Select Wisdom Brand


by Scott Wylie

Empathy, a profoundly compassionate and biblical concept, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Rooted in the Bible, empathy goes beyond mere sympathy; it calls Christians to not only experience but also demonstrate deep compassion and understanding toward those around them. In this article, we will explore the biblical concept of empathy, its profound significance, and provide practical guidance for how Christians can cultivate and express empathy in their lives.

CLICK HERE or on the image to open the infographic.

Infographic on the biblical quality of mercy.

What is Empathy?

Empathy, in a biblical context, is closely linked to compassion and love. It involves actively seeking to understand the emotions, experiences, and perspectives of others. It calls for genuine concern for the well-being of fellow human beings and a willingness to walk alongside them in their joys and sorrows. Empathy mirrors the compassion God has shown to humanity through Christ.

Key Passages on Empathy

  1. Romans 12:15 (ESV):
    "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." This verse underscores the call to empathize with others, sharing in both their joys and sorrows.

  2. 1 Peter 3:8 (ESV):
    "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." Empathy is an essential component of unity, sympathy, and love.

  3. Philippians 2:4 (ESV):
    "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Empathy prompts Christians to consider the needs and concerns of others.

Experiencing Empathy

  1. Listen Actively: When someone shares their thoughts and feelings, listen attentively without interrupting or judging.

  2. Ask Questions: Show interest in others by asking open-ended questions that invite them to share more about their experiences.

  3. Practice Patience: Allow individuals to express themselves at their own pace. Don't rush them or dismiss their emotions.

  4. Share in Joy: Celebrate the successes and joys of others wholeheartedly. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing.

  5. Show Compassion: When someone is hurting, express genuine sympathy and support. Weep with those who are weeping.

  6. Offer a Helping Hand: Be willing to assist when someone is in need, whether through physical help or emotional support.

  7. Avoid Judgment: Refrain from making hasty judgments about others. Seek to understand before forming opinions.

  8. Pray for Understanding: Ask God to grant you a heart that seeks to understand and share in the experiences of others.

  9. Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Imagine yourself in the other person's situation to gain insight into their feelings and struggles.

  10. Model Empathy: Set an example of empathy for others, especially within your family, church, and community.

Prayer and Reading Guide for Growing In Mercy

  • Pray for a Compassionate Heart:
    "Lord, grant me a heart filled with compassion and empathy toward those I encounter." - Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

  • Pray for Understanding:
    "Help me, Lord, to understand the feelings and experiences of others, seeking to walk in their shoes." - Proverbs 2:6 (ESV)

  • Pray for Patience:
    "Teach me patience, Lord, as I listen and support others in their times of need." - James 1:19 (ESV)

  • Pray for Humility:
    "Keep me humble, Lord, as I strive to empathize with others and put their needs before mine." - Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

  • Pray for Sensitivity:
    "Grant me sensitivity to the emotions and struggles of those around me, Lord." - 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (ESV)

  • Pray for Grace:
    "Fill me with Your grace, Lord, that I may extend empathy and understanding as You have done for me." - Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

  • Pray for Discernment:
    "Give me discernment, Lord, to know when and how to express empathy effectively." - Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

  • Pray for Unity:
    "May Your Spirit of empathy foster unity and love among Your people, Lord." - Psalm 133:1 (ESV)

  • Pray for Openness:
    "Help me, Lord, to keep an open heart and mind, ready to empathize with all who come my way." - Romans 15:7 (ESV)

  • Pray for Courage:
    "Grant me the courage, Lord, to step out of my comfort zone and actively demonstrate empathy to others." - 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Add a Comment