by Lillian Cabral
President American Baptist Women’s Ministries of New York State
Just words, that’s all they are.
How can we relate to them?
How can we share them with each other?
We can share our faith that if we love with the light of the Lord, we can move fully forward in His favor and live forever.
As we continue to explore our two-year theme of FEEL, I wonder,
What exactly does that mean?
How can I bring these words to light to Christian women and American Baptist Women of New York State in particular?
It’s a challenge. But if I were to focus on just one word, what would it be? … Empathy
To have empathy is to feel another person’s pain or joy, whichever the case may be. I believe that is what we are called to do.
Jesus had empathy. Lots and lots of empathy. He felt the pain everywhere he went.
- Jesus had empathy for the host at the wedding in Cana. (John 2:1-12) He felt the pain of embarrassment the host had.
- He felt the pain of Zacchaeus, a short man, a tax collector, a man with no friends, a man desperately searching to fill the hole in his soul (Luke 19:1-10) .
- Jesus had empathy for lepers. (Luke 17:11-19) He felt the pain of illness and the loneliness resulting from the ostracization from family and society.
- The woman at the well (John 4) and the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:40-48) were both cast out of society.
- He empathized with the sick, (Matthew 4:23-25) the lonely, the lame (Luke 13:10-14) and maimed, and those possessed by demons of all kinds. (Luke 8:26-39)
Jesus felt all of it. Jesus walked in their shoes.
Walking in Their Shoes
We need to walk in the shoes of the parents of victims in school shootings; of those who are sick and can’t get the medical assistance they need; those who are hungry; and those that are imprisoned by addiction as well as the legal system.
We need to learn to have empathy.
We need to learn how to feel their pain and discover how we can help them through that pain.
How do you tell a child dealing with bullying and fear from what they see and hear all around them, that Jesus loves them and it will be okay? Frankly, that isn’t much help. They need to feel that hug and that love and you are the one to give it.
How do you tell a troubled person dealing with mental illness that Jesus loves them and it will be okay? How do you let them know that every person on this earth has value – even them – and they don’t have to strike out with violent behavior.
Some of these are things that are happening are being discussed in the media and on the political stage.
We can’t just leave it there.
There are just as many concerns in our families, in our churches, and in our communities.
Empathy and Action
Jesus had empathy and then He acted and brought comfort to the afflicted. Each time He did that some of His strength left Him and He would go to a quiet place to pray and recharge.
He is our example.
Go forth with EMPATHY and never forget to Recharge.
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Luke 10:23-24
Blessings to you as you grasp hold of this theme and make it