8 Ways to Empathize with Those You Disagree With

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 ESV

Compassion is empathy in action. Compassion asks, “How can I help?”.

Compassion is a direct result of the feelings we have for others when we see them hurting. Since we have already recognized that most people acting in these undesirable ways are hurting, once we dig in and find the root cause, we can work with compassion.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16 ESV

However, when you disagree with what someone has done or said to you, finding it in your heart to be compassionate may be difficult. Compassion toward someone you disagree with goes against our natural instinct. That is why we must look to those who do it well.

Compassion is best represented by Jesus and the way He treated others—even the ones who hurt Him:

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 ESV

8. Pray for Them

We can also pray for God to help us see others through His eyes. 

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8 ESV

When I don’t quite know how to deal with a person, I have found the best approach is to take it to God and let Him handle the situation. In these moments, my love for that person abounds, as I start to see them in the same way God sees all of us.

While on the cross, Jesus prayed to God the Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 ESV

It also helps to admit that we have little to no control over the people in our lives. If they are straying down the wrong path, making bad choices, and saying words that hurt the ones who love them, there’s not a lot we can do to convince them to turn their lives around. 

Trying to control the situation only makes things worse and could possibly damage your relationship with them. God has the power to work in these types of situations in mysterious ways, making prayer the best method.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18 ESV

Empathy is the Bridge to Restoration

Empathy is the bridge to restoration. It helps us connect with others even when we disagree with them, giving us insight into loving others unconditionally.

Ultimately, empathy helps us love others the way Christ loves us.

Even in our brokenness, He scoops us up and restores us back to Him.

He doesn’t require us to be perfect to be in His presence. No, He meets us where we are and shows us the way back to His heart.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/vadimguzhva

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