When my family walked through a season of extended hospitalization and near tragedy, the prayers and encouragement from friends and family were undoubtedly a blessing to me. Yet, it was those who had walked through similar situations— those who understood, through experience or compassion, what I was going through— who made the greatest impact on me. Many times, you won’t even have to muster up or create feelings for someone else; you can pull from your own experiences, remembering how you felt, in order to give a person what he or she needs.
Just before our main scripture, Romans 12:9 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” Love doesn’t sit back and watch— it gets involved. When I start to feel directionless, or even lazy, in my mission to help others, I look back at where I’ve been. You can do the same. The battles you face and overcome are incredible opportunities for you to help others through similar situations. If you have ever suffered a loss, struggled to pay a bill, or dealt with sickness, your potential to empathize in those areas are exponential in comparison to someone who has no experience. Use that! Allow God to turn that memory into compassion and breakthrough for someone else.
When Jesus died for you, He took the cares of the whole world upon Him. So even if it’s something you don’t relate to naturally, the Holy Spirit will compel you supernaturally if you will only ask Him. When I catch myself starting to say, “I can only imagine,” I stop and do just that. I imagine. I allow myself to feel a portion of what they are feeling. I envision what would bring me comfort in their situation. Then I do something.
I encourage you to do likewise.
The same God who lives inside of us has equipped us to love His children well. “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15 (NLT)