Exercise Your Empathy Muscles

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Reflect

Have you had to self-isolate at some point since the pandemic began? Maybe you contracted the virus and had to keep away from others until you recovered. Perhaps you had to stay home or in quarantine for a couple of weeks while awaiting test results or returning from overseas. Maybe you live in an area that’s been locked down or you’ve had restrictions placed on how much you can go out or where you can go.

Being isolated due to the pandemic has been tough. You may have felt varying degrees of sadness, fear, anxiety, frustration, stress, loneliness, inconvenience, disappointment or just plain boredom.

But spare a thought for those who were isolated before all of this began. Elderly people who’ve lost their life partners. Those who have chronic illnesses or disabilities that make it difficult to go out or make plans in advance. People who don’t have supportive family or friends.

In our reading today, the Apostle Paul notes a blessing that can come from difficult circumstances.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (vv. 3-4).

In one sense, the effects of pandemic-related isolation cannot compare to what some people have been going through for months or years. However, recent events have hopefully made us all a bit more empathetic and compassionate towards others. If God has comforted us in our troubles, we now have something to pass on to those in need. Let’s keep exercising those empathy muscles well beyond the end of the pandemic.

Pray

Dear Lord, thank you that you’ve been by our sides to comfort us during these trying times. Help us to use these experiences to reach out to our isolated brothers and sisters with the comfort you have so graciously given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ponder

Q1       Read Hebrews 4:14-16. How does it help you to know that Jesus can sympathise with you in your weaknesses?

Q2       Is there an isolated person you could reach out to this week through a visit (if safe), phone call, letter or other means?

Photo by Gerd Altman on Pixabay.

Scriptures from the NIV Bible. Click here for the copyright notice.

 

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks Nola, a thoughtful post from you again. My Dad passed away on June 23, fortunately we were able to take Mum out of the nursing home for the funeral. Now she is in lockdown again and there is no visiting, dementia is a horrible disease but at the moment a blessing for her as she lives in her own little world.
    Thankfully we do know the comfort from our great God to see us through these difficult times. (And, nothing like a good hymn sing along to push anxiety away!)

    1. So sorry to hear your dad passed away, Dianne. That would be difficult at any time, but especially hard at the moment. And I’m sorry to hear about your Mum. That must be doubly hard. May God’s comfort overwhelm you at this time. I find a lot of comfort in music too. I’ve made a couple of playlists on Spotify that I’ve been playing a lot lately — one that’s affirming and comfort-based and the other with a spiritual warfare slant. Both have helped a lot. Thanks for commenting. Take care xx

  2. These verses have long been among my ‘special Verses. It is a privilege to know a Heavenly Father who has such special care for us and wants us to reach out and share and care for others.

    1. Thanks for that, Heather. Yes, they’ve been favourites of mine for many years too. And it’s a great reminder that we’re not meant to just sit in all that comfort ourselves, but to pass it on. Wouldn’t it be great if people became kinder and more compassionate as a result of the pandemic? Thanks for commenting 🙂

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