus met a widow whose only son had just died. In verse 13 we can read:
“When the Lord Jesus saw the woman, He was deeply moved by her suffering. “Don’t cry!” He consoled her. “Luke 7:13
Also we can read the story of Lazarus. In the scriptures we read:
‘Jesus loved Martha, her sister [Mary] and [her brother] Lazarus.’ When Lazarus got sick, they sent for Jesus, but when he arrived, Lazarus had already died. Mary went to meet Jesus, fell at his feet and wept. When Jesus saw Mary wept, “he was deeply moved and shaken [and] wept” John 11: 33-35
So is God with us all today too, full of love, mercy, compassion, He is with us in joy and sorrow. He knows our feelings. Jesus can empathize with us, he experienced every emotion that we can only imagine when he lived on this earth. He knows joy, sadness, fear, courage, hopelessness, rejection, helplessness, suffering, weakness, strength, anger, anger, despair, security, security, etc. Our God is a compassionate God who understands us. His compassion for us is greater than anything that could ever happen to us. He humbled himself, laid down his glory, and was born a man to be close to us.
“Although he was equal to God in every way, he did not selfishly cling to being like God. No, he renounced it and became like a slave: He was born like any other person and was in everything a person like us ”Philippians 2: 6-7
Jesus, the Son of God, felt like us and wept like us. Yet he gave his life on the cross to save our lives. Jesus is our guide for dealing with other people. Just as we expect empathy and compassion from others, we can also pass this on to our fellow human beings, especially when we become aware of what God has done for us. Instead of criticizing, judging, or saying bad things about one another, we can learn to empathize with the other, understand their emotions, and be compassionate.