I once had a conversation with a colleague at a volunteer event. In the past, this colleague had come across as controlling, bossy and desperately seeking respect. In many ways, I could not understand why he could be that way, but as he unwrapped his past and present to me, I began to see why. I didn’t see a need to avoid him any more, or not respond to ‘his’ rude emails. Now I saw a reason to be empathetic. I found a reason to accept that the “aggression” was not as a result of me, but there were a lot of underlying issues that caused it. Perhaps I would be that way if I were facing the same issue. I began to align more to that blessed saying by John Bradford:

There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

Jesus was crucified by Roman Soldiers who were following orders given as a result of the betrayal by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Yet on the cross, he prayed that they be forgiven for they knew not what they were doing. Jesus could see it from their point of view. They thought they were maintaining their rightful place as God’s representatives, hence keeping law and order,  by getting rid of Him. Jesus forgave the woman who was caught in the act of adultery – He knew what may have pushed her to do such an abominable act and asked her not to do it again. Jesus forgave the tithe collectors, who swindled other people off their hard earned cash, heck, he even converted them to be his disciples. The empathy of Jesus Christ led him to forgive in ways that had never been seen before. That is why you and I are forgiven today in spite of our hideous sins.

Be empathetic to everyone as much as is in your power to do so. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. The reason she was rude to you may stem for the fact that she was not shown much attention to as a child. The reason he is so aggressive in the office may stem from the fact he has lost leadership in his home.  A fear of loosing her home, or being financially dependent may cause a colleague to start hiding things from you. That people are weird in the workplace, Church, or at the neighborhood gathering could stem from an issue they are facing publicly and/ or publicly. In the same vein, when someone is nice to you, that kindness can be traced to an event in their lives, or simply good training. There are a myriad of reasons why people act the way they act. Our worldview are shaped by where we are from, where we are and where we are going. Empathy helps us create understanding, which in turn pushes us, as well as the human race forward.

But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men – John 2:24