Have you ever encountered someone who asked how you were doing and then they dismissed your honesty? You usually say “fine” and then go on about your day, but that one time with someone you know well, you chose differently. Finally for once, you chose to be honest about your “fine-ness”.
You exposed yourself and were a little vulnerable. And it blew up in your face. Stunned you. You weren’t understood. Did you feel that person didn’t care to even try to understand? Where was their empathy? Why should we expect empathy, even from other Christians? Humans have the innate ability of letting us down. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be honest. But, in our honesty, we should guard our hearts against the infallible nature of man.
I wonder how many times I’ve not sat in empathy long enough with the person in front of me. How I absently looked beyond them in their hard season. Did they feel dismissed . . . overlooked? It pains me to think of times I may have looked and not recognized a need.
Listened but not heard.
Looked but not seen.
Stood in their presence without acknowledgement.
We hesitate to encourage others to look back on what was with longing to the point of not facing reality, a hard season. Lot’s wife stood looking back, and we see where that got her! Yet, let us consider.
For our emotional health, we need
that moment of acknowledgement
before moving on . . .
a time for grieving over what was.
Have you been there?
Let’s be completely truthful here. How many of us always respond to others perfectly? As one who lacks the gift of gab, I stumble when in a situation calling for a well-thought-out response.
So, let’s not always expect it from others. Yes, when a loving response comes, relish it as the blessing that it is. When understanding doesn’t come, look to the Lord. Stand on His response instead.
One thing is for sure. We can, without doubt, rest assured that God understands.
The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. (Psalms 13-15)
Can you replace the dismissal of another with the understanding of God?
What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you. (Genesis 28:15)
When we are confident in being fully understood by God, we can then focus on our love, empathy, and understanding of others.
We can show them the love of Jesus . . .
empathy and understanding like Jesus would give them.
Wouldn’t that change of focus be nice? We can live with our love and understanding tanks full from the Lord. And we can stop overlooking others who need (like we did) affirmation. A pause. Time to reflect with them.
God wants us to desire to give rather than to get. When we allow the Lord to fill us, we are set.
To be others focused.
Attending to others with love, empathy, and understanding are the things for which relationship was designed by our Creator.
Because He lives~