Empathy: A Spotlight on God’s Grace

Feb 28, 2017, Written by Sue Miley

Every once in a while, God allows me to have a ridiculous week of frustrations, aches and pains, and missteps so I will be a better coach.

Yes, that is what I am telling myself.

I guess God knows I can multi-task in my learning as it usually all culminates in the same week.  I know I am supposed to have empathy.  Empathy is good for counselors and coaches.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of the need to fill the ‘empathy deficit’ in the world.  On August 11, 2006, he said,

You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit – the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us – the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this – when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers – it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.

Lessons in Empathy from the God of the Universe

Using this quote is not a political stance at all.  Maybe I have just had a deficit lately.  Based on the last few days, I know how my clients and fellow entrepreneurs feel across a wide array of areas:

  • Out of 13 appointments so far this week (which is two days of appointments and the first appointment of the third day), seven of them moved or cancelled for some reason or another within a few hours to 0 hours.  I rarely have cancellations or re-schedules and when I do, I usually have time to re-fill it.

EMPATHY LESSON: Communicate cancellation policy up front and regularly.  Pre-plan other things to work on when that much time frees up.  Be flexible, they may be having the same week you are.

  • On top of a wildly fluctuating calendar, one of our client’s websites is down and our website is down.  Our vendors have no grace.  It is what it is?  I wasted time and Ashley, our marketing coordinator, wasted time and I still haven’t made a decision about what to do.

EMPATHY LESSON: Don’t be like other service providers and evade responsibility…that is until you talk to the third person in the company who finally admits that it is a problem with your system or service.  It frustrates the client.

  • In areas that you are not knowledgeable, it takes more time to make decisions so that you can gather information and assess future implications.

EMPATHY LESSON: Have patience with others who can’t make quick decisions because it may be an area where they feel how I do about technology.

  • While all of this is going on with the constantly fluctuating schedule and technology breakdowns, I feel like I am falling apart physically.  The weekend before last, I went to see my kids in Birmingham.  I made my husband carry all of the big luggage.  I carried my computer bag, purse, and makeup bag.  That is all it takes, when you are older, to throw your back out.  Really.  When other people are giving you some major injury about how they squatted 150 lbs. and hurt a disc in their back, don’t be skeptical.  And if they are over 50 years old, don’t laugh if they say they just turned over in their sleep and couldn’t move when they woke up.

EMPATHY LESSON: All excuses may not be excuses; they could just be reasons.

So, I did go to my friend whom is a physical therapist and I think she re-aligned my back, so hopefully I am on the mend.  It still hurts, but now I have a really bad headache.  Is it from consistent back pain for over a week?  Is it from a crazy, moving schedule?  Is it some other secret illness that I probably won’t go to the doctor for unless it stays for over a week?

But really Satan, you aren’t going to break me.

I am still a child of the God of the Universe.  He has my back.  I will learn my lessons well this week.  I will put them to good use through extreme empathy with others.  I will try to show the grace and mercy that our Lord shows us every day of our lives.

I will leave the frustration, anger, and sickness with you, Satan.

A Final Lesson in Empathy

“Empathy moves us to share in another’s pain, to really see the world through their eyes. When we do, it very often changes the kind of decisions and actions we take. When empathy is in full bloom, many things change and it does becomes almost impossible not to help.” – David Hamilton, Phd.

We are here to help in this world.

Empathy provides us with a path to best assist those God calls us to help.   If you are having a bad week or things don’t seem like they are going in the right direction in your business, step back, try to see things from others’ perspectives, and stay connected to Jesus.

It is the only way to send Satan packing.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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