Thoughts on Empathy

There is a word that came to me in the aftermath of the monstrous storm that ravaged our land and our people. I see this father in the news, a day after the typhoon left, carrying his lifeless daughter in his arms, his wife beside her. There is chaos around them. Someone is trying to lead them out of that place of devastation. But the father, he hesitates; he looks around, like trying to find the answer why he’s carrying his daughter in his arms, already lifeless. The wife looks at him – utter confusion and shock have locked up the dam of tears inside. They can’t even cry. Mourning can wait, they are probably thinking. There are more pressing matters at hand, like taking one step in front of the other. To where, I know they don’t have any idea.

(image source)

Where do you go from the place where your life has been shattered? Where do you sit? What will you think? How do you breathe? How do you live from now on? Do the people not affected by the catastrophe really care deeply beyond supplying food, water, and clothing? I mean, they would dump clothes they don’t like anymore into sacks and large garbage bags, or write a check, or buy canned goods and noodles to be sent away to the people waiting in hunger and thirst and cold. These graces which we are deeply grateful for will assuage their hunger, quench their thirst, and warm their shivering bodies, but are they enough to reach and soothe the sorrowing soul, stanch and warm the broken and bleeding heart?

(image source)

Really, how do you reach out to them? Or do you even think beyond the giving of relief goods to reaching them where healing could start, by God’s grace? When you think that you will never want to experience this tragedy in your own life, then you can imagine and maybe feel what they are going through, and this realization might urge you to do something more, even beyond the norm. And maybe with that, I have attempted to put meaning to this word called “empathy”.

em·pa·thy

noun \ˈem-pə-thē\

: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings (Ref.: merriam-webster.com).

If you have empathy, you don’t go about displaying your photos enjoying, celebrating, feasting, and probably having the grandest time of your life. If the people who are suffering and sorrowing see them, they would be hurt. These won’t help them, but may plunge them to deeper despair and bitterness. It’s just wrong timing done in bad taste. If you have empathy, you want to be silent to honor them and what they are going through, and think about them; pray for them with tears; and do something for them to make them feel that, yes, they are loved and cared for by the Body of Christ.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Rom. 12:15)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2)

I want to think that, just like Job’s friends who came to sit with him on the ashes and be present for him, we may also sit with the grieving families among the debris, but minus Job’s friends’ condemnations, and just be present for them in their grief. And maybe, the Lord will open our mouths so that we will speak the words that could start the healing process. For you see, the best thing in the world that we can give them, after relieving them of their hunger and thirst, is still the Lord Jesus Christ. The hope and life and healing that are in Him. For He alone can raise up the people from the ruins and the debris, and give them new life: a future and a hope. 

(Our Church is now preparing to go to the ravaged areas to bring victuals with healing hands and prayers, and hope).

From the bottom of my heart to the point of weeping in gratitude, I would like to thank all the nations that donated to our beloved country for the victims of the super typhoon Haiyan, to all local donors, to all the volunteers, both locals and foreigners, and to all who prayed and are still praying for our country and our people. Thank you! You are much appreciated (tears).

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Grace says:

    My heart aches for your people…. I will be praying The Lord uses your church and other believers mightily to bring the life and hope that is in Jesus Christ and that He prepares the hearts of those being ministered to, so that His Word takes root in their hearts.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for your love and prayers for the Filipino people, Grace. I am one with in your prayer for our land. Blessings to you!

  2. Joanie Qualls says:

    Praying and put his on Facebook, Rina. My grandson is with a ministry to help as many more christians and non. CBN is there. Huge concerns. Thank you, Rina for writing this. I had been praying for you all, not knowing if you were in danger also. Glad you are all safe and being able to help.

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