This week, we have explored the ways in which empathy informs and shapes our call as Christians to love one another. We’ve learned how empathy is sitting with and understanding another’s perspective. We’ve looked at how empathy allows us to love others in ways that uniquely speak to their circumstances. We’ve even seen how we have a high priest in Christ who’s empathy has brought us salvation.
Today, I would like to end our time together by encouraging each one of us to live our lives more empathetically in light of our readings. In a society that often seems more and more connected, we can increasingly find ourselves alone. At its very root, empathy stands against such isolation by opening our own hearts to those around us.
This is hard. This is dangerous. It’s a path that has even led to the cross. But when we refuse or close our eyes to the full humanity of those around us, we begin to break the very ties that make us human. Because out of everything that God has made, only loneliness was not good.
To be human – the way that humanity is meant to be – is to be in community, relationship, and connection with all those around us. Who is our neighbor? Everyone. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. Who should I love? Even my enemies.
The work of God, from the emancipation of the Israelites to the salvation of the resurrection, is a story of an ever widening circle of people that are called to love and care for one another in the glory of God. That cause has not changed even today.
We are called to love and care and expand the boundaries of our own comfort so that the unlovable will be cared for and the lonely will no longer be alone.
Empathy is the tool that protects our hearts from becoming stone.
As we part ways today, my prayer for each of us is that we are transformed and empowered to carry hearts of flesh that can love beyond human comprehension.