Stories like the Good Samaritan foster an awareness of others that cures our near-sightedness. In recent years, the term empathy has been in vogue. Psychologist Paul Bloom defines empathy as “the process of experiencing the world as others do, or at least as you think they do. To empathize with someone is to put yourself in her shoes, to feel her pain.” Empathy is distinctly different from sympathy in that sympathy usually positions us above the other, looking down on them and feeling sorry for them. Empathy asks us to feel what they feel, thus subverting the power differential. Textbook…

Empathizing with others leads to greater effectiveness in evangelism. In his bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains that empathy is a key to effectiveness. He exhorts us to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It’s so easy to jump right into the point that we want to get across, but if we don’t first take the time to understand where others are coming from, there can easily be unintended miscommunication. Cultivating the ability to empathize with others leads to greater effectiveness in all forms of communication, including evangelism. In fact, Jesus himself…