APATHY – SYMPATHY – EMPATHY

Several Augusts ago the school district staff was welcomed back to the academic year with a breakfast event at the nearby ball park. A local sports figure was the scheduled speaker.

When an event is scheduled outdoors, Mother Nature is often an uninvited guest.

rainandUmbrella

It started raining while we sat listening to the speaker.
• Oh wow, it’s starting to rain. Poor me – I’m feeling wet; my hair is going to frizz. Would he please get this over with, like pronto!
• Goodness gracious – that poor guy is out there by the podium with the rain falling on him. He can’t cover his head with his jacket cause he’ll look like a dork. I hope he doesn’t catch cold.
• Then from the stands walks a staff member (from my school!) down the stairs to shelter the speaker with his umbrella. He took action; he put himself in the speaker’s place and protected him from the rain.

The dictionary defines apathy as “absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Sympathy is “the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble, fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.“ Empathy is noted as the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

The first reaction to the rainfall illustrates apathy. It’s a me-centric outlook on life.
The second reaction reflects sympathy. One relates to another’s discomfort.
The third reaction expresses sympathy in action. You care; you show that you care. You willingly walk a mile in another’s shoes.

This blog was inspired by a school event, consider “apathy – sympathy – empathy’ as you read your homework assignment Luke 10:25-37.

homework

In His Grip,

Jeanie Shank

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