Sympathy and the Love of Christ

Sympathy and the Love of Christ

“Christ’s love is not sympathetic, it is power.” I heard a speaker say this once and I sought to understand what was being said. It pricked me and resonated as true, but I wanted more of a meal than an appetizer. So off I went to listen to what the Spirit would tell me. What I found is that there is a huge difference between sympathy and Christ’s Love.

Sympathy Separates

Sympathy Separates
Ultimately sympathy brings about a separation. It sets up a separation between the hurting one and the sympathetic person. Sympathy is my feeling sorry for you, while I am over here and you’re over there. Being sympathetic pities you in your “box” while remaining in my own. It says, “Aw, I’m sorry you’re going through what you’re going through, but thank God I’m not!”

The Love of Christ has never been sympathetic. On the contrary, it is power.

Sympathy and the Cross

Sympathy and the Cross
If anything, Christ’s Love, which took Him to the cross, was empathetic because He entered our pain and suffering. He became our solution to bring us back into right relationship with the Father. He didn’t sympathize with our stupid human sinfulness; He became human, was tempted just as we are, and yet did not sin. His Love never said, “Aw, they’re so stupid and stuck, let’s free them.” His Love said, “I will be the answer! I will be the power! I AM their solution!” He brought power not sympathy, because Love is involved with its object, not removed from it.

I am ecstatic that Christ’s Love is not sympathetic! I don’t need sympathy to commiserate with my condition; I need the power of His Love. I don’t need Christ to simply hear my plights, I need to radically, powerfully experience His Love.

Praise God, our Heavenly Father is more than sympathetic! Hallelujah! Our Savior is intimately involved in the fellowship of our suffering, and asks us to join Him in His. I fully receive the empathetic Love of our Redeemer, who goes beyond mere condolences and enters my life with me. He is the answer and Love I have always sought.

What I have gleaned from seeking the meaning of this quote – “Christ’s love is not sympathetic, it is power” – is that Christ’s Love is the Power of Resurrection to bring change rather than simple sympathy, which would just bring further separation.

For we do not have a High Priest unable to empathize with our weaknesses; since in every respect He was tempted just as we are, the only difference being that He did not sin.
Hebrew 4:15

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    • tammy

      Yes! Hallelujah!
      I sometimes find that when someone is in pain – instead of a sympathetic response…I begin to pray. As much as I’d like to add here that my prayers are prompted by the others pain – often they are not. My first prayer at times becomes “forgive me Father” because my sinful flesh has resurrected and either asks, “How can ‘I’ fix this…how can ‘I’ help?” Or even worse, “What have they done to reap this pain?” As soon as I recognize my sinful response and His prompt for repentance, He also prompts intercession. For this I am grateful. It’s amazing what can occur in the blink (or two) of an eye.
      Hebrews 4:15…Amen.

    • Sam

      Hallelujah to what John and Tammy shared!


    • Seth Roach

      I have been thinking about this today after reading and I wonder if the sympathy can be applied to sometimes how some believers in the west may view our brothers and sisters in other countries who are facing severe persecution and imprisonment. Being challenged by loves response.

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