WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN EMPATH?
Empaths are sensitive individuals who have a strong ability to sense what people around them feel and think. Psychologists may use the word empathic to describe a person who feels a great deal of guilt, even to the point of taking on others’ suffering at their own expense. Nevertheless, the term empath may also be used as a spiritual term, describing a person with a unique psychic ability to feel the emotions and energies of others.
There are several benefits to being an empath. On the bright side, empaths tend to be great friends. They’re great listeners. They always show up for friends in times of need. They’re big-hearted and kind. Empaths also seem to be highly intuitive and emotionally intelligent.
However, some of the very attributes that make empaths such great friends can be hard on the empaths themselves. Since empaths understand what their friends are going through, they can be overwhelmed by painful feelings, such as anxiety or anger. Empaths always have the habit of taking the problems of others as their own. It is also difficult for them to set boundaries for themselves and say no when much is asked of them.
Also, it is normal for empaths to feel exhausted after spending time with people. Empaths are usually introverts, and they need a certain amount of time alone to recover. A 2011 study indicates that there may be a correlation between highly empathic individuals and social anxiety. Empaths can feel particularly overwhelming to crowds; they are often extremely sensitive to such sounds and incessant chatter. They always feel their best when they’re surrounded by nature.
DOES THE BIBLE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT EMPATHY?
The word empath comes from the word empathy, which is described as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” An empathic person can intuitively sense what someone else feels and imagine what it would be like to experience them. An empathic person is a person who genuinely feels the emotions of someone, but sometimes being physically influenced by those emotions and likely understanding the motivations behind the feelings or acts of an individual. Empathic abilities are linked to the sense of “body energies,” “vibes,” and other mystical powers. The idea of being an empath derives mainly from New Age mysticism mixed with bits of modern science (some biological, some psychological) on how emotions influence our bodies.
Empathy shouldn’t be confused with sympathy. It’s the ability to grasp the feelings, situations, thoughts, or behaviors of another person. It takes a great emotional capacity to feel what others feel, and while this is easier for some than for others, we can all practice engaging in the emotions of others as a means of loving them.
The Bible often refers to acts of empathy. Loving one another often means becoming deeply personal to one another, and we see in the Scriptures that Paul encourages Christians to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15). By sharing these emotions, we live together as a Christian family, through all the ups and downs of life. The apostle Peter also urged Christians to show compassion to others by possessing “unity of mind” and “tender heart” (1 Peter 3:8).
To understand the term empathic better, we can compare it to the word telepathic. Theoretically, a telepath would actually be able to hear the thoughts of another person inside his head. Just as theoretically, an empath would feel the emotions of another person. Within the New Age movement, empaths are commonly described as extra-sensitive beings who can feel the emotions of any person — or animal — nearby, regardless of context or knowledge. That understanding is very personal, and it is on the level of supposed psychic abilities that certain people claim to have.
Empathy is often the cause of action. The Apostle John describes this relationship between empathy and action in this way: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17). The love of God guides us to compassion (and empathy) for one another. If we do not show compassion to those who need material possessions or food or water, we are far less likely to act. Although we have the intention of acting as God’s hands and feet in this universe, we frequently miss opportunities because we lack the sense of empathy in perceiving needs. Christians are called to earnestly love one another (Matt. 22:39; 1 Peter 4:8). We can begin to love others to practice growing our empathy so that we can understand each other.
The assertion that empaths are capable of perceiving others’ physical sensitivities and spiritual desires is a characteristic shared by others in the occult. No one but God can interpret someone else’s intentions and motivations (Psalm 139; John 2:25). 1 Corinthians 2:11 states, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” We’re not given that insight.
Jesus is our best example of empathy. He was incarnated so that he could feel every human emotion (Hebrews 4:15). We can rejoice in the fact that Christ has complete empathy for what we’re going through in our lives. The Gospels contain many stories of Jesus, showing compassion for people who need it. In Luke 7:11–16, Jesus saw the widow’s pain and was overwhelmed with compassion for her. He sensed her deep sadness and grief and brought her son back to life, and they all glorified God as they saw how He understood and healed the widow’s pain. Jesus was always sensitive to people in other accounts of the Bible (Matthew 9:36).
Just as we can show love since God first loved us (1 John 4:19), so we can show empathy because God is the greatest empathizer. David cried out to God in the Psalms, and his poetry shows us how deeply God understands us. “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Psalm 56:8). We may be comforted by realizing that God has the capacity to know all our struggles and emotion. We can cast our anxieties on Him because He cares about us (1 Peter 5:7).
SIGNS THAT YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN EMPATH
Have you ever been accused of being too sensitive? Do other people’s emotions affect you like it’s your own? If your response is yes, you might be an empath. But is it possible to be a Christian and at the same time an empath?
Yeah, it’s very much possible. But it can be difficult for others to be an empath and an active Christian. Most people still don’t recognize their empathic abilities. We grew up being told that “supernatural” abilities of any sort didn’t come from God. As such, Christian empaths normally have a hard time fitting in and getting acceptance from the community.
But there’s certainly nothing wrong with being empathic. It is a gift from God, contrary to popular belief. In reality, it is God’s way of using you to draw others closer to Him. This is a precious gift that you should use as God planned it to be.
UNIQUE TRAITS OF EMPATHS
According to a study, about 20 percent of the world’s population is genetically predisposed to empathy. This means that you are unique and different as an empath because not everybody has your talent. But what set you apart from the others are these special traits:
SENSITIVE TO PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS
A very common comment received by empaths is that they are too sensitive. True enough, you may find yourself very much in tune with other people’s emotions. You feel pleased when they are happy, and you suffer with them through their grief. This helps you anticipate their needs easily.
