In a previous post we looked at why we should empathize with others, concluding that it is both biblical and pragmatic to do so. Knowing we should do something doesn’t mean we will do it. We need to intentionally take the following measures to be more empathetic:
- Ask God to build within you a heart of love and compassion that cares about other people’s feelings and opinions.
- Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Don’t rely on your own instincts about people.
- Actually look at people in their eyes.
- Take note of people’s facial expressions, gestures, and overall demeanor … not just their words.
- Pay attention to what is happening in their lives.
- Let the other person talk and pay careful attention to what is being said.
- Do not be quick to jump in with advice or to share your experience.
- Work at developing your listening skills.
- Guard against assuming that you know what a person is thinking or feeling.
- Use clarifying questions when talking with someone to make sure you truly understand.