Summary: Here are nine ways that Christ exemplified empathy
Christ’s Powerful Empathizing Example
John 11:35 - Jesus Wept
Illustration:When my sons were young, one of them stubbed his toe and grimaced with pain. Seeing him trying bravely to bear the agony of those moments, I said, "Son, I’m truly sorry. My toe hurts for you."
Lifting his head, he looked at me and responded, "Dad, your toe doesn’t really hurt, does it?"
No, I didn’t sense any physical pangs, yet I did share his suffering. I even wished his ache could somehow be transferred to my body.
Are you grieved when a brother in Christ is in trouble? Does it bother you when a believer stumbles into sin and is brought under the chastening hand of the Lord? Do you experience sorrow of heart when a child of God is passing through the deep waters of affliction and trial? If not, ask the Lord right now to help you become the kind of person who can share the heartache of others and sympathize with them.
Yes, to every Christian we meet who is in some kind of distress, we should be ready to say from our hearts, "I hurt for you." --RWD
Empathy is your pain in my heart. (Our Daily Bread)
Here are nine ways that Christ exemplified empathy:
1. Jesus knew that people generally do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. The Lord really empathized with people by using the power of the Spirit to identify with all aspects of their lives. Jesus fully comprehended the pain, suffering and heartaches of people because He loved them with an agape love. Ask the Lord to give you an increasing quantity and quality of empathy for peoples’ problems.
2. Jesus maintained His enthusiastic love for people because of His steadfast love for the Lord. Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, He is the one who loves me. And I will love Him and will disclose myself to Him." (John 14:21) Without an intimate love for the Lord our love for people will be inadequate. No humanistic, spiritualistic, legalistic or traditionalistic motivation is enough to motivate us to love the unlovely.
3. Jesus did not hide from people who were hurting and in need. He allowed Himself to feel the hurt that others felt. Matthew wrote, "When Jesus saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matt. 14:14) The Lord did not let His emotions determine His priorities, but He did everything that God wanted Him to do in ministering to the sick, hurting and depressed. Ask the Lord for the ability to show compassion to the hurting in a way that Christ would if He were in your shoes.
4. Jesus succeeded in His ministry because the sins, problems and frustration of others mattered to Him. The Lord knew the truth in I John 4:20, "If anyone says he loves God yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." Ask the Lord for a deep concern for others’ sins, problems and frustrations. Billy Graham has said, "The biggest reason why God uses me is that people sense that I really love them."
5. Jesus showed a willingness to minister to people who others had given up on. John wrote, "Now a man named Lazarus was sick_ So the sisters (Mary and Martha) sent word to Jesus, ’Lord, the one you love is sick’. When He heard this, Jesus said, ’This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it_ On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Jesus said, ’I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; Jesus said, "Take away the stone_ Jesus called in a loud voice, ’Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen. Jesus said, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." (John 11:1-6) Ask the Lord to lead you to ministries and people that others have given up for dead and let the Lord use you to do great things for God’s glory.
6. Jesus went against the trend of His day and refused to succumb to the patterns of other religious leaders. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "We have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15) Refuse to pattern your life and ministry after cold hearted religious leaders who give into the temptations to become hard hearted. Many Christian leaders allow their rank, title and position to go to their heads. They develop a power complex instead of keeping their hearts soft enough to feel the pain of those they minister to. Ask the Lord to keep your heart tender so that you can genuinely care for the hurting.