Fresh Hope – 6th March 2018

A leader, or anyone working with people for that matter, cannot succeed based on skill alone. Empathy or compassion is a basis for all successful relationships. Being compassionate isn’t about being soft or weak. It is about having a genuine understanding of what someone might be experiencing, even to the point where you might feel what they are feeling. An empathetic leader is a successful leader because they will make hard decisions from a place of humility and service. Likewise, an empathetic friend is a beautiful friend because trust is established as they emotionally share the burden.

Biblical empathy requires action. We see over and over in scripture Jesus responding to people from a place of empathy. ‘When Jesus saw the crowds he had compassion on them’ (Matthew 9:36). In the ultimate act of compassion, Jesus didn’t just come to earth to save us as God, He came as man. He came and stood in our shoes. He didn’t look at mankind and simply feel bad for us, He came down, got in the dirt of mankind, and suffered for us. There was a response to His compassion.

If you want to grow in compassion, grow in love with God. It is impossible to love God, and not love people.
1 John 3:17 says, ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?’.

God is the master of empathy. He personally feels the pain of people. In Psalm 56:8 David says, ‘You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book’.

It doesn’t take much to identify heartbreak in the world today. When you see pain, suffering, shame, rejection, heartache and loss, it is our assignment to feel it and get amongst it.

I had a scripture on my bedroom wall growing up and I used to read it over and over again when I lay in bed at night. Today I refer back to it constantly as an overarching mission and mandate for my life. It was Isaiah 61:1, ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’.

This is our inbuilt responsibility as lovers of God. To feel compassion, but to not be afraid to get ‘sent into the darkness’, too in order to bring healing for others.

Romans 12:15, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.