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The Family International

Definition: Identifying oneself with another person's feelings, experiences, and emotions, particularly in regards to misfortune; compassion, sympathy, understanding.

We should put ourselves in the place of others, and consider how we would feel if positions were reversed.

  • Job 2:11,13 [Realizing that Job had been overcome by calamity and his grief was too great for words, his friends thoughtfully kept him company several days without engaging in conversation.] Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
  • Jonah 4:10,11 [The Lord chastened the prophet Jonah for his lack of empathy towards the people of Nineveh. God had sent Jonah to Nineveh to prophesy its immediate destruction, yet relented after the people turned from their wickedness upon hearing Jonah's prophecy. This angered Jonah, who protested that God had mercy on them, when he'd foretold their destruction.] Then said the Lord ... 11And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
  • Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. [See also Luke 6:31.]
  • Matthew 22:39b Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  • Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:25b,26 Members [of the body of believers] should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. [See also verses 20-27.]
  • Philippians 2:2-4 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
  • Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body [as if you yourselves were suffering].
  • 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

The difference between pity and compassion: While pity feels sorry, compassion does something about it!

  • Luke 10:33,34 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came [upon a man who'd been robbed, wounded and abandoned by the roadside] where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. [See also verses 30-37.]
  • James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
  • 1 John 3:16-18 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

God empathizes with us; He is compassionate and understands our limitations and needs.

  • Psalm 103:13,14 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. 14 For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
  • Psalm 139:1-4 O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.
  • Isaiah 49:15,16 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.
  • Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He [Jesus the Savior] was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
  • Matthew 6:32b For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
  • Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus teaches us to empathize with others by His Own loving example.

  • Isaiah 53:4a Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
  • Matthew 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
  • Matthew 8:16,17 When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
  • Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.
  • Mark 1:41 [Jesus healed the leper:] And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
  • Mark 8:2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat.
  • John 11:33-35 [Jesus was summoned by Martha and Mary to raise up Lazarus, their dead brother.] When Jesus therefore saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. [Then Jesus prayed, and Lazarus, who had been dead four days, miraculously arose from the dead.]
  • 2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.