Living Empathy


[Photo of Beca, who embodies empathy.]

Message at New Song Community Church 1-19-20 on Matthew 7:12

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

This is about as messy a sermon as I’ve preached in a very long time. But since it’s me, I mostly mean that in a good way.

Let’s draw this out for a second. “Do to others as you have have them do to you.” In the situation I find Joe, I should act toward him as I would have him act toward me if I were in Joe’s situation. I’m not asking, “What do I think is justicefor Joe?” The Bible speaks a ton about justice, but that isn’t Jesus’ direction here. I have to understand what Joe is experiencing, to place myself in Joe’s position, and then say “Okay, how would I want to be treated in his shoes?” Because the funny thing is, I can be quick to decide what justice would be for someone else, but I’m a lot less likely to call for justice on myself. For myself, I want grace. I really want grace. I know how bad I am and justice would not be pretty. I want grace. That means I’m asking, “What grace would I want Joe to show me?” That’s the grace I’m going to show Joe. 

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