The Empath

March 13, 2018 | Dick Duerksen

“Empath.” It is in The New Yorker magazine, so it must be a real word.

“On The Oprah Winfrey Show, she served as an empath,” writes Doreen St. Félix, staff writer for The New Yorker.

A bit of Internet research brought me to some rather strange tales. “Empaths,” one site says, "have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. They can easily be overwhelmed by the needs of others.”

Here are some other empath traits:

  • They are highly sensitive to the needs and emotions of others;
  • They are ideal listeners with whom even strangers share their hearts;
  • They believe every problem has a solution;
  • They always look out for the underdog;
  • They must have quiet time.

Jesus must have been an empath. He loved intuitively, immediately sensing the needs of others. He was repelled by cruelty and threw Himself in front of the “Powers That Be” to protect the poor and downtrodden.

Remember the day Rabbi Jairus begged Jesus to touch his dying daughter? Immediately, Jesus left the feast disciple Matthew was holding for Him and headed up the hill with Jairus. Eager to heal the little girl. But, immediately sidetracked by another’s request for attention.

Yes, two women were healed that day, and both Jairus and Matthew proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah. However, after the celebrations died down, Jesus stood on the hill talking with His Father about all the others who hadn’t requested His help, trying to figure out how He could heal them all.

An empath.

Empaths do not enjoy being in large crowds; in fact they often slip away to be alone in a quiet place.

Remember the day Jesus asked Peter to go into town and “borrow” a young “never ridden” donkey from a businessman in Jerusalem? Peter obeyed, found the donkey, got permission from the owner to share him with “The Master,” then brought the animal to Jesus in Bethany. The day quickly became a day of triumph. Hundreds came, then thousands, all believing Jesus was proclaiming Himself KING.

“Rome is gone!” they shouted. “King of kings and Lord of lords!” they sang as they hacked off palm branches to wave in their joy. Many laid their coats in the mud before the donkey — as sacrifices to the new order. It grew so wonderful the temple leaders tried to shut the celebration down before Pilate would kill them all!

Jesus? He rode quietly, allowing their false dreams to crystallize and collapse.

When it was over, He was nowhere to be found. The Reason for the celebration had slipped away, unnoticed, and stood in the temple court speaking with His Father about His coming sacrifice.

Listen to His heart: "How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!" (Luke 13:34).

Jesus. Overwhelmed by the hurts and needs of others. Praying for us to become like Him.