The Holy Empath
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. – Romans 8:26
22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
One of the most basic of all human needs is the need to be understood. Without being understood, we feel insignificant, overwhelmed, isolated, and invisible. Enter empathy.
Empathy begins with being tenderhearted. But empathy is far more than being tenderhearted. It includes the capacity to feel and share another person’s emotions. That is, to get inside their heads and hearts. It involves a kind of emotional bonding. The empath is capable of feeling what another person feels, to match another person’s emotions.
The empath is able to put themselves in another person’s position; that is, to walk in another person’s shoes, within their frame of reference.
But simply understanding and feeling is not enough. Being able to come alongside and help and make a difference takes empathy to a whole new level. And armed with this understanding, can we actually make a difference?
Who has the time, patience, and skills to truly get acquainted with and figure out others?
13 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
The Father knows we are weak and needy. In no way is He embarrassed by His children. He never says, “you are so needy, I just do not know what to do with you.” Rather, His heart is moved with compassion and lovingkindness. He has provided the most wonderful, elegant, and effective of solutions.
The Father has provided a biblical Empath for all of His children. The Holy Spirit is our Holy Empath.
Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
REFLECT & PRAY
We are fallen, and we cannot get up. Fallen humanity is incurably weak.
Father, thank you for providing the Holy Spirit to come alongside of me at my weakest points, and do for me what I cannot do for myself.
As fallen humanity, we experience some degree or other our innate personal weakness. Who among us has not felt the tug of our natural limitations, lack of strength, feelings of inadequacy, even timidity? Human weakness is inescapable. Rather than trying to eradicate our weakness, the Father gave us the Holy Spirit to overcome our weakness with His strength.
Our human weakness is like a magnet that draws the Holy Spirit to us. Undoubtedly, at one time or another, each of us has given or received compassion. Yet, it is hard for us to imagine a totally compassionate and otherc-entric personality.
That is exactly Who and What the Holy Spirit is. He is intimately acquainted with each of us. He is totally empathic. He knows and understands our mysterious heart-language, our inner longings.
When we cannot speak “the words” and are left only with a vague, blurred inner longing, semi-mute groans, and inarticulate sighs, the Holy Spirit comprehends completely. He comes alongside to help.
The Greek word translated help, sunantilambanomai, is a compound verb with a very precise meaning. It is only used twice in the New Testament (LUKE 10:40). It comes from sun – with, together and antilambano – to support, help. It signifies to assist someone, to help, to come to the aid of, to take hold of another. It can be translated “come to the aid of,” “joining with to help,” “bearing a burden along with.”
Picture in your mind’s eye someone who has fallen and requires a helping hand to get up. This provides a word picture which perfectly portrays the sense of this term. The Holy Spirit comes alongside and provides spiritual strength in place of our weakness.
That is what the Holy Empath does for each of the Father’s children.