How To Show Empathy To Others: 5 Christian Ways

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Empathy is defined as: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions; the ability to share someone else’s feelings. (Merriam-Webster.com) I am scared that this word may be taken out of the dictionary in the next 30 years if we don’t show our children how to love other people.  People in the world who refuse Christ are generally all about “me”.  This of course has hardly any room to help out or listen to others.  People that call me “friend” at work don’t even look at me when we talk because they are too busy texting or updating their status on Facebook.  Empathy is a trait that comes from the heart.  You have to want to be there for someone to be empathetic.  Here are 5 Christian ways you can show empathy to others.

Eye Contact

This sounds so basic, but like I said in my intro, most people I work with don’t even look at me while we talk because they are on their phones.  This kind of body language says “I am more concerned with my phone and the people on it than you right now.”  If you want to be empathetic than maintain eye contact when someone is talking with you.  They want to know that you are listening to them.  Ignoring someone when they are confiding in you is a HUGE slap in the face.  When someone really needs you to listen, show them you care by looking at them.  And most importantly, put yourself in their shoes so you can get an idea of what they are going through.  They will believe that you care about them when you look them in the eye and try to understand their situation.

Engage Someone

Some people are super shy and find it hard to vent to others.  But, many times you can tell by their expression that something is wrong.  A great way to show empathy is to approach them and ask if there is anything wrong.  Let them know that you genuinely care about their situation and that you would be glad to listen and help in any way that you can.  People feel empathy when others go out of their way to make sure they’re okay.  And of course, always try and see things from their perspective.  When you can see it from their eyes, they will know it.  This will help them feel secure in the moment.

Meet The Need

People go through all kinds of problems in life.  Some can be fixed while others cannot.  If someone confides in you about an issue and you have the ability to meet their need then consider helping them.  When helping someone fix an issue they will feel like you understand their issue, hence being the reason you are helping them.  It’s another way of saying, “I get what’s going on and I want to help because I would not want this to happen to me either.”  This is one of the best ways to show empathy because it may very well be the memory that causes them to help someone else later on.  Pay it forward!

Pray

Praying is one of the best things you can do with someone that is struggling.  When you pray for someone, they will feel like you care about them.  Pray specifically about their need and that God would give them peace through the trial that they are going through.  Pray that God will be with them through it all and that if it is His will that He will use you in any way that you can help.  Like the previous examples, it’s really all about showing that you care for someone.  You would want someone to pray with you in hard times and that is one reason why you should pray for others in hard times.  They will understand that you are trying to understand their situation when you take the time to talk with them about what is going on and then pray about it.

Mourn With Them

When you cry with someone you are saying, “I am so sorry.  I understand this hurts so badly.  I want to be here for you.”

When you cry with someone you are saying, “I am so sorry. I understand this hurts so badly. I want to be here for you.”

I cannot think of a better way to show empathy then to cry with someone who is sad.  When you cry with someone you are saying, “I am so sorry.  I understand this hurts so badly.  I want to be here for you.”  They will see that you are looking at things from their eyes because you are feeling what they are feeling in the moment.  And yes, men, it is okay to cry!  God made us in His image you know!  So, don’t be afraid to let the tears fall when they should.

Conclusion

All of these ways to show empathy can be summed up with Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  If you love someone like this, they will definitely know that you are trying to see things from their view and your empathy will touch them.  May God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!

Something more to read: Different Types of Love in the Bible

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patricia Schneider April 28, 2014 at 4:29 am

Hello, Derek!
Thanks so much for this wonderful, insightful article with Scriptures!
What you mentioned about some people being more interested with the person on their phones hit home for me. I have really comes to dislike those iPhones & such! The person who diverts their attention away from you, not only lacks empathy, but is showing incredible rudeness. Don’t you agree, my brother?
God’s wonderful blessings and His graces be showered upon you, Derek, and your children!!
Love, your Sis in Christ Jesus ~ Patty

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