Today I read Romans 5-8 and another section from the book Integrity. As I reflect on what I learned today it strikes me how much God empathized with us and loved us that he would send his own son to take care of our sin. He didn’t wait until we cleaned up or act or obeyed all his laws but instead came while we were still sinning and disobeying him. Instead of a response of judgement and justice which I know is part of God’s character, he understood the struggle I was having with sin and he came down to earth and lived with us and with our sin and empathized with us and understands and then proceeded to die the death we should have died and deserve to die. As I reflect on all the things Jesus did as he interacted with people he always empathized with the person first, did a miracle in their lives (or in the case of the religious leaders pointed out their true motives which is also a form of empathy), and then told them to go and sin no more. Far too often we want people to experience the agony of their sin and convince them they are sinners until we are satisfied that they “get it” and then we present the gospel to them because we feel like they cannot understand their need for a savior unless they truly understand their sinful state. The problem with that as I look at it now is the fact that we get things out of order and never do we empathize with people and seek to understand who they are and where they are coming from. Yes understanding sin is important but to lead off with that or even push it hard as if we are the judge of when they actually understand it shows that we tend to want to play the role of judge instead of loving people and understanding their situation. I thank God that Jesus did not come to this earth wielding a scepter demanding we get our acts together and deeply understand our sin. Instead he came carrying a towel and modeling for us what it means to serve others and to empathize with others situations which then allows us to speak into one another’s lives when it comes to things like sin.

The integrity book focused on empathy today as well and the importance of putting yourself into another person’s shoes and then communicating to them you understand and the power that has in the lives of those you lead. This is something that I feel God has gifted me with. I have a way of putting myself in someone’s shoes and understanding how they feel. The problem I have is that I can also get so busy and wrapped up in what I am doing that I don’t take the time to use this gift. So I can be unempathetic if I am not conscious of the other person and really focused on understanding. When I do focus on this, however, it leads to great connection with others and I find that I can help others in deeper ways which in turn builds a friendship and relationship with them. I really want to be a better leader who not only leads and helps set direction, but does so in an environment of team, friendship, and understanding.

Lord, thank you so much for your love and empathy for me. I am so thankful that you did not send Jesus to condemn me but to show you loved me and wanted to save me. Words cannot express what that means to me but you know the gratitude in my heart which I wish was not so fleeting when I am not focused on you. Help me to be a leader who has empathy for others first. Make me a man who shows others the love I have experienced from you. Amen.
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