Friday, October 16, 2009

the power of empathy

i've had a few people in ministry asking me these last couple of days about my leaving a ministry position. i have to admit. it's hard to talk about it. it stings a little, especially since i can't seem to make sense of it all. i'm honest about it, and they all understand. they've been there before, too. what touches me and never ceases to ease my heart is their concern that i give myself time to heal. that and the fact that they look so compassionate as they listen to my story. sometimes, they share their own. we often end up encouraging each other because we've all been there. we know how it feels. but because we're in the business of loving and serving people, we have to learn to let go so we can move forward with GOD's will for our lives. we don't want to fill our lives with such bitterness so as to miss all the good that is around us. and there's a lot of that.

galatians 6:2 says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." empathy is a powerful emotion. it's one of the things that makes us human. the ability to feel another's pain and share it with them does wonders for a person in need of healing. empathy validates and let's people know they are not alone, that they are loved and special. i want to make others feel that way. empathy is not shallow and is not satisfied with giving empty, religious platitudes. empathy is deep and real.

i think the world could use a few more empathetic people. people who seek to understand and who share the joys and sorrows of those whose paths they cross. if we all showed a little more compassion to others, if we put the needs of others ahead of our own desires, if we treated each other with respect, what a world this would be.

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