Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of one another.
I am a believer.
I struggle with this.
Most believers struggle with this, believe it or not.
There are two types of struggles that believers face when it comes to empathy. Believers who refuse to have empathy, or believers who do not have real empathy. In other words, these believers limit there empathy by only showing it when it's comfortable.
Lets talk about the first group, the ones who refuse. These are the people who are so set in their theological ways, that they are unable to separate themselves from their deep knowledge of the bible in order to help someone out. This might sound crazy, so let me break it down for you.
These people are so set on right and wrong that they are unable to remove themselves from the sin that this person can't even come to a helpful or human conclusion. They automatically go to a passage that condemns the sinner to point out their flaws. These believers want to fix the problem immediately without getting to the heart of the issue.
The second group are the fakers. These people will pretend to understand a situation, when really they don't.This might not sound fake, but if you have ever been in this situation, you can almost recognize the fake empathy immediately. As a believer, I struggle with this. I want to be able to relate to everyone immediately and give the advice that I think would best help their situation.
The danger in relating to a situation when you have no idea what your talking about is that your words might do more harm than help. As believers, it is okay to not be able to relate to every situation, because everyone's life is different.
Moral of the story: As Christians we need to be better listeners.
Both struggles lack the same skill--listening. Both groups have great intentions of helping the sinner, but they aren't executing because they lack the simple skill to listen.
The first group isn't listening to the heart of the situation. They want biblical truths to fix everything, which they do, but sometimes immediately hitting someone with a passage isn't showing that you are understanding what they are struggling with.
In the same sense, the faker is being selfish in a sense, to try to understand something that they can't. Instead of pointing them to the Lord, the faker will try to put themselves in a situation where they aren't qualified to answer.
Christians, lets just listen. We don't have all the answers. And that is okay.