I love the fact that you guys are continuing to challenge me!  Another sweet friend is sending me her second word.  Making me think--digging deep.  I cannot tell you how much that thrills me!

Today's word is


In the Lulu's dictionary empathy is sympathy on steroids.  Let's start at the definition of sympathy~.

feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.

      understanding between people; common feeling.

We can certainly feel sympathy for another without understanding or having experienced the loss or circumstance they are facing.  I have great sympathy for all those who have lost or had major destruction to their homes during this last hurricane.  Having only experienced minor damage in one hurricane, it limits my true understanding of what they are going through.  I have volunteered in previous hurricanes to help restore the destruction.  This gives me a least a little more understanding of their experience, but I have never lived in the midst of this tragedy.

The definition of empathy takes sympathy a step further~

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another

This depth of sorrow is usually associated with having also experienced a similar experience.  

I have great empathy for children who lose a parent because I lost my own father at 14.  I understand the huge life altering loss.  I am empathetic with women who have experienced divorce.  I understand the complexity of the sorrow with the end of a marriage by this means.  On a lighter note, I have empathy for those who are also experiencing aging.  

I am just thankful to still be vertical, but some days can be a trial.  

Empathy takes sympathy to an entirely new level.  You REALLY GET what the other is going through.  Having friends who are sympathetic is a blessings, but having friends who are empathetic gives us hope for survival.  They are living proof we will endure and get through the circumstance.  What a great resource of encouragement and hope are those who have experienced and survived our plight.  There is no better counselor than one who has walked in your shoes.

 A great example of the difference in the two is how Jesus Himself endured all forms of temptation.  He was no stranger to the allure of sin.  He also promises us we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure.  He has great empathy for us enduring temptation.  He also has great sympathy for us when we fail to endure and sin.  How can one letter produce such a huge contrast?  Food for thought for you today ~ food for thought.

"No temptation has overtaken you than is not common to man.
God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape,
that you may be able to endure it."
I Corinthians 10:13


  1. Jesus certainly is the model of true empathy, Lulu. And there is no greater gift to us as humans to have empathy for one another. All these words . . . Hmm. I need to think of one to send you. :)

  2. Would love that, Martha!

  3. Did a little more word study thinking about how Greek word is translated both ways in Hebrews 4:15. This is what the root word means (Merrimack-webster)

    “The Greek word pathos means "suffering," "experience," or "emotion." It was borrowed into English in the 16th century, and for English speakers, the term usually refers to the emotions produced by tragedy or a depiction of tragedy. "Pathos" has quite a few kin in English. A "pathetic" sight moves us to pity. "Empathy" is the ability to feel the emotions of another. Though "pathology" is not literally "the study of suffering," it is "the study of diseases." You can probably guess at more relatives of "pathos." "Sympathy," "apathetic," "antipathy," "sociopath," and "psychopath" are a few.”

    Empathy is a developmental stage as children become “other” aware. And persons without empathy are challenged in relationships.

    I think there is a nuanced pop in that empathy is feeling the emotions and sympathy is feeling with.

    Interesting thought provoking. Thanks

  4. I always love how you dig deeper and cause me to think! The study of suffering--deep indeed!
    Bless You, Friend!


Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!