Empathy

Screenshot_2016-05-29-20-21-23-1Few words can comfort someone better than, “I know, I’ve been there.” I don’t have to look for these kinds of people anymore. I find them when I walk into a 12 step group meeting. People, just like me, who had warped their minds and bodies in such a state that only an act of God can change us. This simple empathetic understanding between people has the power to transform, and I hear it when I listen. It’s the basic fundamental reason why Chapter 7 called ‘Working with Others’ is so profoundly simple; one sober drunk helping another. If I want to be more empathetic, I have to practice empathy. If I want to be more courageous, then I have to practice courage. Mary Daly, a theologian, writes, “Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” Empathy is the same way. Suppose you’ve never been homeless but you want to work with them, help those who want help, and show them a better life. How can you relate? How can you put yourself in their shoes? Addiction is the same way. Maybe you don’t struggle with powerlessness over chemicals, but most all of us struggle with something. Hear the man with all the answers; he can teach us a lesson in humility.  He may not relate well to the confines of my condition, but he may be a survivor of war, PTSD, a broken or dysfunctional family, or maybe he has been thru the trauma of having a child die. Surely he can help me understand these events of which only I can sympathize.  Each of us, when called upon, have experiences to share to help others. A man three days clean can help a man who has used drugs today. Empathy helps build bonds and show others that the God idea works for us. I’ve seen atheists get sober and then come to believe all because one man reached out, shared his experience, and told another, ” nothing stings like death, or betrayal, or having to watch a child suffer from a disease with no known cure, but I’m right with you because I’ve been thru it.” These are powerful testimonies to God’s work of grace thru others. It’s the 12th step in action…we carry the message of hope to those who are still suffering and show them how we walk in freedom by opening up and revealing our true selves….blessings…b

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