Empathy 101

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 2 Cor. 3b-4a

Sometimes our responses to the sorrow of others is to try and cheer them up, as through there is something illegitimate, weak or embarrassing about sorrow. Occasionally we all need someone who knows and loves us to say “snap out of it” because we are enjoying the blues a bit too much or to intervene when we are spiraling. It is not empathy, however, to dismiss other people’s sorrows because they make us uncomfortable or cause us inconvenience. Jesus’ response to his friends’ troubles was to show up with help, hope, and friendship… and sometimes He wept with them. Christ still shows up for us when we are hurting. He cares about us when we experience sadness and depression. We affirm the heart of Christ for others when we are willing to mourn with those who mourn. This is empathy.

Holy Spirit, help me to enter into the experiences of my friends who are sad and teach me how to respond in ways that brings real comfort and peace.