Sep 06 2013

Syria: A Lesson in Empathy

The situation in Syria is a lesson for all of us in empathy, a lesson on putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. I think we often times dismiss other people and what they are facing because we regret to stop; and just for a minute put ourselves in their shoes. In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee wrote, “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Truer words have never been said. In fact, what makes Jesus so amazing is He did just that, fully God and fully man, tempted in every way that we are, and still without sin, He came and experienced both life and death as a human being. What an amazing picture of empathy, which is described as, the ability to comprehend another person's actions and emotions, the awareness of another's problems.

Walking in someone else's shoes helps you gain perspective, it helps you empathize with life from their point of view. As Christians, considering what Christ did for us, we should be most willing to empathize with others. Yet oftentimes, I think we have a tendency to put on self-rightousness and pass judgement, simply ignoring others when we should be running to their rescue. The Bible several times addresses our attitude regarding this, in Ephesians 4:2 it says, "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love."

Tomorrow there is a worldwide call to pray for Syria, and before we excuse it as a situation half a world away, let's just for a minute, "put ourselves in their shoes." Since the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against their own people, that left 1,300 people dead, there has been mass chaos, as you might imagine; people have been fleeing the country, fearing for their lives. Imagine what it must be like, imagine yourself in the shoes of those who fear for their lives, those who have left what little they had just to survive, those who have lost loved ones, or have been separated from their families; they are starving, hopeless and scared. 

If I were in their shoes, I certainly hope someone would lift a prayer for me.

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