For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV
As Canadians were experiencing pandemic fatigue after two long years, research suggested that Canadians may also have been experiencing “empathy fatigue.” A 2022 survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association and University of British Columbia researchers, Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health, shows that feelings of empathy eroded over the course of the pandemic, with only 13% of Canadians feeling empathetic at the time, down markedly since the onset of the pandemic. Empathy is the ability to understand another’s perspective and feelings.
None of us like to go through challenging times. They are painful and confusing, and we pray that the Lord will deliver us from them. During those times, we wonder why the Lord has allowed them to come our way. It isn’t until later, when someone we love experiences the same pain, and we walk alongside them with empathy, that we begin to understand why. The author of Hebrews tells us that this is one of the most precious things about Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” Imagine – the God who created the world chose to come and live a lifetime with us. He did so in order to fully experience all we face on a daily basis – being tired, hungry, in pain, lonely and abandoned – and finally facing the ultimate human reality – death. The result is that nothing you face, except sin, is foreign to Jesus. When you hurt, He empathizes, and draws alongside to comfort and heal.
These have been words from the heart.