Empathy Kindness is displayed when we empathize (can experience the feelings of) others who are hurting. Although every act of kindness requires at least an element of empathy, this type of kindness is motivated largely by empathizing with another’s feelings. When you see a small child sitting alone in the school cafeteria, can you feel the loneliness he is going through? If as a kid you would purposely go and sit next to him, then you were displaying a kindness based on empathy. When we emotionally identify with something another person is going through and act to comfort or support them, we are showing kindness based on empathy. We often see this type of kindness happen spontaneously when one happens upon another person who is suffering.  Empathy kindness can also be planned and therefore extended to many who suffer emotional pain. For example, the Bible speaks of visiting prisoners as a “ministry” — do we show empathy for prisoners? Do we show empathy for the sick or the aged and infirm? We can volunteer at nursing homes, in hospitals, and in prisons. We can improve our world by making life better in our own communities. No empathy for treating prisoners as humans and with kindness? Then don’t be surprised when they re-offend. When we treat a man with dignity he acts like a man; when we treat him as an animal then why be surprised when he continues to act like an animal?

Ron Hill