The one thing I remember from my Pastoral Care classes at College was never to say, "I understand."
Reference: v.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. (NIV Bible)
Explore: The one thing I remember from my Pastoral Care classes at College was never to say, "I understand." Really, we can never fully understand what someone else is going through and when someone says, 'I understand', it can sometimes undervalue the breadth of emotion that the person is really feeling. However, there are some people who have more of an understanding than others. When my father passed away there were many people who had well-meaning things to say. They went out of their way to assist our family and their support was much appreciated. But I remember chatting to a mate of mine who had lost his father to the same disease only a couple of years earlier. Yes, his father was a completely different person to my father and my mate would have had many different emotions to me. But when my mate spoke to me at the funeral I knew that he had could really sympathize with what I was going through. He never muttered the words, 'I understand', but I could see in his eyes that he could appreciate my loss.
Application: This is the same look that I think Jesus gives each one of us. He may never have gone through the exact same situation as us, but He is someone who truly 'sympathizes with our weaknesses.' As you read through the stories of Jesus' life you may not see if He has lost his job, broken his arm or been in a difficult relationship. But we worship a God who sympathizes with us. He became human so that He could connect us to God in a more real way, and He truly does sympathize with what we have to go through. How fortunate we are to have a God who sympathizes and not a distant god who leaves us on our own.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for showing us your sympathy. Help us to cling to You in our times of need. Amen.
What is an area of weakness or pain in your life? How do you think God sympathizes with you?
Buy Linda's new book at Amazon.com
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.