Romans 12:15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
What is empathy? For me, empathy used to be one of those words that made sense in conversation, but if someone asked me to define it then I’d be hard pressed to give a good definition. But over the last two years I’ve had the chance to explore empathy in a variety of ways.
One of the best looks at empathy I’ve found comes from a Social Work professor, Brene Brown. Check out this really amazing and brief video on empathy (https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw).
Brown describes empathy as “feeling with people.” It’s the ability to understand, reflect, and share someone else’s situation. Here’s the thing; I believe that empathy sits at the center of the Christian life. From the life of Jesus to the letters of Paul and the history of the Hebrews, empathy lies at the core of our calling to follow God and live a holy life.
In Romans 12:15, Paul says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” If this is anything, it is a call to empathy and empathic action. And what’s the sub-title for the section this verse comes from? In the NIV, it is “Love in Action.”
This is what it means to put love into our deeds. It isn’t to fix things, but to share in life with others.
I hope that today and this week, we can begin to see how acting and living empathically will help us bring the love of Christ into the world.