Empathy

22 December 2019
‘I…sat among them for seven days.’

Unless we understand what other people are going through, we won’t be able to minister to them very effectively. We can sympathise with others and offer support, but the best support we can offer comes when we’ve been through the same thing and can fully grasp what they’re experiencing. In Ezekiel 3, we’re told of a time when Ezekiel sat with the exiles for a week before delivering messages from God. Ezekiel writes: ‘Then I came to the colony of Judean exiles…I was overwhelmed and sat among them for seven days. After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman”’ (vv.15-17 NLT). God gave Ezekiel a message for others after he’d spent seven days and nights sitting with people who had lost everything, people in deep despair and in need of answers. Jesus also spent time experiencing the things we feel. The Bible tells us, ‘This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do’ (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). For example, the forty days He spent in the desert facing temptation and attacks on His identity (which you can read about in Luke 4) means that He understands how we feel when we’re tempted, tested, and feeling distant from God. We may not be enjoying the things we’re going through right now, we might even be praying for them to end. But God may be using them to prepare us to reach people who are experiencing the same things. He may be bringing us through the circumstances to give others hope that He can bring them through too. Our greatest mess can turn out to be our greatest message. 

 

What Now?

Instead of asking God to change your circumstances today, try asking Him to help you reach other people who are experiencing the same things. 

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