Without empathy, we're more apt to hurt others and less likely to apologize. We're more apt to think how others make us feel and less likely to think how we make them feel.
Unfortunately, lack of empathy is a growing problem in our culture of high self-esteem.
But empathy is important to God:
"Value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others ... 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." Philippians 2:3-4 NIV; Galatians 6:2-3 NLT
When someone is hurting, even when they offend us, it's important that we try to put ourselves in their situation and consider what challenges they might be facing.
Let's ask God's help in developing Biblical empathy.
1.Empathy enables us to respond to people with appropriate emotions.
Romans 12:15: Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
2. The Golden Rule is all about empathy.
It means we do our best to put ourselves in other people's shoes even if we haven't experienced their pain.
Galatians 5:14: For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
3. Empathy is an important element of kindness, a key to healthy relationships.
It doesn't mean overlooking the sins of others, but it means being sensitive to other people's needs, stresses, responsibilities and weaknesses.
1 Peter 3:8: Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted