Empathy. A word I thought I knew. A word I thought I actually practiced pretty well. But I have learned so much about this word since the death of our daughter Tori. Webster defines “empathy” like this. “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. Jesus showed empathy when he arrived at the home of Mary and Martha after Lazarus has died. You remember the story….Jesus wept. I believe Jesus didn’t cry for Lazarus as He already knew He would be bringing him back to life. I think Jesus was showing empathy for Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, and all of mankind. He understood the pain they were going through and knew it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The support my family received after losing Tori was amazing! Our friends were truly empathetic. These friends of mine…..ran toward me with tears and open arms. One friend in particular came over and said “I’m just going to sit here with you. You don’t have to say a word to me. I just want to be here with you.”. Another friend nudged me to have lunch with her once a week even though all I did was cry most of the time. Others sent cards and texts with encouraging words and letting me know they were praying for us months after our loss. That is what true empathy looks like! I challenge you to be the friend that runs towards someone that is hurting.
In 2021, may we strive to show Christ like empathy to those in need around us.