Life Together: Offering Sympathy

“As holy people…be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient” (Colossians 3:12 GWT).

In real fellowship people experience sympathy. Sympathy is not giving advice or offering quick, cosmetic help; sympathy is entering in and sharing the pain of others.

Sympathy says, “I understand what you’re going through, and what you feel is neither strange nor crazy.” Today, some call this “empathy,” but the Bible word is “sympathy.” It says, “As holy people…be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient” (Colossians 3:12 GWT).

Sympathy meets two fundamental human needs: the need to be understood and the need to have your feelings validated.

Every time you understand and affirm someone’s feelings, you build fellowship. The problem is that we’re often in such a hurry to fix things that we don’t have time to sympathize with people. Or we’re preoccupied with our own hurts. Self-pity dries up sympathy for others.

There are different levels of fellowship, and each is appropriate at different times:

• The simplest levels of fellowship are the fellowship of sharing and the fellowship of studying God’s Word together.

• A deeper level is the fellowship of serving, as when we minister together on mission trips or mercy projects.

• The deepest, most intense level is the fellowship of suffering (Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 10:33-34). This is where we enter into each other’s pain and grief and carry each other’s burdens. The Christians who understand this level best are those around the world who are being persecuted, despised, and often martyred for their faith.

The Bible teaches us to “share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).

It is in the times of deep crisis, grief, and doubt that we need each other most. When circumstances crush us to the point that our faith falters, that’s when we need believing friends the most.

We need a small group of friends to have faith in God for us and to pull us through. In a small group, the body of Christ is real and tangible even when God seems distant.

This is what Job desperately needed during his suffering. He cried out, “A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14 NIV).

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.


SIGN UP FOR PASTOR RICK’S FREE DAILY HOPE DEVOTIONAL

SIGN UP FOR DAILY HOPE DEVOTIONAL

Special Offer

transformed-gift-bottom-left2

Transformed Audio Series and Worship Music Album

Would you like to become all that God intended you to be? You can, but not on your own power. In these messages Pastor Rick shows you how to unlock the promises in God's word to TRANSFORM your life in eight key areas...from the inside out. You’ll want to add this life changing teaching to your library of Christian teaching. We’ll also send you the Transformed Music CD, a sound track for life-change, featuring eight of today’s best worship songs and two original worship songs.

REQUEST YOUR COPY

On the Radio

transformed-currentseries-bottom-right

Transformed Audio Series

If you're like most people - every new year - you've tried to make positive changes and then given up or slidden back into old destructive patterns. Here's the good news, with God's help you can make and maintain positive changes in every area of your life. Let Pastor Rick show you how unlocking the promises in God's word and following his instructions will TRANSFORM your life in seven key areas...from the inside out.

Purchase this seriesListen to this series