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I admit, I’m human and I periodically struggle with empathy, where one slips inside the shoes of another being.

Sometimes my brain gets it and I empathise with the individual there and then. However, for the most part, I literally have no experience, so I honestly struggle to make sense of a given situation or outcome, never mind begin to empathise towards another being.

My question is how does one express godly empathy, when much of one’s end result is a consequence of our own decision making?

I still remember a conversation with an older brother in Christ at church, who shared with me of his mother-in-law who took ill. I expressed my sadness for his mother-in-law. He then began to explain that the result of her dying state was that she’s a heavy smoker.

I admit my expressive words evolved from an Oh to an Ah. Fortunately, my fellow brother in Christ understood my position, because we all know that certain substances obviously affect our bodies.

I naturally offered to pray with my brother in Christ there and then, especially for the medical team to administer her health as she was in the best place to receive medical care.

In a contrasting example, I would receive a rare phonecall at the IT Helpdesk at work regarding a lost Internet connection, where the user has switched off the physical router. I often pause in disbelief for a second or two. It’s like empathising with an inaudible facepalm. Once my initial shock and horror phases away, I then proceed with instructions to help them return back to productivity.

I am sure we all have varying degrees of empathy. I know I’ve heard sermons where a preacher will use Jesus’ life as a way of sharing that Jesus knows the hardships, trials and temptations that we face in our daily lives. But I am keen to know if the LORD God expresses empathy over our stupidity. I know God’s love interchanges with God’s mercy for us. And we ought to love our neighbours and show compassion towards others.

An extreme example comes from the States, where there was a medical team who were assigned to nurse and care for the life of a prime suspect from the Boston Marathon bombings back in 2013. It wouldn’t surprise me if the surgery and post-op was based on a mutual agreement to all available medical personnel, as opposed to *you will* save this man’s life, especially when the designated team are given non-disclosures to not communicate with the outside media. Can you imagine the mixed emotions of abiding to the Code of Ethics (out of sheer compassion and empathy), whilst processing the human logic that this very individual is responsible for such a terrible atrocity that left 3 people dead and around 264 injured?

I do believe people should be given a second chance, and to an extent, a third chance and a fourth chance… I would like to believe that I am growing in the area of godly empathy as a whole, but I also struggle with the fact that we’re all just a bunch of hypocrites who desperately need to be reminded where we stand at the foot of the cross.

~Richard