Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 9, 2014

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."  Romans 12:14-16

Empathy means - "Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives."

Doesn't that sound like a good thing? Isn't that something that you would want from others?

But what does this have with finding peace? How does being empathetic lead to finding peace?

Let me ask you this, "What happened the last time you were insensitive to what your spouse was feeling?"

What happened when you acted according to what you thought your spouse was wanting when in fact, they wanted something different. How did that work out for you?

If you fail to empathize with someone due to unfamiliarity, or insensitivity, misreading some emotional cues, or  failure to listen well, you will be perceived as not caring about that person. Or, it could indicate that you are too preoccupied with your own troubles that you don't have empathy for the needs of another. Those responses put stress on a relationship. They indicate a lacking for caring or a lack of really knowing the person. Over time it can begin to erode trust. Once trust is diminished it becomes much more difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to you. They will tend to be less patient with you. That changes the entire way that person begins to look at you. It will be more difficult to extend grace to you. Over time, the relationship becomes strained.

Furthermore, your ability to empathize with the feelings of others and to show genuine concern for those emotions will win you loyalty and love from that person. It also indicates that you have found inner peace and resolved your issues so you are able to devote yourself to ministering to the needs of others - to know what they are feeling and how to best meet that need.

God is able to more completely meet our needs because His Son, Jesus, lived as a man on this earth for 33 years and felt the stresses and strains, the fears and frustrations, the pain and pathos of the human experience. He could have relied on His omniscience to know what we are feeling, but He didn't. He donned the flesh and blood of a human being to be able to identify with our sufferings by suffering Himself.

Empathy is a hallmark of caring relationships. And like Hallmark, it cares enough to send the very best. Therefore it calls forth the best in relationships.

February 8, 2014

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."  Romans 12:14-16

Giving grace and getting rid of grudges is a big first step to finding peace. You cannot have spiritual peace while you are holding onto resentment or hostility. The two are incompatible.

Only if you are living as a holy sacrifice surrendered to God and filled with His Spirit will you be able to be a grace giver. Only those who have been transformed by grace are able to grace others.

The second step to finding peace is the ability to empathize with the emotions of others.

What does this have to do with peace?

Empathy is the ability to enter into the feelings of others. It cares how others feel and desires to celebrate the positive emotions while consoling the painful ones.

Again, it is a test of love. It shows that you love another person well enough to set aside your own emotional needs to respond to the emotional needs of others. Such an unselfish love is not natural, it is supernatural. It is the love Jesus demonstrates for you and me!

Such love shows that you are at ease with your own emotional state - at peace with yourself. That allows you to enter into the joys and sufferings of others.

"For 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." Hebrews 4:15

Jesus is able to know how hard life is and how much it can hurt because He lived life and faced the temptations of life - EVERY ONE - so that He can identify exactly with what you are feeling in any difficulty trial of life.

Why would He love like that? Why would He willing suffer as He did? Why would he relive that pain by identifying with others' pain?

It is because God loves like that! And because He loved God and God's love was perfected in Him, Jesus loves like that.

So, if God's love is active in your life you will love in the same way He loves. You will genuinely rejoice in their joys and sincerely share their sorrows.

Extending grace to others. Empathizing with others. Those are two big steps to inner peace and to developing peace in a family or a fellowship.

Are you a peacemaker? Are you able to give to others the very emotional support you desire for yourself?