Editor Jan 30 : 19:01
Empathy is about relating.
Empathy is about relating. Relating to someone. Putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Entering into the feelings of another. What does that mean? Well, in CR it means that when people are sharing their experiences of how they picked up or were tempted to pick up and are open for feedback, we in the group can and do relate to them. Another word we use in the group is “identify.”
To relate or identify with someone you have to both think and feel. Now you may think that this is an obvious statement. However, many people don't do either! I've made many comments without putting myself in the other person's shoes. It's so much easier! If I just make a judgment about this person's lack of judgment, I come off looking quite impressive, right? Wrong! Not in this CR group! There is an art to relating. It is a skill, see Rom.15:2-3. For instance:
Suppose, I had an argument with my wife. I got mad, bolted out the door and ended up getting high on marijuana with a friend – a girlfriend! One thing led to another and I was unfaithful! How do you relate to this if you are not married, if you don't smoke marijuana and if you have never been unfaithful in any of your relationships ?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions – you can relate! Now, to those of you who do have a wife and have gotten quite angry and are used to medicating your emotions and have been unfaithful in many a relationship, you have a different challenge. You have to be willing to say,” I'm not so different from you…” Not flattering is it? Confessing your stupidity, ignorance, lack of control or poor decision making, will not make you look good. However, it will make the other person feel that they are not alone!
I have found this ability to relate of great advantage in my relationships with my family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, even strangers. It has allowed me to communicate, counsel and comfort on a deeper level. Understanding others feelings, as well as my own, more effectively. It is what Jesus did constantly!
Children are often ignored or minimized by those who think they know better (so are we at times.)
The adulteress was facing harsh judgment from people whose own sin either equalled or surpassed hers! (Who are we to judge without first judging ourselves? Read Romans 2:1-3)
Being demon possessed makes you a social pariah! Unwelcome at intimate, family or public gatherings (Can you remember being so drunk or high that people had to put some distance between you and them? I can!)
The rich young guy wouldn't take a hit in his pocketbook for Christs' sake – the price of salvation wasn't in his budget! (How many times have we trimmed our budget at God's expense? Had money for everything else, but none to get to church or CR?)
Last of all, those guys hanging out at the spot throwing down goblets of beer & wine and smoking the herb of the day, HELL BENT! (Certainly, their fates were sealed! Right? ) Well, when the Son of God wants to hang with you, you do have hope!
CR is the place where addicts can hang with Jesus - now! It is the place where we can identify with each other, while relating to him, as he empathizes with us!