God’s Empathy

 In Featured, Pastor Jeff's Blog

This High Priest of our [Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same testing we do, yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15

Recent research out of Stanford University suggests that the reason that homo sapiens, out of the other humanoids that existed 70,000 years ago, survived was because of their capacity for empathy. Empathy, feeling what others feel and responding appropriately, allowed for larger clans and deeper collaboration. Even though other humanoids, such as Neanderthals, were bigger and stronger, it was empathy that won over brawn in the battle for survival.

Empathy creates connection, and since our identity is formed from social connections, empathy creates an identity that manifests in kindness. When we connect with another human being and experience an empathetic connection, feeling truly heard and fully accepted, our lives are more often marked by purpose, meaning and kindness.

How amazing that the God of all creation would choose to be born into the limitations of human flesh to experience what we do. We worship a Lord who can truly empathize with both the joys and hardship of human existence. And how much more meaning does that reality bring to our relationship with God, our life of worship, prayer and service?

Advent is a wonderful time to ponder these mysteries, and express our gratitude for the amazing gift of Jesus that opens the window of empathy between God and us.

Want to learn more about empathy? Check out this article and the book written by Jamil Zaki.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN


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