When I was young, at a time when Europe was torn apart by so many conflicts, I kept on asking myself: Why all these confrontations? Why do so many people, even Christians, condemn one another out of hand? And I wondered: is there, on this earth, a way of reaching complete understanding of others? Then came a day – I can still remember the date, and I could describe the place: the subdued light of a late summer evening, darkness settling over the countryside — a day when I made a decision. I said to myself, if this way does exist, begin with yourself and resolve to understand every person fully. That day, I was certain the vow I had made was for life. It involved nothing less than returning again and again, my whole life long, to this irrevocable decision: seek to understand all, rather than to be understood.
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
Communicating Christ never means trying to impose oneself. The Gospel is not a vise that clamps down upon another person’s conscience and entraps that person. A believer from Bangladesh, speaking about those around him who do not know Christ, said, “When you are near a fire, you are warmed. When the fire of God’s love is in us, does it not shine on those who are close to us, even if we do not realize it?”
“…lead us not to temptation, and deliver me an email.” We’ve got some work to do!
this was a friend’s Facebook status as she described her child’s recitation of the Our Father. Too good not to share!
I experience an accurate, empathic understanding of the person’s world as my own, but without ever losing the “as if” quality. This is empathy. To understand the person’s feelings, never in doubt about what the person means; my remarks fit in just right with the person’s mood and content, and my tone of voice conveys the complete ability to share the person’s feelings.