Nobody understands me! ∙
For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
On February 24, 2019, a fantastic video was posted on YouTube. What made it so unique? It showed a dog whimpering while watching the tragic death of Mufasa in the Lion King, by Walt Disney. The video went viral. Why? What was so extraordinary?
Could it be that the canine was possibly showing genuine empathy? Are dogs empathic? Remarkably, the answer is yes!
What is an empath? The term empath comes from the Greek word empatheia. It is derived from en – in + pathos – feeling. Empathy is inner sympathy (Groos).
Empathy is the ability to comprehend and identify with others’ motivations or experiences. An empath can see things from the perspective of someone else. They are able to sense and feel the emotions of others as if they were their own. They can directly experience both the pain and happiness of others. Parapsychology adds a bit more granularity. It posits that empathy is the paranormal ability to read the emotions and thoughts of others psychically. Remarkably, empathy generates understanding and compassion.
It is suggested that up to 98% of the population is capable of being genuinely empathic. The exceptions are narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Such folks are typically unable to understand or relate to other people’s feelings and emotions. They simply do not allow themselves to go there. They are prisoners in a self-imposed jail. How terribly sad!
Aaron McDonald is a canine behaviorist and dog trainer. Regarding the empathic behavior of canines, he wrote, “This gives us important insight into the mind and motivation of dogs. These behaviors show us they possess an innate concern for the well-being of others . . ..”
Dogs are extremely sensitive. They can immediately tell when something is amiss. McDonald adds, “Dogs are like FBI profilers: they’re always keenly attuned to everything going on in a family – the sights, sounds, patterns. They record every nuance of ‘normal’ life, and become concerned if we break that pattern.”
How often do we say, “No one understands me?” We may feel that way, but our feelings are awry. Dog owners are well aware that their furry companions have empathy. Dogs act as if they care and understand. Dogs may be caring, but they are not sentient creatures.
The Lord Jesus Christ is entirely empathic. How great is that? He understands and can empathize with the weakness and pain of everyone. But empathy is not merely a vertical relationship. It is also a horizontal one. The Father has given every child of the King the ability to be an empath.
How does empathy work out among the children of the King in the body of Christ?
1 Corinthians 12:25-26
25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
REFLECT & PRAY
Whenever children of the King are in pain, in need, or have things to share, good or bad, we have someone to talk to. The Lord Jesus Christ cares, empathizes, and acts on our behalf.
Father thank You that You are always “there for me.” You truly understand me and know me. You feel what I feel. You can identify with what I experience and come to my aid in time of need.
How did the Lord Jesus Christ become an empath? To feel what we feel and understand the human experience, He became truly human. He understands our weaknesses, for He faced the same testings we do, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Hebrews 2:18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate empath. He feels and internalizes what we feel. Is it too much to imagine that when we feel sad, gloomy, and dejected, so does He? When we are exhilarated and enthusiastic, He shares our feelings.
Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous impact of this fact. The Lord Jesus Christ is approachable and receptive. He will not push us away or reject us. He always has time for us. He is never too busy. He welcomes us to come to Him in difficult times. But He does not just listen. He also acts on our behalf and is there for us in our time of need. He has dreams and desires for each child of the King that He seeks to fulfill.
28 Then Jesus said, come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one who asks us to come. He wants us to come.
But there is more!
He wants us to come boldly and with confidence.
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
In the ancient world, ordinary people could not approach people of high rank or authority with impunity. They were neither welcome nor permitted. They were required to defer, acquiesce, and often grovel, perhaps in terror and fear for their very lives.
In total contrast, “Every believer in Christ is invited, and is even encouraged, to ‘come boldly unto the throne of grace!’” (Wiersbe).
The Greek word translated as boldly or with confidence is parresia. Parresia is an attitude of openness that results from freedom and the lack of fear. Amazingly every child of the King has the red carpet rolled out for them. They are granted complete access to come with confidence, boldness, and a joyful sense of freedom into the very presence of the Father, the living God.
But there’s more. We have the freedom to speak our minds candidly without fear of recrimination or expulsion. The Father already knows everything that we think and feel. Nothing surprises Him or takes Him off guard. He allows us to vent and experience deep and thorough catharsis.
© Dr. H 2022