We don’t know the fear,
They hold so dear,
Within the ventricles
Of their spiritual hearts.
We never know what’s dire,
Or what’s lit their fire,
Until our empathy,
Warmth and compassion starts.
FEAR is a common driver of the unconscious mind motivated to protect what’s dear. People operating in fear may never quite make the connection as to why they do what they do. Maybe it’s all they know. Perhaps it’s the only reaction they have in their armoury. Possibly fear reactions are a habit – it tends to be for all of us; just our default to fear comes from different sources.
Given this propensity to become insolvent to the faith and wisdom needed to go another, better way, we don’t know what we don’t know. And others may easily become upset by our differing and polarised views.
What works best in the situation of a fearful person – one who cannot go but their way – who cannot rationalise or reason – is the space of love; the willingness of grace that goes forth in loving helpings of empathy.
Seeing and Responding as God Might – As God Can
We are not God and we never will be, but our Lord will grant us his sight and feel for things whenever we truly submit ourselves to his heart for those things – those things being people.
As we consider what others have been through – considering the difficulties we have been through – we can begin to understand. They have their issues (the stressors of life, relationships, etc), their background (abuse they were exposed to, perhaps, and the associated fears, etc), their biology (what they received from their parents, including propensities for mental ills), and their brokenness (other experiences of life that have left them destitute for a viable, workable response).
With all these factors of past taken into account it’s much easier to see their actions in context. Whatever is driven by fear (anger, stubbornness, etc) can be seen as driven by underlying factors that we, too, would experience if we were them.
This knowledge softens us. We are much more warm, compassionate, and empathic when we know what’s ‘lit their fire’ – and how we see the situation how they see it.
Given other people’s issues, background, biology, and brokenness – their ‘stuff’ in sum – we would react the very same way. It’s easy to experience an uncommon and godly empathy when we weigh others’ circumstances truly.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.