Thursday, April 6, 2017
Where Empathy Makes a Difference
We made it back home just in time for the family's morning training and devotion that pivots around the current events of the home: a praise or motivational moment, a discipline moment, or moments of exchanging creative ideas on a project or activity. Yesterday's was so stirring that tears began to flow when I started sharing. On point, Buddy came and laid his head in my lap. I get that not everyone believes that dogs have the ability to "empathize", but I sensed it. Many years ago, Staci's dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Desi, was with us during some times when it seemed I often shed bucket-loads of tears. Inevitably, Desi would crawl up in my lap to comfort me.
Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, like putting ourselves into the mental shoes of someone to understand and even share their emotions and feelings. Though our furry friends may give us a measure of comfort, there is truly something to be said for others who understand us because "they have walked in our shoes", but even more so, when those friends give us hope. Here's what I know from experience. I don't need someone to say "Bless your heart. I know how you feel -- I've been there." Those words say to me "Go ahead. Wallow in all that pain. Go ahead and take your time in getting over it." PLEASE....give us more than that! Please give us hope!
St. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:4 "That you may be comforted with the same comfort that I've been comforted with by our God of comfort ." Like Paul, in his many testings and trials, we are encouraged to come boldly to God's throne of grace, where His mercy and grace are free-flowing in our times of need. The Lord is able to give peace to our troubled souls and says "Let not your heart be troubled." Our sweetest comforts are in Him. He speaks peace to us and He binds us up when we are broken-hearted. He gives hope and joy during our times of greatest need.....so much so that not only are we comforted -- we have enough comfort left over to encourage and comfort others.