Know enough to choose empathy


Josiah asked me to be “mommy dentist” tonight so I brushed and flossed as he laid his head back in my lap. Suddenly he’s in excruciating pain. It’s the spot the dentist said to watch. Perhaps it’s going to be a cavity we need to fill. He hurts.

What do we say in moments like that?

Option A – I’ve made it through you will too. We all have our pains.
Option B – I’ve had that pain. I’m so sorry. It hurts, doesn’t it?

Our pain can either cause us to listen more and to show more compassion because we have been there. Or it can cause us to be callus, hardened by our own experience, and unable to feel for and feel with others.

None of us know the exact experience of the other. But we do know enough to say, “I’m sorry you’re suffering.” And, “I know what it’s like to suffer.”

Of Jesus, Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.”

For this reason, Hebrews 4:15 says, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Jesus knows the pain, yet he still feels empathy and sadness for our suffering.
Thanks be to God!

How does God want to use the pain in your life to bring a deeper level of compassion in the way you interact with others?

Dear friends, may the pain in our lives, and comfort we receive from God, cause us to be more gentle with those who are suffering around us.