Friday, July 12, 2013



How can the attribute of empathy strengthen a family?

How can I be more empathetic?


To perceive is to suffer. -Aristotle

So often our sisters comfort others when their own needs are greater than those being comforted. That quality is like the generosity of Jesus on the cross. Empathy during agony is a portion of divinity! -Neal A. Maxwell, The Women of God, April 1978

Revealed truths reassure us that we are enclosed in divine empathy. As Enoch witnessed, we worship a God who wept over needless human misery and wickedness (see Moses 7:28–29, 33, 37). Jesus’ perfect empathy was ensured when, along with His Atonement for our sins, He took upon Himself our sicknesses, sorrows, griefs, and infirmities and came to know these “according to the flesh” (Alma 7:11–12). He did this in order that He might be filled with perfect, personal mercy and empathy and thereby know how to succor us in our infirmities. He thus fully comprehends human suffering. Truly Christ “descended below all things, in that He comprehended all things” (D&C 88:6).
Many parents love and care but experience unreciprocated love. This is part of coming to know, on our small scale, what Jesus experienced. Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good (see D&C 122:7). Thereby, our empathy, too, is enriched and everlasting. -Neal A. Maxwell, “Enduring Well,” Ensign, Apr 1997, 7

Wherever these lost sheep may be, a necessary ingredient for helping is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and to feel what he feels. Meaningful help can never be given without empathy for the recipient. This requires gaining the confidence of the person; listening with eyes, ears, and heart; trying to comprehend how this person feels; and then letting him know by your personal performance that you really understand. One who really understands and practices empathy doesn’t solve another’s problems, doesn’t argue, doesn’t top his story, make accusations, or take away free agency. He merely helps the person build his self-reliance and self-image so he can try to find his own solutions. -Marvin J. Ashton, Give with Wisdom That They May Receive with Dignity, October 1981

But what if we are right and they are wrong? Shouldn’t we make our position public so others will not judge us to have made the mistake? The Lord has been clear in His instruction regarding this dilemma. It is not our prerogative to judge. The mote is not ours to measure, for the beam in our own eye obstructs our capacity to see. There is no pancake so thin it has only one side. Empathy is required here, the gift to feel what others feel and to understand what others are experiencing. Empathy is the natural outgrowth of charity. It stimulates and enhances our capacity to serve. Empathy is not sympathy but understanding and caring. It is the basis of true friendship. Empathy leads to respect and opens the door to teaching and learning. The Sioux Indians understand this great principle as they pray, “Great Spirit, help me to never judge another until I have walked for two weeks in his moccasins.” -Lynn A. Mickelsen; The Atonement, Repentance, and Dirty Linen; October 2003

No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. -Theodore Roosevelt

Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time, Quentin L. Cook

God Will Lift Us Up, Robert D. Hales


Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? -Job 40:8, Holy Bible

How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? -Job 26:2, Holy Bible

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. -Alma 7:11-12, Book of Mormon

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. -Matthew 25: 35-40, Holy Bible


Empathy - 1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it. 2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this. -Merriam Webster

The English word was coined in 1909 by the psychologist Edward B. Titchener in an attempt to translate the German word "Einfühlungsvermögen", a new phenomenon explored at the end of 19th century mainly by philosopher Theodor Lipps. It was later re-translated into the German language as "Empathie", and is still in use there. -Wikipedia, "Empathy". 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2012-08-29.

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