The Bootcamp Bros are back talking about another characteristic of a godly leader, empathy. Perhaps this is one of the most misunderstood characteristics so some good definition work is in order. Check out this EP and the notes below to dig a little deeper into this very important quality and spend some time examining God’s word, your life and work.
According to Oxford dictionary Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
“According to Carl Rogers, empathy is ‘to perceive the internal frame of reference of another person with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings that pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without losing the as-if condition.’ In other words, to show empathy toward another individual or group means to imagine what it would be like to be that person or group. One should do so in moderation, without losing the sense of one’s own self in another.”
Scot Mcknight makes the following distinction between Compassion and Empathy:“Compassion is the broader word: it refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain. Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s pain vicariously, as if one has experienced that pain themselves.”
Examples of empathy in Scripture:
Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn
Splanchnizomai is often used to describe Jesus being moved with emotion and pity for someone in pain in which Jesus responds with understanding and action.
Here are some references in Mark and Luke, and I italicize the translations of splanchnizomai:
- Mark 1:41Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”
- Mark 6:34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
- Mark 8:2I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.
- Mark 9:22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.
- Luke 7:13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
- Luke 10:33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
- Luke 15:20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
Five Key Characteristics of Leaders with Empathy
- Fully Present
- Active Listening
- Suspends Judgment
- Compassionate Understanding
- Proactive Caring
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