Empathy: the missing link between pain and hope.

We usually celebrate those who rise above the storm. Winners who thrive in terrible situations in their lives. I do too. I love champions like that. But some of us find it difficult to accept that there are people who love God dearly, who don’t blame God for their terrible situations in life, would still be sad, or even depressed.

One thing I felt uncomfortable and confused with the messages I received from certain Christian articles, some sermon messages, and well-meaning Christians, etc. is—the quick downplay of one’s emotions, situations (whatever it is), and the emphasis on perspective, God’s Hope, faith…The keywords here are: quick downplay.

I know that He is in control. I know about changing our perspectives. I know about choosing our responses. I know all that. And we do need to have that and live it out.

But it doesn’t take away the emotions and pain, certainly not the situation. It’s hard to choose a good response to not cry when you are bleeding.

For me at my low point of life, being ‘preached’ that we should focus on God (while this is true), makes me struggle even worse. It makes me struggle with my struggles. That the sadness must be taken away because, you know, God is hope. It makes me feel guilty that I’m feeling sad when I have so many things to be joyful for.
It makes me feel—less than a Christian.

Don’t get me started that yeah, guilt doesn’t come from God, it comes from Satan, yada yada. I. know. that.

In our zealousness to guide people back on track—have we moved too fast to point people to the bigger picture—unconsciously downplayed the complexity of emotions, and therefore desensitised pain?

Is it any wonder that people are lonely in their pain in a world of fixer-uppers?

 

When we acknowledge people’s pain in their weakest moment, we give them strength and hope because—someone understands.

Do that often enough, chances are the person will have enough strength to rise, one step at a time.


I cried at this scene. I can relate to me, to my daughter, to the many others who are struggling. It’s one of the reasons why I never say ‘chin up!’ to people.


I have the tremendous blessings of a handful of people who were coal bearers during my current winter season in life. These are the precious people who literally and figuratively sat beside me when I have no more words and no more tears to shed. God gave me His strength through them. Receiving the comfort on my bleeding wound, I can then better hear the message of hope. So, I wanna say thank you to each of you. You know who you are.

God is giving us the opportunity to be His vessel. Can we learn to be empathetic to a hurting person in need?

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