“Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (2 Corinthians 11:29)
To be without empathy is to be without the Spirit of Christ. Jesus entered into our suffering. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isa. 53:3) He is a merciful and compassionate High Priest, who makes intercession for us, because He knows our pains.
There are times when all we can really do is pray. We stand in the presence of God for those we know are suffering. We don’t even know how to pray. “… I am so troubled that I cannot speak.” (Psa. 77:4) But when words fails us, we station ourselves before the God of pity whose heart we share. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom. 8:26)
Even when God disciplines it is not what His heart wants to do. “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” (Lam. 3:33) Callousness is not part of God’s character. His mercies endure forever and His compassion is unfailing. “… The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)
There was no one that Paul did not feel for. He hurt for the church and the lost. This heart of compassion and empathy for all people expresses the good heart of God. “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Ps. 145:9)
God’s greatest concern is that we should share His heart; that we should be moved by what moves Him. So often this places us in a position of pain because we are entering the pain of others. As uncomfortable as it is, let us not spare ourselves by becoming hard-shelled to the suffering of others. Let us also not become so burdened that our spirits are overwhelmed, crushed, and debilitated. When we enter into the heartache of another human being, let us also enter into the heart of the God who cares for them even more than we do.