The familiar saying, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” is used often when trying to explain the concept of empathy. Maya Angelou, a famous inspirational poet and speaker, pointed out the obvious when she added, “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”

Jesus not only understood empathy, but he had the courage to display it. The writer of Hebrews points out in chapter 2 of the letter that Jesus was fully human while on earth. God did that so that Jesus would become a “merciful and faithful high priest…” (Hebrews 2:16).

It’s hard to imagine Jesus struggling with the same temptations we face but Scripture is clear that he did (Matthew 4:1-1).

He is not surprised by anything we do, nor is he shocked when we sin. Rather, he is able to understand our tendency to sin since he experienced temptation himself. This truth provides us with even more motivation to confess our hurts and struggles to our great High Priest.

What does that mean for us on a daily basis? It means that we can come to Jesus at any time, even in the middle of a moral or ethical dilemma. We can plead with God for mercy because his Son intercedes on our behalf, giving us the strength to prevail over the temptation and the mercy to forgive when we so often fail. What a comforting thought!

Thank you, Lord, for becoming human so you could walk in our shoes. Now, by your mercy, help us to walk in yours, so we can learn to be more and more empathetic like you. Amen.

Go Deeper — Think of who you need to be more empathetic with today. Ask God to help you see them and their situation through his eyes. Then, if possible, act on it.

Tags: The Book of Hebrews Hebrews 2
Photo Credit: Jonathan Chng