Jesus never asked us to “fix” others, He told us to…
Week 1 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016
Introduction for Living Loved
In our first meeting this season at Cultivate book club we talked about empathy and why it’s so important to cultivate this into our lives. The truth is all of us have a deep need to be vulnerable. We want to be seen, heard and known. Fear of how we will be received however, keeps us living inauthentic lives. If we can become people of empathy and learn to connect with others in their pain, we are inviting those around us to be their real selves. And when people get real, beautiful things can happen.
So how do we become people of empathy?
The first thing is to not confuse having sympathy for someone as having empathy. They are two totally different things. Sympathy is feeling ‘for’ someone, whereas empathy is feeling ‘with’ someone. Sympathy can keep us disconnected and drives us to “fix” others by dishing out advice from afar, while empathy helps us understand the complex details of people’s situations requiring us to feel which drives us to love. And Jesus never asked us to “fix” others~ He asks us to love them.
So as we cultivate the practice of living loved let’s take the opportunity to be real with ourselves and ask, “What kind of person am I when someone is vulnerable with me? Do I tend to look at them from afar and offer my sympathy, or do I lean in close with empathy trying to understand their pain and reminding them that they are loved?”
Live loved friends,
This week’s statement to hold on to:
“Let’s give empathy in droves and advice in drips. People will lean into your perspective when you have leaned into their pain.” ~ Melody Workman
This week’s small group discussion & journal questions:
- How do people receive me in their moments of crisis or vulnerability?
- What makes me most uncomfortable when someone is sharing painful parts of their story?
- How do I need to grow in empathy and connection?
- Share about a time in your life where you needed someone (friend, spouse, sister, etc.) to give empathy and connect with you and it just didn’t happen? How did that make you feel?
- Do you struggle with empathy? Why is practicing true empathy so difficult?
- In John 11, we read about Jesus weeping with close friends of his who were weeping. What does this story tell us about Jesus?
- As this group shares and connects over the next 9 weeks, what are some things that are most important to you about this group time? What would you love to experience?
- Take some time and discuss the ground rules as a group.