A empathy is defined as the "ability to identify with others, to feel what they feel. This quality allows us to imagine what it would be like to be in the other person's place.

Why do we have empathy, a quality that humans exhibit like no other species? The Bible explains that God created humans in his own image (Genesis 1:26). We are made in God's image in the sense that we can reflect his personality and therefore imitate his qualities to some extent. Therefore, when people show empathy by helping others, they reflect the empathy of their compassionate Creator, Jehovah (Proverbs 14:31).

What the Bible teaches about God's empathy

God empathizes with us and hates to see us suffer. Of the ancient Israelites, who endured harsh slavery in Egypt, followed by 40 hard years in the desert, the Bible says, "In all his distress it was anguish for him" (Isaiah 63:9). 

Notice that God was not only aware of their distress: He felt their pain. He said, "I know your pains well" (Exodus 3:7). God also says, "Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye" (Zechariah 2:8). When others cause us pain, God suffers with us.

The Bible assures us that even if we condemn ourselves or feel unworthy of God's empathy, "God is greater than our hearts and knows all things" (John 3:19, 20). God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows perfectly our situation, our thoughts and our feelings. He has empathy for us.

We can turn to God for comfort, wisdom, and support as he comes to the aid of the afflicted.

God watches us, understands us, and has appeared with us

How comforting it is to know that God understands us and is in solidarity with us! But then, why is there so much suffering? Is it because God punishes us for our mistakes? Will God do anything to end suffering? The following articles will answer these questions.

The scriptures repeatedly encourage us to imitate our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Empathy is therefore a quality that we must cultivate. But how? There are basically three ways to sharpen our sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others: listening, observing, and imagining.

Let's listen. By listening carefully, we discover the problems of others. And the better we listen, the more others are inclined to open their hearts and reveal their feelings. 

Let's observe. Not everyone will talk openly about their feelings or their situation. On the other hand, a good observer will notice if a Christian seems depressed, if a teenager closes in on himself, or if a zealous Christian minister loses enthusiasm. 

This ability to spot a problem at the first signs is essential for parents. "In one way or another, my mother already knows how I feel before I talk to her. Therefore, I have no difficulty confiding my problems to him in all honesty. 

Let's be imaginative. The most effective way to awaken our empathy is to ask ourselves: "If I were in that situation, how would I feel? What would my reaction be? What would I need?"

Job's three false comforters were unable to put themselves in his place. Therefore, they condemned him for sins of which they assumed he was guilty.

It is often easier for imperfect humans to judge faults than to consider feelings. However, if we do everything we can to understand someone's situation, we will sympathize rather than condemn. Juan, an experienced elder, commented, "I give much better advice when I listen carefully and try to understand the big picture before making suggestions."