The Bible talks a lot about something called empathy. It might not be a word you use every day, but it’s actually really simple. You know how you get sad when your best friend is sad? Or how you get excited on Christmas morning because everyone else is excited? That’s empathy.
Empathy is when you’re able to feel and care about how someone else is feeling.
So, what does the Bible say about empathy? In Romans 12:15 (NIV), Paul tells the church to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” That’s a fancy way of saying to be happy with people who are happy and be sad with people who are sad. Why? Because it makes them feel loved and that how they feel matters.
No one will ever have more empathy than Jesus. Because Jesus had empathy for our broken world, he came down from heaven to us on Christmas. That was the greatest act of empathy ever!
So what would it look like for us to be filled with empathy like Jesus?
One way is to use your imagination to see things from someone else’s perspective! Think of how easy it is for you to get a glass of water in the morning. All you need to do is walk to the kitchen! But now imagine what it’s like for a child your same age who has to walk for over an hour just to get water.
Using your imagination like this is called walking in someone else’s shoes. Now that’s a funny phrase. But think about it. What do you do with shoes on? The answer is pretty much everything! And that’s the whole point. Walking in someone else’s shoes means putting yourself in their place, imagining what their life is like.
So let’s try it! Think about what it’s like for someone else to go through their day. What are the good things? What makes it hard? When we start walking in other people’s shoes, we start to understand their story and their struggles.
Loving others and joining them in their struggles. That’s what empathy is all about. So, let’s try to walk in someone else’s shoes and treat them more like Jesus would. When we do that, we’ll be acting with empathy!
Ask God to help you see things from someone else’s perspective and walk in their shoes with empathy.
Luke 10:25-37. See how the Samaritan acted with empathy!