Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Choose Your Pathy"

Romans 12.15 NASU

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

What ‘pathy’ am I on?
  • A-pathy ~ I could not care less. I feel nothing toward you.

  • Sym-pathy ~ I understand you are experiencing pain or joy. I express my understanding and acknowledge your feelings, but remain emotionally distant.

  • Em-pathy ~ I allow myself to feel and express emotion when you do.
Am I empathetic, sympathetic, apathetic, or plain pathetic? I certainly can’t fake it. There are times when I simply don’t care and wish to ignore the subtle request for a shoulder to cry on. I may not want to laugh at a silly joke. I often deem myself incapable or unqualified to enter the ‘feeling realm.’ with another. I cannot respond to every cry for help, so I erect an emotional wall shielding me from all but the most urgent, or, in my opinion, the most legitimate needs. This selection process allows me to honestly later say, “I didn’t know.” But the real question is:  Should I have known? Or, would I have known if I had wanted to?

Empathy is a choice. If I am to shed tears when others cry or truly enjoy their happiness, then I must try to become empathetic. I must develop a well-functioning emotional radar and learn to read the signals. Without a finely tuned personal sensitivity meter, I may miss a chance meeting when I am most needed and waste my energy on low priority, safe, sterile, and comfortable caring gestures. 

What a waste! I may never share another’s sorrow when he learns his wife has terminal cancer. I may miss the opportunity to celebrate when a friend is promoted to the position he always wanted. I may miss a connection with a person whose contact would enrich us both. I might not “have shown hospitality to angels” (Hebrews 13.2).

Without empathy, I am a lesser man.


Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
________________

The wonderful images entitled "Empathy" and "Empathy x3" are used here by permission of Swedish photographer Per Jorisch (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorisch/).

5 comments:

One Sided said...

I love the fact that you make me think. I have shared this entry and your blog address with my Bible Class

May God continue to bless you

Larry

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thank you Larry. Dave

jeff said...

Dave - I have personally benefited from your empathy. I've seen your ability to be present and invest yourself in another's situation. I suppose that rather than think of empathy as a gift, I am thinking it is a form of love that can greatly enhance the power of many of God's spiritual gifts.

I think we need to be vigilant. We must be open to, and expect Him to use our gifts to their fullest extent for His Glory and the edification of the body. I also agree with you, if we let him, God will not only replenish what we expend, but even give much more to those who already have much!

Thanks brother!

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thank you Jeff for your good and kind words.

Dave

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thank you Jeff for your good and kind words.

Dave