Back in 2017, we offhandedly pointed out that “empathy” had become a central tenet of the atheist’s faith. This was barely blinked at, as our previous president had talked about empathy more than any other politician before him, our intersectional high priests were busy sermonizing the concept, and not a soul questioned the inherent virtue of any and all who claimed to feel it. 

It is important to take notice of these kinds of talking points, interrogate it’s  worldview, presuppositions, and definitions because (like it or not) whatever talking points the world is pounding hard will eventually find their way into the church. Naturally, a few years after empathy became the main way unbelievers could quickly signal their virtue, we now have people in the pew utilizing it in similar ways. 

Of course, by this third paragraph, we now sound like the kind of women who are against kittens, rainbows, and butterflies. But that’s the problem. We are supposed to be the kind of women who can see kittens, rainbows, and butterflies and appreciate them in their proper place. No one should be pro-kittens all the time and everywhere. A kitten on a battlefield or a busy highway is not appropriate or helpful—it’s actually rather sad. A rainbow is a symbol of both God’s wrath and His compassion. Misunderstood, a rainbow stands for perversion. Butterflies are good for looking at, but hopefully you aren’t eating them for dinner. You see? You inherently know that not all things are equal, not all things are profitable, and all things have certain uses. The misuse of things often leads to their ruin

And so it is with empathy. Let’s chat!

 

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5 Comments

  1. Jess

    Thanks heaps this, it was really helpful.

    The phrase “I know exactly what you are going through” is one I push back from, I agree it does not help the person hearing it and lets be honest… do you really you exactly? So it’s a lie. I have trained myself to not use the phrase, instead I often will say “I am so sorry that totally stinks/sucks/is awful/I can’t imagine…” when someone shares something that is difficult. I am not sure why Christians feel like we have to or that we can, ease the pain or the hurt away. Pain and hurt is part of the Christian life and taking it away or attempting to take it away is not allowing God to do His sanctifying work in the persons life.

    I worked in sports chaplaincy for 11 years and the man that trained us said something that I still hold to, he said, “Christians should be the only people that run towards those in pain. Why? Because we have a Saviour who endured incredible pain on our behalf, because of our sin. The Christian has a framework for pain because it is at the core of our faith.”
    This has been a wonderful reminder for me when I want to try make someone feel better, I can’t, I can only run to them, walk with them and point them to Christ who knows their pain and can comfort them in the Gospel.

    Reply
  2. Brenda Morris

    Hey guys, I support you through the tool on your site, so how does that work with the book club setup?

    Reply
    • Summer Jaeger

      Hi Brenda!!! Unfortunately, it doesn’t. All of our book club stuff is hosted on patreon. Feel free to email me if you have questions and want help getting moved over there. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Gary Smith

    I was always taught that Empathy is the ability to understand what another person is feeling without feeling it yourself (not that you are cold about it, or respond inappropriately), whereas Sympathy is where you do feel what the other person is feeling (often because you have gone through it yourself). Empathy triggers the logical thought process (ie. “I must do something about this”), where as Sympathy triggers the emotional feelings (ie. “I too have gone through what you are going through, you are not alone in this”). Of course, since sin has entered the world they are both fallen, like all things are.

    Reply
  4. Tosca Ferndale

    Yes, this is a great session on a very crucial topic.

    Wondering where do you place empathy in the conversation around compassion – surely we are called to be filled with compassion as Jesus was, especially in discipleship and serving.

    Just a thought.
    Really enjoy this podcast

    Reply

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©2018 Sheologians

©2018 Sheologians

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