Does God Have Sympathy?

What a provocative question.  Why would one even ask that question?  But, when we stop and think about it, it really is a difficult question.

We can find those who might say ‘No’, since we see so many terrible things in this present world.  We see violence, terror, and humans being inhuman to other humans and animals.  We see discrimination, persecution, and other atrocities.  If God had sympathy then why would these things exist?

But, then there are those who say ‘Yes, certainly’, since we can also see the mercy and kindness of God.  For all the terrible things in the world there are also beautiful things, kind things, people showing mercy and extending help to others in need.

And then there is the third camp, where we recognize God is sympathetic, but He does allow certain things to exist that seem terrible and unreasonable.  So, this third camp says ‘yes’ God is sympathetic, but there are times when things still happen that we cannot understand.

But, is it really that simple?  Of course not.  You see the problem with this posting is the word ‘sympathy’.

Sympathy implies we have emotional feelings, but often that is all that we can do.  We have sympathy for those who are affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.  We have sympathy towards those who are the victims of terrorism or war.  But, in this context the word ‘sympathy’ really means we have emotional empathy, but often there is little we can do to change the situation.

This is not the case with God, who has all power, and can change anything and everything.  With God the term sympathy may not even apply, for it carries with it the pain of impotence or helplessness, and God is none of these things.  Maybe a better word is compassion, which the Bible repeats frequently with regards to the words and actions of Christ.  When we see Christ moved with compassion, we also see action.  Christ doesn’t have compassion and then do nothing.  He changes things.

Now to the harder question – we want God to have sympathy or compassion about our situation, but why do we sometimes feel that this is lacking or insufficient?  Could it be the reason God doesn’t do anything about our situation is because we are not willing to change or do anything to help our selves.  In other words, we want God to pat us on the back and say, “That’s all right son, I know how you feel and what you are going through, and I want you to know it pains me too.”  When all the time we are unwilling to change our situation or to do the ‘right things’ that might put us on the positive path we are seeking.  Let me use a silly example.

I’m a bank robber, and lately things have been lean.  I really expected to get $50,000 or more, and each time I rob a bank here lately I’ve only been getting $5,000 or less.  I’m very depressed, and I really want God’s sympathy or compassion.  Am I likely to get it?  Of course, not.  But, as silly as this illustration is it is exactly what some folks are doing, and they wonder why God doesn’t show sympathy or compassion.  How can He give you the sympathy or compassion you crave when you are doing the wrong things, and have no intention of changing?

Just a little something to think about….

One Response to “Does God Have Sympathy?”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    This is such a great blog. When horrible things happen I hear people ask why God did this! They NEVER stop to think of the part they might play into it. Everyone wants God’s blessings but they want to live their lives without any accountability, etc. I think this blog puts everything into perspective! Thank you again for your inspiration! Blessings…

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