Empathy is most felt when we experience what others have experienced. It is difficult to relate deeply with what others have gone through if we have not experienced the same situation as they did.
The difficulties and suffering of people with terminal illness can only be fully felt by people who are experiencing the same thing. People who suffer broken heartedness can comfort each other and understand each other. People who have gone through family separations and abuses can find connection and bond in their similar situations. Unless we have been in the shoes of others, we cannot fully understand what it feels like, how it is to go through the situation, and why people act and react in certain manners. Oftentimes, it is easier to speak out our opinions carelessly even without traversing the path others have taken. I believe, for situations we cannot deeply sympahize or empathize, we should keep words at a minimun or be silent if words are not needed as respect to the people who are going through the ordeal. Unless what we are about to say will bring encouragement, then we should be careful and we should speak as how God leads us.
Sharing similar experience helps us gain empathy and empathy gives us in-depth view of the soul of another person. Empathy enables us to make burdens a shared baggage. We do not feel alone. We do not feel like we are carrying the problem alone. Empathy makes us feel that someone understands. And, there is indeed someone who gives perfect empathy because He has been in everything we have been through and so much more. His name is Jesus.
“For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let’s therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need.”– Hebrews 4:15-16 (WEB)
Jesus Christ has been where you’ve been. When He became man, though God in nature at the same time, He was sinless yet He felt pain, suffering, and temptations. There is no suffering that we experience that Jesus could not empathize with us.
I often wonder how people who has life-threatening disease feel? How does it feel to be given a life expectancy of a few years or a few months to live? And, yet Jesus felt this. When He was about to be put to death, Jesus knew it. He knew it from the very start and He knew the form of death He needs to take for the sake of saving us from our sins. He knew it so well that He felt the deepest sorrow deep within Him.
“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me.’ He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.’”– Matthew 26:38-39 (WEB)
You might be one of the millions of people in this world who feels the same heavy, hopeless, and overwhelming burden and sorrow in whatever situation you have. Be comforted with the truth that Jesus knows how you feel. It is not just knowing but Jesus have felt what you feel. He can empathize with every tinge of emotion that vibrates within your soul.
You might be one of the persons who expects your life to be snuffed out at any time, know that your fears, your pain, your heaviness have also felt by Jesus.
You might be any one on this planet who lives every day life normally but who experiences problem that sometimes weigh you down and leave you defeated. Know and be assured that Jesus had walked the road you are traveling.
Because He has been there, He felt, and He knew it all; who can best comfort us, understands us, and empathize with us but Jesus Christ alone! Cast your burdens in the Lord Jesus Christ. Rest in His grace for you. Rely on His arm of salvation. Pray and put your trust in Him.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”– Matthew 11:28-30 (WEB)