We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. – Rom. 15:1
If there be some weaker one, Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be, Let me guide him nearer Thee. – J.G. Whittier
I think one of God’s true gifts is the trait of empathy, but we shouldn’t ignore sympathy. Sympathy seems to get a bad rap. Perhaps it’s because we’ve heard the words “I don’t want your sympathy” screamed at us. I certainly have. So we confuse sympathy for pity. Opportunities for sympathy are often lost from mere want of thought. As disciples we are called to put ourselves in the shoes of another, not to offer pity, but to offer sympathy and to share with someone else a comfort that we look on as a necessary part of our life, but another isn’t able to provide themselves.
Think of the gifts that are such a small part of your day, but can make someone else’s day. A short drive to get a scoop of ice cream, a new book, flowers from your garden are all meant to be enjoyed and shared. Ask yourself what would I want if I were sick and alone. It’s called cultivating the habit of sympathy, although I just call it love.