Nothing Like a Good Understanding!

Sympathy–sharing the feelings of another. This is what happens when we “feel” what others feel about events or situations.

For example: Since I know what it is like to lose a loved one, I can be sympathetic to others who have lost a loved one and generally, will know how to respond to them.

Empathy–identifying with another’s feelings, thoughts, attitudes.  We can relate to a person’s feelings or attitudes about an event or situation.

For Example: Understanding how dysfunctional our Congress is, I can empathize with new-comers who think they will be able to effect a change in the status-quo.

Apathy–lacking interest or concern about things that concern others; absence of excitement or passion about a situation. We don’t care one way or another about an event or situation.

For Example: Although I have concluded that the political system in this country does not work for the middle-class and poor, I will not be apathetic and not vote for someone in the upcoming elections.

Why bother to make these distinctions in words? Based upon my observations of people and how they behave towards others and situations, I simply thought to offer insight.

When I see people do nothing to improve their quality of life–mentally, physically, or financially, I refuse to have any sympathy for them. After all, unless they are totally physically incapable of doing something about their lives, they deserve no sympathy.  With recent outrage about water shut-offs in Detroit, I have no sympathy for anyone using the service and thinking they do not have to pay for it. Having access to water is not about it being a “human rights” issue; it is about being responsible in determining how much one can afford to pay for having water and making arrangements to pay on the bill–before it gets turned off. For the person who struggles and yet pays something, I can have empathy for in their plight. For those who deliberately use and then don’t want to pay, they get no sympathy from me.

The same is true for those who do nothing for days, weeks, months at-a-time and then over-exert unused muscles and end up in pain, expecting sympathy from others. Not from me. Exercise those muscles on a daily basis and then if there is a problem, I will be sympathetic regarding the situation and respond accordingly.

Knowing the difference between being sympathetic, empathetic, and apathetic makes a difference in how we respond to others. Since I am highly emotional (and opinionated), I doubt seriously if I could be apathetic about any situation, but I can certainly be sympathetic or empathetic about many.

“With all of our getting (or gathering of information), we need to get understanding.”

Is This You?

“I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7 NLT).

In this first letter written by Paul, we get the feeling that he was disappointed by those who apparently started “creating their own version of the Gospel” and people who should have known better, were believing the lies. From this letter, we truly understand that there is “nothing new under the sun” when see the divisions occurring in the early churches. And since there are so many people–who feel they have the only “right version” of Christianity and what it means, we get a better understanding of all the denominations that pervade the nation, fooling people even the more.

My claim to fame–not being a Bible scholar–is my relationship with God and my desire to please Him. I have studied–other denominational doctrines–and I am amazed that so many people can take off in so many directions, from the same book–The Bible–and then re–recreate new doctrines by segmenting passages of scriptures to justify their new doctrine, promoting their personal beliefs. The fact that they do this helps me to understand The Word even more–no scripture is for any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20,21).

When people promote doctrine that is based on personal belief and opinion, chaos soon reigns, making what God has said (not man) of no effect. Twisting The Word to make a person feel comfortable in what they do–is a mockery of faith in God. And we know, that God is not fooled or impressed by the mockery, only foolish people are snared because they prefer man’s doctrine over God’s.

Have you turned away from The Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you promoting some other gospel or doctrine that has nothing to do with faith in God, but self or man? Have you examined lately, what you believe and why you believe it? Does your lifestyle align with God’s Word or man’s–political correctness and trends? We know trends have cycles and some trends become cyclonic– sweeping people up into doctrines that leave them and their loved ones devastated–lost forever from the truth. Is this you?

My prayer for all is that we learn to seek God for truth, hear and obey Him, and then promote The Good News–that He orchestrated through Jesus Christ. Salvation–freedom from sin–only comes because of His grace and mercy–not by ritualistic behaviors that cannot change anything or anyone. Get to know Him for yourself and know that He only wants the best for all of His children.