Something I’ve been pondering lately: Can empathy be taught? As I talk and talk, and guide and guide; even pray for others to make wise choices. To think of another’s perspective, I often wonder if being intentional and considering the hearts of others is a skill that can be learned. Some days it seems downright fruitless.
In a world where most people just don’t seem to care about the feelings or hurts of others; where anything seems to be said without weighing the consequences, or thinking about how it harms-I pray my example can make some small difference. That what I model sparks a little more love and care in this world. Especially in a much more entitled one.
In thinking over the example that is to be set, I came across something Paul had to say about treatment of others in Romans 12:
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:9-16
So today, though I may talk until I’m even tired of hearing my own voice, I pray these things:
That someone will see the love I show to those who don’t deserve it, and love others the same.
That someone will reach down to pick up someone who has fallen, instead of laughing or criticizing.
That someone will see me happy and joyful; even in the darkest of times, and find the courage to choose to be positive, too.
That someone will see me enjoying the company of the so-called “ordinary,” or the “uncool,” and decide it is much cooler to enjoy their company, too. I pray someone chooses to not let them sit alone.
That someone will see me crying because I feel the pain of another. Laughing because I feel their joy, and choose to sit and see life through someone else’s eyes for a bit.
That someone will be a little more kind. Will speak with words that are less harsh. Will apologize. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive. Simply because they watched me.
They watched me show love to the unloveable. They watched me show patience and grace to those who were wearing someone else’s patience. They heard me speak words of encouragement and praise to someone who only hears judgment.
They saw Jesus in me.
And then choose to let someone see Jesus in them, too.