Abigail Dodds

Article: The Beauty and Abuse of Empathy

by Abigail Dodds

April 14, 2020

Notes by Edwin Rutsch

  • "Research shows that women in particular are more empathetic than men when seeing other people in pain. I think this reflects a wonderful design feature that God has given women that benefits not only any children we might have, but our entire communities. "

  • Explores

    • 1. Isolated Empathy

      • thinks empathy would give into a child's immediate desires, and not think of the long term. "His immediate comfort becomes the goal, rather than his long-term health." "I would succumb to his desire. Rather than doing what my rational mind knows is best for him "

      • (but we need empathy for the parent and their views as well as can empathize with the child in the future.)

      • Empathy Circle Response: ?

    • 2. Cowardly Empathy

      • empathy and coddling the sin

      • "feeling sorry for others caught in sin, in tearful solidarity and nothing else, are actually using others, not loving them. "

      • (again mutual empathy and the empathic dialogue are the way forward)

      • Empathy Circle Response: ?

    • 3. Manipulative Empathy

      • "Distorted empathy does terrible damage when misused toward others, but it absolutely destroys the one who turns her empathy inward. It seeks to sympathize with its own sad state. "

      • Self-pity

      • Empathy Circle Response: ?

    • Empathy Redeemed

      • "When that right ordering has happened, when empathy has refused isolation, cowardice, and manipulation, when she has bound herself to truth, what a beautifying effect she can have on the church. When we submit empathy to God rather than submit to empathy itself, God transforms empathy. "