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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Feeling The Joys and Sorrows

Romans 12:15
  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Ok, so I have posted about this verse before, and with a very similar topic line. (You can read that post here.)  I just thought it was important enough to reiterate. :) 

Empathy. An often misunderstood and misused word. A lot of people think that empathy and sympathy are one and the same, but just because they sound similar does not mean they are the same thing! That's like thinking that bricks and sticks are the same because they have some of the same letters. ;) Here is a story to illustrate the difference between the two. 

Once upon a time, a hedgehog was walking through the woods, feeling very down in the dumps. She was crying as she walked along, so much so that she missed the hole in front of her in the path! She tumbled in and landed with a plop. This of course made her day a whole lot brighter. Not. Along came a squirrel, carrying a new rope ladder for his tree house, and seeing her crying in the hole, looked sadly down upon her. "Ooh, that looks really dark and scary down there!", the squirrel said. "You must be super sad to be crying like that...I feel so bad for you! Want a sandwich, or a lollipop maybe? No? K, well, I'll be seeing you...Hope things clear up soon!" Shaking his head, the squirrel continued down the path. Soon, a chipmunk arrived on the scene, also carrying a new rope ladder. Instead of gazing sorrowfully into the gap, he let down the ladder, and descended to the floor of the hole. He sat down next the hedgehog. "It's dark and scary down here.", he said, his eyes filling with tears at her distress. "I can see that it's been a very hard day for you. The ladder is over there when you need it, but I'm going to stay with you until you're ready."

This is just a silly story, and probably not the clearest illustration either, but do you see the difference? Sympathy looks at the suffering of others with sadness. Empathy is having the suffering of others in your own heart! Feeling their pain, so to speak. Not just giving condolences or a clap on the back and walking off. 

This verse about rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep, is one that is short but packs a punch. Do we do this as much as we should? I think a lot of times we are afraid of showing a lot of emotion (whether joy or sorrow), for fear of being thought overly sensitive or babyish. And while we do need to be careful not to let emotions rule us, I think there are way too many people who are not willing to empathize with others like the Bible commands. 

Empathy is not just feeling others' suffering,'s feeling their joy, too! What is wrong with laughing and rejoicing with someone who just got good news or had something wonderful happen? For goodness' sake, if you can't do that, you need to loosen up a little! Or a lot, actually! ;) There have been times that I have been super excited about something, and couldn't wait to tell someone I loved. And then when I told them, it was kind of...meh. They were glad for me, but it didn't really mean anything to them. Okay, I get it if my passion is not your thing. That's fine! Everyone is different, which is wonderful. However, if I am passionate about something, you could try to have the slightest bit of joy with me about it! ;) Maybe I am just getting on a soapbox here, but my point is that we need to quit being such fuddy-duddy stick in the muds that we can't empathize with those around us. As an old pastor friend of ours used to say:

"Y'all look like you've done been baptized in pickle juice!!"

Let's get rid of the pickle juice, ok? :) The next time someone needs you, don't just offer them a sandwich and move on. Get down in that dark place with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Pray that God will give you the words and ability to be a Christlike friend to that person. God will bless you for it! 

I hope you all have a good week! Is it snowy where you live? We have about 6 inches here, and it is gorgeous!!! :) I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... ;)


  1. Aww,Mykaela. I'm a sucker for cute animal stories! The poor hedgehog! I think your illustration was great..I don't feel like I'm the best at empathising with others. As I mentioned earlier,I'm often unsure of how to help someone who is hurting. I do feel their pain,I just don't know what to say or do. That story helped,though! Thanks!

    P.S. Stehekin is definitely looking like a white Christmas! I think we have about a foot and a half of snow here,and way more as you head further up into the Valley.😀😀

    1. Our conversations this past week were the inspiring force for this post. :) I wish I could see Stehekin covered in snow!!! Hopefully soon! :)

  2. I've never thought about the two words being different, and the importance of it, but it makes sense! I love this verse, and I feel I always need to grow in this area. It's easy to almost be jealous when things are going so well for others, but there's no joy in that! Even though it may be our sinful bent, we really should rejoice with those who rejoice, not only because the Bible commands it, but because it is such a blessing!

    1. Yes, I totally get what you mean, Elizabeth! It is really easy to be a bit huffy inside when someone else has sparkling celebration fireworks going off in their life, while my fireworks seem to be violently exploding under my chair before they were supposed to, lol! ;P But it truly is such a good thing to learn. (And one that I have yet to master.)


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