Discovering Empathy and Praying for Revival
December 3, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #573.
We see the growing lack of empathy all over. We wrestle with its fruit and cry out to God. For many, this cry is the Holy Spirit’s own passion for revival.
(Martha) I just want to talk about empathy a minute, because the whole thing, this whole nation, and even believers, are turning – as John’s often talking about – to cold love. And I was fascinated when I learned that at the trials at Nuremberg, there were many psychiatrists there who dealt with the prisoners and the men, the Nazis who were being tried. And one man said, “I have come to see that evil is the absence of empathy.” And that’s an amazing statement. Is it only empathy? Well, I was with my husband when he was a judge on the bench and meetings that they went through yearly, certain training meetings. And this may take a minute to tell but I think it’s important to understand what empathy is and what it isn’t. What sympathy is, and sympathy is distancing a little bit, Jennifer, but empathy is entering it. But so, it’s the ability to feel for another human being because God has healed your own pains. And that’s what He wants to happen when He heals our pains. When I had the pain of my mother’s death, I was a young believer but the Lord said to me, “Never in your life will you ever minister apart from this wounded girl, because she is your connection to human suffering.” And I understood it more as time went on, when He touches our excruciating pain, He intends to do that to show, to make us a healer! To give us the power of healing to other people’s pains by empathy. But empathy is rare. And it’s becoming more rare. These murderers are people without any feeling for the humanity they’re destroying. It’s inconceivable! But they have the absence of empathy, so we’re experiencing a terror practically equal to the Nazi soul of having no feeling about murdering. There was a woman who spoke and Kenneth (Martha’s husband) asked me to come and sit through her lecture. She was training the judges to understand that the absence of empathy is child abuse. And she told a poignant story. Her own story demonstrated the empathy. Then she told another story of a case that she worked with. She said when she was a little girl, going to school, she hated green peas. And I did too so I was right with her immediately. They’d make me heave! And she said in her school, you had to clean your plate. So every Thursday or so they served peas and she would put her green peas in her pocket of her dress. And she would go home, and her dress would’ve been green and slimy and squished with all the green peas. And her mother would simply take the dress, scrape out the peas, wash the dress, and never rebuke her. She had empathy for the child’s suffering! And that was her demonstration of empathy. Then she told the story of a husband and wife who were both doctors in their field. They had two sons, brothers, and the brothers were arrested for stealing food from a neighbor. And she was called in as a psychologist to come and investigate it. And she said when she went into the home of the parents – highly intelligent, working people – they had put a lock on the refrigerator against the boys. And there were other things that she didn’t tell about the lack of empathy of these parents. And she said, “The boys are so damaged, they will never not live outside of an institution, because they had no empathy.” So it’s above all, as one of you mentioned, the compassion of Christ. He entered our suffering and felt all that we felt and does today, I believe. I think He feels as we feel. But I just wanted to share that, the crucial nature of the absence of empathy. It’s having such a cold, hard heart that you, but not only can’t feel but you don’t care. And so much of what’s happening around this, Jennifer, as you said it’s, it’s intellectualizing the situation without entering it with grief. And I don’t know what our empathy for all of these people will do, but it has healing power. It’s bearing a little tiny bit their load of pain, and that’s what empathy is. It’s a little bit but it can mean a whole lot. And Carole’s got a great passion about it.
(Carole) And Martha, what comes to me, when you just said that, it’s intercession. Somehow.
(Martha) Somehow it is.
(Carole) It is intercession. I was, I was reluctant to go into, to even read about it. I was! I was reluctant. Because I knew it was going to be so painful to see this, to… But I finally sat alone, had to get by myself with the Lord to experience it, to go, to start to go through it. Because I think with these, these tragedies, these murders, these assaults on human kind, when they happen, there’s a chasm. There is a deep chasm and we go to one side or we go to the other. And in this dividing line, is, either we refuse and we’re sympathetic and we distance ourselves from it, and we become cold. OR we answer the call of God. We answer His invitation to enter into the grief of those people that are experiencing a horror that I don’t know. And it is a horror. It is a horror beyond anything I can comprehend and they’re left with oh! God only knows really what they’re called to go through and the choice to enter in is a call from God. And it is, there is no, we can look at it as a victory of Satan but it’s not. Not to the kingdom of God, it is not a victory of Satan. It is a call to rise to the victory of Christ. And you know, David, in Scripture, he above all people that I see in Scripture lived from his heart. And because he lived from his heart, he had a heart after God’s own heart. He answered God’s call to feel! God felt love for this world, that’s why He sent His Son. He felt compassion. He felt empathy that we were wayward and wicked and despicable and He loved us so much in spite of that, that He sent His Son. That’s feeling, that’s empathy enough to become what we are to bring us to Himself. And I just want to be, I want to be a vessel for His heart.
(Martha) Before we started recording, Carole, you spoke of revival. And every time this happens, and how strange it is how often it is happening, but I have known that the only remedy is revival. The only hope, and you said earlier if you can say it again, about how God is going to use this for revival. But I’ve been praying for revival but praying with, ah, my own passion and the Holy Spirit’s passion. But since this tragedy, I have an amazing experience of intercession from the Holy Spirit, not of me. And it was well, I’ll just say it, it was wailing and crying and calling out to God. The Holy Spirit [was] doing that, beyond what I’m capable of caring. It was His caring and it was for the revival that, that’s the only answer to what’s going on! And that was your passion earlier, Carole.
(Carole) I found myself walking up the basement stairs and I said, “If My people will humble themselves and pray, and call on Me, I will heal their nation.” He wants to heal us, and when these occurrences happen – I don’t even want to call them occurrences. When these tragedies, these beyond-word tragedies, beyond-comprehension tragedies occur, I believe God’s heart is for His people to cry out to Him with all of their hearts and all of their minds and on their knees. He wants to bring us to our knees before Him.
(Martha) He wants, I believe, one last great revival in the middle of this terrible darkness that’s falling on all the earth. He wants, I believe He wants a revival. I’ve seen it. I have a vision of it. And I have prayed to pray, and begged to pray, and I believe that He’s going to bring fasting. And this terrible tragedy of our family, as you said, Jennifer, that’s what you and John have said. It’s our family, as believers in Christ. That He will, as you were saying, Carole, God will evoke in us the desire for revival as the only solution. Gun control is a ridiculous even thing to think about. And you can’t know who is a madman sitting next to you. You can’t know. And most of the time, they aren’t known. They can’t be predicted. There’s no way it can be predicted, so it can’t be prevented. But prayer can do great things to prevent it.
How important is empathy? So important that it’s lack leaves lifelong scars. And we see the growing lack of empathy all around. We wrestle with its fruit and cry out to God. For many, this cry is the Holy Spirit’s own passion for worldwide revival.