Where Did All Our Empathy Go?

It’s been a while since I wrote something, but I’ve had plenty of time to reflect this week. I tested positive for COVID-19 and I’m currently quarantining in my 3-year-old daughter’s bedroom. If you just imagined me writing this under a pink fluffy comforter, you wouldn’t be wrong.

When I tested positive, COVID-19 instantly got a lot more personal. Within 72 hours of having the virus, my perspective changed.

It wasn’t that my beliefs changed — I got my first vaccine shot 10 days ago.

It’s just that I now have a better understanding of what the virus is and the pain it can cause someone. What I’ve been reading about in scary headlines and scanning on social media has become something I can understand a little bit better.

Thankfully, my symptoms have been pretty mild. But I can tell it’s serious. And when something alters the way you breathe — it’s downright scary.

And it’s not something that I’d wish for anyone to have to go through and it breaks my heart to see people use it as something to argue.

This is why I took the time to write this. I’ve seen this COVID-19 pandemic bring out some of the worst in people. I’ve seen statement after statement made with little to no empathy. I’ve seen videos posted, policies argued, presidents & political parties ridiculed, and it’s made me wonder — where did all the empathy go?

Please don’t get me wrong, I would never want to force someone to take a vaccine. But I also would never want to ridicule someone for getting it.

And I would never want to call someone out or call someone a name over a deadly virus.

I don’t believe that’s the right route, not because I’m too holy, it’s just that I think there’s a better way to disagree.

When it comes to handling ideological differences, it’s probably worth us looking to how Jesus handled those sort things.

I did just that and I noticed that He always used empathy, but it was also with intense curiosity.

I’ve often wondered why Jesus asked so many questions that led to answers he evidently already knew, and my guess is that it was because he was expressing empathy.

If He just walked around telling everyone how wrong they were or how right He was, I don’t think He would’ve come across as very empathetic. I believe He asked questions, not because He needed to, but because we needed Him to.

The next time you start to record a video or post your opinion about what someone needs to do right, please remember:

  • Some people have lost parents
  • Some people have lost spouses
  • Some people are spending 2 weeks locked in a bedroom alone struggling to breathe
  • Some people need a hospital bed but can’t get to one because the ICUs are booked up

Regardless of what you believe, the only thing I want to argue is that Jesus’ empathy is our example. As you express your own opinion, it’s worth taking the time to do it with some empathy.

People may not remember your opinion or be changed by it, but they’ll certainly remember the manner in which you shared it.

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Tyler Speegle

Husband, blogger and serious coffee drinker. Passionate about helping others understand how to live relationally with God and escape a life of dry, mechanical religion so that they can live out their God given purpose.

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