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Jan 16, 2021 | Darril Holden Jr.

"Pivot" - Empathizing (1/16)

Empathy – feeling what another feels (even though your experience is different). 

Bible words connected to empathy :

  • Compassion
  • Sympathy
  • Mercy

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13,14

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15

Barriers to Empathy

  • Fear of feelings
  • You live from your head more than your heart.
  • Unaware
  • Selfish
  • Hardened heart
  • Judgmental
  • Pride (You think you know…)

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Job 2:11-13

“As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.”
Job 4:8

“When your children sinned against [God], he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.”
Job 8:4

“Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.”
Job 11:6

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

Becoming more empathetic:

  • Empathy is about emotions, and emotions are messy.  Learn to be OK with the mess.
  • It is hard to be empathetic and keep your distance.

Seek to understand…

  • who they are
  • how they became that person
  • what they know
  • how they learned it
  • what they hold dear
  • why they hold it dear
  • how they feel
  • why they feel that way.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

•Have you experienced someone being empathetic to you?  What was that like?

•When you look at our culture, which of the barriers to empathy seem most prevalent?

•What are some ways empathy can build bridges for the gospel?  Do you see any down-sides to being empathetic?

•Is your tendency to first seek understanding, or to first seek to be understood?

•For further consideration:

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