Friday, May 20, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover and Empathy

Extreme Home Makeover - great show. Inevitably, as the show goes on to the part where the homeowners see their new home for the first time, I cry...I cry with them. On yesterday's show, the homeowner was from Jamaica and grew up without shoes. The EHM team coordinated an effort where 1000 shoes would be sent back to the homeowner's school in Jamaica, at which point, I cried along with the homeowner.

I cry when there is heartfelt emotion. Generally, I am not a crier, but when I sense strong emotion from others, it is like I become sucked in through a strong vortex and become entwined in their moment. It is uncontrollable...the wave of emotion that wells up...and for that moment, I feel connected by something greater than myself. I can only attribute this experience to God and to how He created us.

Empathy... "Empathy is an ability with many different definitions. They cover a broad spectrum, ranging from feeling a concern for other people that creates a desire to help them, experiencing emotions that match another person's emotions, knowing what the other person is thinking or feeling, to blurring the line between self and other."

We need empathy in our world today. We need to allow ourselves to feel the joy, the sorrow, the hurt, the anger of others...to view the moment or the world through the experiences of others. The reason why I say this is that without empathy we become calloused and cold to the truth. Truth.

In having empathy, we are able to offer mercy and love. The world around us is very quick to condemn us, hate us, and attempt to destroy whatever hope we may have. It is a fear thing. But with the Holy Spirit, we can overcome this pattern in the world by allowing Him to work in us and through us, allow ourselves to feel empathy and act upon it. For some of us that is easier said than done; however, it is possible because it is not us making it happen, it is God working in and through us. Perhaps it is something we need to pray for...the ability to see with His eyes, to hear with His ears, and to respond with His heart...

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,...

...so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.~Romans 15:5-6

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