During his time on earth, Jesus demonstrated incredible empathy and compassion. Empathy is the ability to perceive and understand anything (good or bad) from another person’s perspective or “to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” But what happens when that person doesn’t have any shoes? Or clean water? Or food? Or clothing? This leads us to compassion, which means “to suffer with.” Empathy is healthy, but it paints with a broad brush – compassion paints only on the canvas of suffering.
You see, Jesus doesn’t simply “understand and perceive” suffering from our point of view (empathy). Jesus feels a deep, gut-level sorrow that moves Him to join us in our pain and act on our behalf.
Maybe you’re like my wife and me and you have a child with a disability – Jesus feels the weight of your suffering with you. Maybe you have a family member who is battling cancer or another disease – Jesus feels the weight of your suffering with you. Maybe someone you love has passed away – Jesus feels the weight of your suffering with you. Jesus’ heart of compassion moves Him toward suffering, not away from it – and if Jesus moves toward those who are in pain, shouldn’t we?
One of the greatest things we can do as parents is to nurture empathy and compassion in the lives of our children, which is why I am so thankful for the incredible work of organizations like Compassion International. As your partner, I’d like to recommend The Compassion Experience to your family. This immersive exhibit provides a one-hour journey into the lives of children living in poverty around the world.
The Compassion Experience will be hosted at six Orlando locations between now and the end of March 2018. Please see below for dates and registration information, and I hope you’ll make plans to attend!
January 16th – 18th
Caribe Hotel / Convention Center
January 26th – 27th
Church in the Son
January 26th – 29th
Waterford Lakes Town Center
February 23rd – 27th
March 2nd – 5th
March 23rd – 26th
First Baptist Kissimmee