Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The beauty of EMPATHY

"Old people are smelly and creepy", she said wrinkling her nose. "eeeew", she added for emphasis and shuddered as if cold. "Beyonce is the coolest woman ever and I want to be like her when I grow up", she continued with a smile. The rest of the class bursted into laughter and erupted into an arguement on what is true beauty and what makes a person beatiful. I stared at the group of boys and girls in the youth sunday school and shuddered at the huge work ahead of me. "old people are beautiful! because they are old doesn't make them any less so", another said. "you will get old someday soon", contributed someone else. The joy of teaching! Its a mammoth task but one that I enjoy tremendously. Teaching the youths, mind you, the adults know too much I watched my motley crew again as the arguements bounced back and forth, taking note of each contribution and thinking of answers to every question(did I say the adults know too much already? hmmm! I wonder where these kids get their information
I call them my motley crew. They are all bright, vibrant and young but also very different. Offshoots from different homes and backgrounds. Framed by different circumstances and further confused by what the world has to offer which differs outrightly from what the church has to say( dont even mention the epileptic actions of us adults). I have learnt a lot working with these young ones. Everyone of them requires a different approach in as much as the goal is the same. I don't criticise neither am I shocked by some of their utterances or contributions rather I empathise with them. The truth is some of them do not know any better so who can blame them? Rom 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? I would not treat the person who is from a dysfunctional home the same way I would a person from a two-person family unit. It doesn't mean the product of the latter family is any better. It just wouldn't work. Believe me, I know DYSFUNCTIONAL!. When I was growing up my family put the FUNK in DYSFUNCTION ( that from Joel Osteen but it describes my family). It took the gentle loving hands of God to heal my hurts and mould me into the beautiful woman I know I am. Gentle, kind words go a long way people. There is a time for the firm hand but also a place for empathy and understanding.2 Cor 1:4 "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ...". If you've had a crappy childhood, you'll know how to work with a child in that situation by extending the love that God has healed you with into that innocent soul. Iniatially, I had a problem empathising with my son. I tried relating with him like other children but Josh is differrent! He requires a more gentle approach. It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that my son has special needs(now you've made me cry! breaks my heart everytime but GOD IS FAITHFUL). I have to deliberately love when its difficult to love and understand his challenges. The reward is a beautiful smile and wet kisses that I get when mummy gets its right and doesn't shout like a mad woman(lol....cries again but with joy). That my friend is empathy. My devotion today taken from UCB.IE reiterates this point. Gen 33:13 recounts the reconcilliation of Jacob with Esau. Esau wanted to move everyone to his house for the "family reunion party" but Jacob said "you go ahead!..the children are weak and the flocks and heards which are nursing are with me...if the men should drive them hard..the flock will die..I will lead them at a slow pace...the livestock and the children are able to endure". Jacob knew that everyone could not move at the same pace. We all learn at different pace and God knows that about us. That's why He is gentle and longsuffering. He understands our frailties. Having suffered much at the cross Jesus still forgave. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Empathy does not mean tolerating rubbish or being a push over, its just a gentle reminder that before you jump off the rails berating anybody there might be a story behind that attitude and your empathy might be the key to unlocking the beautiful personality hiding behind that veil.1Cor 13:4 "Love is patient and kind". Pictures from a night out with my peeps

1 comment:

  1. May your labour of Love in teaching this young ones be rewarded by the Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.