Experience, Not Empathy

I have a document of springboard ideas for Blog articles that I read through when I’m not sure what to write about.  The list of ideas is made up of basic Bible concepts like grace, love, and faith; a few random thoughts like doing a series on the Lord’s Prayer; and a large list of emotional traumas like stress, bullied, rejected, and unwanted.  We’ve all had times of emotional trauma. The battle may be fresh and ongoing for you or perhaps its old scars that remind you of past pain. Either way, Jesus offers hope.

Back in the mid-nineties the phrase “I feel your pain” became associated with Bill Clinton.  At first, it was an off the cuff remark uttered in frustration during an exchange with a heckler at a fundraiser.* As Clinton’s campaign developed it became an unofficial campaign motto. However, there is a difference between understanding someone’s pain through empathy and experiencing the same pain (or something very close to it) in reality.

You see Jesus does not just empathetically know our pain, he has experienced our pain.  He knows rejection, being bullied, frustration, depression, anxiety, grief, loneliness, and more because he experienced them. As Isaiah prophesied, and Peter later confirmed, –  “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5, NASB95)  Jesus doesn’t just feel bad because we feel bad, he intimately knows our hurt, pain, and anguish because he experienced them. Because of this, the writer of Hebrews encourages –  “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NASB95)  It may sound simplistic to say “Pray about it” but we are invited to take them to Him. Jesus can and will heal our hurts – by His stripes, we are healed. Often we are too battered and bruised to come before God’s throne on our own.  Betty and I would love to pray for your needs, for your healing.  Not because we are anything special, but because we know that Jesus cares for you and the pain you are experiencing at this moment of your life. Sometimes we all need someone to carry us to Jesus. 


Dale Heinold
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