Originally published Tuesday, 24 October 2017.
While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn't make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.
Staring at him, I wondered, "What would it take to fix this man's attitude? To show him or teach him you don't act like this?"
Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person's attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . "
They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?
Flesh aims "to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.
My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.
Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:
“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another...”
Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I've had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.
Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, "Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you."
Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.” (Heb. 4:15)