DEVOTION, 12/4/2020. Empathy
12 Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ (Acts 22:12-13, NKJV).
We know that Paul was persecuting Christians until Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus.That encounter left him blind. Ananias knows Paul’s background. He may have wondered if it was wise to approach him, He might become Paul’s next victim! Whatever fears were in the heart of Ananias he approaches Paul. Was Paul really converted? Ananias refers to him as “brother.” That is an example of compassion and empathy.
Grammar lesson! Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. Empathy is feeling sorry for someone and then acting to help.
How do we respond when we find a person caught up in sin and despair? Do we feel sympathy for the lost? Do we think, “I am sorry that person is lost and I hope someone will help them.” Or do we feel empathy. “I am going to pray for my lost friend and also be prepared to share Christ with him.”
We need to show our love for others by our actions, not just our feelings. Is sharing Christ complicated? Not really. Anyone can say to another, “May I share with you what Christ has done in my life?” Then you simply share in your own words what Christ means to you. How others respond is their responsibility. You have done what you need to do.
Gracious heavenly Father, help me to go beyond sympathy and practice empathy. When I see someone in need, whatever the need may be, help me to go beyond feeling sorry and to offer a helping hand. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.