Five better ways to be in 2014: choose empathy over sympathy

Top 'o the morning to you. Let's do this new year thing right. Over the next several days, you'll find me posting five times on better ways to be in 2014. Each of them hinges on the knowledge that "the Lord is here," that the ongoing presence of Jesus in us causes us to live and interact differently with ourselves, with our world and with those closest to us.

Here's #1: let's choose empathy over sympathy in 2014. 

Hats off to my friend Beth Hafer who sent along the following video by Brene Brown. It's a fun, accessible way to realize what it means to sit with another in their pain, often without saying anything. What will you choose—empathy or sympathy? 

I'll be candid. I've been through enough knocks in 2013 that I simply don't have a lot of tolerance for those who try to apply the sympathy bandage. And I'm thankful for these knocks, because I believe Jesus is trying to continue to shape me into a person of empathy, a person of understanding that represents him well to the broken. I hope I'm never associated with those who try to comfort like the friends of Job in the Bible. Instead, I want to be more like someone who so embodies the Resurrection that I can sit in the pain with grace, knowing that in time all will be well.

As I am formed into the image of Jesus, I hope to choose empathy over sympathy in 2014.

Do you have a memorable experience of someone who showed genuine empathy to you? Do share.