an empathetic response isn’t simply sympathy — feeling for someone. It also isn’t compassion — feeling with someone. Empathy means feeling as someone and thinking as someone.
The word “seeing” is also important because it focuses on imagining another’s experience.
“Empathy involves your imagination, seeing another and their world, in your mind’s eye,” he says. “Can you actually walk into their world and see what they see, hear what they hear?” [Read the rest, here…]
True empathy motivates helping others, improves our communication with various groups and individuals, identify “blind spots,” and in the end, stay curious about learning from the people around us. Empathy is essential for belonging. When we leverage our thinking and emotions to truly “walk into” another’s world, that’s when people least likely to experience belonging suddenly “fit in,” they suddenly belong, and it’s got nothing to do with changing of beliefs or behavior.
As evangelizers, we’re all called to take that step into another person’s world. To not hold back. To not settle for nice feelings or good intentions, but to extend empathy so that every person we talk to feels a greater sense of belonging, from us as individuals and within our broader Christian communities.