The ability to identify with another person, and understand his or her feelings in a genuine way in their time of need (Rom 12:15; Heb 10:33, 13:3; 1 Pet 3:8). Listen to hear

 Empathy is walking in their shoes   

what is on their heart. Empathy is more than sympathy, it is compassion at work, giving moral support and where appropriate providing practical beneficial help, bearing another’s burdens in a tangible way and so fulfilling Christ’s command (Gal 6:2; Jas 2:15,16; 1 Jn 3:17). As appropriate, it is doing to others what we would like done to us (Lk 6:31). Jesus saw us as eternally lost, and acted to bring about salvation for us.  He lived on earth as a human being, and so was able to appreciate our limitations and trials and in ‘all points was tempted as we are yet didn’t sin’ (Heb 2:17,18, 4:15).  When we have experienced something, we can understand the similar problems of others and come alongside them in a more meaningful way (2 Cor 1:4).

Another example of Jesus displaying the capacity to understand and share the feelings of others was despite being crucified and about to die, He was still able to share the emotional pain of His mother, Mary. As a result, He made arrangement for her welfare after His death (Jn 19:25-27).

See also: comfort (reassure), compassion, encouragement, golden rule, support, sympathy.

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