So… a friend of mine, a young father, was just diagnosed with ALS
What did you just feel – just now?
Stop and go back 4 seconds.
Sympathy says, “Gee I’m sorry about that.” OK – that is fair. But… as he stated, “I tell almost no one about this because they leave me feeling pitied and hopeless.”
Empathy says, “I know a bit about how you must feel…me too, and I’m so sorry.” Sounds better huh? Empathy is sympathy plus identification. thats better.
But then you walk away. Hug and gone.
There is a Greek word “esplanchnisthē” that means literally “moved at a gut level to action” (Strongs 4697). It is used ONLY of Jesus in the New Testament… oh, and of the father of the Prodigal son.
It is the word we translate: “compassion”.
Compassion every time is sympathy, moving to deep empathy, and then moving to supportive or redemptive action. Compassion is the identifying characteristic of Jesus our brother. It is the emotion + action that leads someone to rekindle hope, to feel their burden shared…perhaps to be changed in some way.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion..” Col 3:12
Jesus, moved with compassion, healed, freed, fed, touched, encouraged.
Moved. With. Compassion.
Weep with… Rejoice with…