EMPATHY: AN UNSUNG QUALITY

Scripture:  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12

Anybody remember that old t.v. series titled, “Unsung:  the Story of {celebrity X}?”  It was about celebrities of yesteryear who never quite got the notoriety or recognition of some of their more popular contemporaries.  I’ve always believed that “empathy” is one of the most unsung, and yet most desperately needed qualities in our communities. The Oxford American Dictionary defines empathy as “the power of identifying oneself mentally with (and so fully comprehending) a person or object of contemplation.”  When we understand something of another person’s life story, we automatically gain greater understanding of who they are, and how they developed into the person they became.  

Our Savior is obviously the Author of this principle. “Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” [Hebrews 2:17]   In light of His willingness to condescend to our lowly human estate, thereby identifying and sympathizing with our sinful condition-- without yielding to the temptation to sin--surely we should have no reluctance about intensifying our efforts in the area of empathy.  

Even in the body of Christ, we seem to subconsciously discount its significance—perhaps under the guise of self-preservation, or “looking out for #1,” consider the vast improvements in community—not to mention family relations (biological and spiritual) if we purposed to live out, for starters, the principles found in Ephesians 4:32— “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Colossians 3:12 commands us to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  Finally, let’s consider one of the most unsung verses of all, wherein we can all strive to better resemble our Savior:  Philippians 2:3— “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
         
Prayer: Dear Abba—Since judgment begins with us, Your blood-purchased ones, please stir within us a greater desire to unleash the power inherent in treating others as we desire to be treated and regarding others as more significant than ourselves.  Thank You, in Jesus’ name.  Amen!  

(by Denise Diggs)

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