You dislike arguments and chaos more than anything else. Fights and shouts easily upset you, so you prefer to be a peacemaker amidst uproar.
Because you can easily sense what other people feel, it is a lot easier to put yourself in their shoes. This will helps you to understand them better and to be more compassionate for them.
Empaths tend to absorb the feelings of others. These include negative ones. And when you’re inundated with negative emotions, life will drain out of you. That’s why empaths believe it’s their duty to add positivity to any room they’re in.
FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE IN LARGE CROWDS
Large crowds can be overwhelming for you. That’s why you stop going to public places like the malls and the cinema. Concerts are certainly not a good idea to you, because of the crowd, and also because of the loud sound.
Is your “gut feeling” accurate most of the time? The intuition of an empath is highly intuitive. As such, you have the ability to read into situations even before it is revealed to you.
LOW TOLERANCE FOR PAIN
Empaths may have a high emotional quotient, but physical pain may be unbearable to them. Simple cuts or minor bruises may not matter much to a non-empath, but they are a big deal for the empaths.
EASILY DETECTS LIES
Because they can easily read other people’s emotions, it won’t be easy to lie to the empathic. You can see through people’s words, and your intuition usually tells you whether or not they’re lying.
AVOID NEGATIVE MEDIA IMAGES
Morbid and negative images affect you a lot more than other people. You usually feel very emotional over a picture of a mother and a kid or a homeless person shivering on a cold pavement.
Narcissists tend to drive towards you. You may find yourself feeding on their need for constant validation. That’s why, most of the time, empaths are mistaken as suckups and pushovers.
A GOOD LISTENER
Empaths tend to form strong relationships because they’re good listeners. It is not in your nature to criticize or condemn anyone. Rather, you understand where they’re coming from, and you empathize with them.
Being too sensitive to other people’s feelings can take its toll on you. That is why you may find yourself regularly tired and sapped of energy.
Doing a lot of things at once can easily overwhelm and confuse you. That is why you typically don’t excel in a multi-tasking job.
HATES SHOW-OFF AND SELFISH PEOPLE
Although you can tolerate narcissists, show-off and selfish people are enemies of yours. Perhaps it is because you can easily see through them, or because their self-centered nature puts you off.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND AN EMPATH?
Do you identify yourself as a Christian and an empathic?
If so, you might have felt like an outcast at times. Those in your religious community might not understand your empathic abilities.
Those who don’t understand empaths might think that your gifts come from the devil. Or, they might think that you’re trying to act as a divine being.
You know, being an empath doesn’t mean you’re evil. But you have probably found yourself asking if you could be a Christian and empathic.
Let us look at the relationship between Christians and Empaths. It might be more general than you think to be both. In reality, there are some famous Christians who we believe might be empaths.
Why do some people believe empaths cannot be Christians?
Most of the time, these people do not understand empaths. They believe that empathic abilities are the dark power used to draw people away from God. In fact, empaths can use their gifts to draw people closer to God.
And, indeed, it is entirely possible to be both a Christian and an empath. Christian empaths should think of their abilities as a gift from God. They can make good use of their skills. They can feel the emotions and needs of others and try to make the world a better place.
Empaths do not always ask for their gifts. They’re usually born with these abilities. As a result, Christian empaths can accept this as a part of how God made them.
TYPES OF EMPATHS
You may know that many empathic traits align with the Christian phenomenon. Most religious figures, including priests and ministers, are likely to be empathetic.
Let us look at a few types, including emotional, spiritual, and intuitive emotions.
• Emotional Empath – Emotional empath feels and absorbs the emotions of those around them. They feel the happiness, the sadness, the pain of the people they meet.
• Spiritual Empath – Spiritual Empath can sense the connection people have with spiritual beings. They have a profound knowledge of metaphysical experiences.
• Intuitive Empaths – Intuitive Empath always have knowledge about future events. They are usually revealed to them through dreams.
When you read the definitions, you might recognize that Christians can exhibit empathic traits.
Being an empath does not necessarily mean that you didn’t receive your abilities from God. If you practice Christianity, you could think that God gives certain people empathic abilities so he can communicate with them easier. That’s why many religious figures are actually empathic. They use their abilities to connect and draw people closer to God.
FAMOUS RELIGIOUS EMPATHS
Some notable Christian leaders could be identified as empaths.
When you study the Old Testament, you will find stories of prophets interacting with God. They regularly receive messages through dreams or angels. These are excellent examples of astral or intuitive empathetic events cases.
Jesus Christ could be considered an empath. He had a deep connection to a divine being; He spent his life preaching love and acceptance. He deeply felt the suffering of the people around him, and he worked to make the world a better place. In the Bible, you will find examples of Jesus Christ empathizing with others’ pains and sorrows.
Mother Teresa is another example of a Christian empath. She felt the pain of the sick; She dedicated her life to caring for the lepers and the poor. She also had a deep spiritual relationship with God.
Now that you know it’s possible to be a Christian empath, what should you do?
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR EMPATHIC ABILITIES
Of course, empathy, or the ability to listen, understand, and relate to others’ feelings, is a precious gift, and there is nothing unbiblical about the concept of bearing the burdens of another person, whether emotional or otherwise (Galatians 6:2). In fact, the Spirit of God is described as a comforter of the distressed (2 Corinthians 1:3–6).
As a Christian, several people in your community may not appreciate your gifts. But God gave you the gift for a reason. The only way to thank him for this is to use it to make other people happy and bring them closer to Him.
If you are identified as Christian Empath, do not think you’re alone. It may be difficult to get others in your community to support you, but don’t give up.