From an earlier post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – As seen in the Speed Bump cartoon – A women sitting on a park bench says – “Some people never have it. Some people have it mildly and some people react so badly to it.” The man sitting next to her says – “Yeah, the virus is…” to which she responds – “ I was talking about empathy.”
Do you have empathy? One easy way to tell is to think about how you react as you watch the nightly news. When the stories about the Black Lives Matter come on do you immediately feel the pain and frustration that the marchers are trying to get across or do you feel angry or frightened by the scene. Do you identify with the marchers or with the man who drives his car into the demonstrators? Is your reaction to think about what you can do to help make things better for the people demonstrating against racial injustice or does this immediately cause you to become defensive about the things that you feel the marchers are trying to take from you? Can you see where the people with empathy are coming from? Maybe you more closely identify with the people who have apathy for the plight to the marchers. Perhaps your reaction might even be classified as animosity.
Having empathy is a good thing, but empathy without taking action is like daydreaming – pretty much a waste of time. Read the words of James 2:14-17 and mentally substitute the word “empathy” for the word “faith” in this passage –
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
You get the idea. That is just one of many passages that are calls for action in service to others. Make no mistake about it, the current demonstrations about police brutality and systemic racism in America are calls to action and taking no action is a sin, as James points out later in that chapter – “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Do not seek refuge in the excuse that you are only one little person and cannot by yourself effect changes in our society. We all have the tendency to mutter to ourselves, “I wish somebody would do something about that”, but too few of us take the next step and be the somebody who does it. James also captured that dilemma for Christians when he said – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
We deceive ourselves if we think we have empathy but take no action from it. I have posted here before about taken steps, not matter how small they may seem to help effect change in your life and the lives of others, most recently in the post Be the Somebody.
So, if you have it (empathy); take the next step and Be the Somebody who does something about it.