Friday, May 18, 2012


According to all I’ve read, “Sympathy” is a feeling of care and understanding for what another is experiencing. “Empathy” is the ability to mutually share emotionally with what another is experiencing.   When one sympathizes with another, he stands outside and observes with concern.  When he empathizes, he gets inside the skin of another and feels from his perspective.

Too much of contemporary Christian witnessing is, I believe, sympathetically shared.  We see the person’s condition, and realizing it is difficult, wish for them the better way of life which Christ alone affords.  It is very easy to forget the doubt, fear, anger, frustration, and general malaise under which we labored before Christ energized us, and gave us a greater purpose in life.  Consequently, we are perplexed by the failure of those to whom we witness to recognize the truth of what we’re saying, and we become resigned to the hopelessness of ever reaching them for.

When we empathize with the unsaved, we recognize their doubts.  We remember the abject hopelessness of trying manipulate circumstances so as to accommodate our desires and personal dreams.  We understand the sense of having tried to live the Christian life, and failing, thereby wondering if is just a pipe dream, all the while, hoping that it is true, and there is hope of real purpose and meaning.

Such empathy leads us to persevere in our attempts to show Christ to them, while praying pointedly for the Holy Spirit’s intervention in their lives. It also leads us to share more effectively God’s Good News, that they need not remain trapped in their hopeless condition, but that Christ has come,  bringing with Him deliverance to those who are captive, and realize there must be more to life than what they’re experiencing.

Lord, help me this day to learn empathy, so that I might more effectively preach Your truth, and more efficiently share with those You lead across my path.

Taken from "A Word For Living" by Mike Rasberry

©               2012                     Mike Rasberry

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