“Empathy is a stunning act of imaginative derring-do, the ultimate virtual reality—climbing into another’s mind to experience the world from that person’s perspective.” —Donald H. Pink
As we continued our series called Bigger Than Me last night (part 1 is here), we challenged our Impact! youth group to develop greater empathy. That word literally means to be immersed in the feelings of others … to step into someone else’s reality … to walk around in someone else’s flip-flops.
The greatest example ever of this is when Jesus Christ came to earth. He stepped into our flip-flops by coming to live among us in human flesh. He experienced everything we ever have or ever will experience; He knows our weaknesses, our dreams, our joys.
For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. … For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried…. (Hebrews 4:15, 2:18)
Our youth have committed themselves to develop this Christ-like attribute of empathy. Last night they came to the altar to pick up a flip-flop keychain to remind themselves of this commitment. All of us who made this commitment are going to try to walk in others’ flip-flops by trying to find out:
- What do they cry about?
- What do they sing about?
- What do they dream about?
(Thank you, John Maxwell, for your instruction to me on this!)
I hope you have personally experienced the incredible empathy of Jesus. He understands your fears, your joys, and your dreams even better than you understand them yourself. And I hope that you will join us in our commitment to greater empathy with each other. What a blessing you can be to others when you choose to walk in their flip-flops for awhile.