Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story of empathy from which we can all learn. 14-year-old Alex Johnson of Lebanon, TN has been in a wheelchair since the second grade due to a form of skeletal dysplasia. Recently, he has been working hard to help other people to understand the challenges disabled people face in hopes that it will lead to more favorable legislation and a more understanding community. He has gotten dozens of students to participate in his “Spend a Day In My Wheels” challenge and just recently got ten state legislators of both parties to try it as well. Representative Clark Boyd said of his day in a wheelchair that even a building that is handicap accessible can still “be a pretty big challenge.” After spending that day in a wheelchair, these lawmakers are now working towards passing more handicap-friendly legislation. Alex’s efforts show how much can be achieved when we meet others where they are with empathy.
In his time, empathy is what anyone who came to Jesus in faith and hope found in him. Have you ever considered how incredibly gratifying it must have been, after a lifetime of scorn and shame (as many lepers, lame, and blind faced in those days), to be seen, heard, and given the time of day by someone as important and revered in his day as Jesus? People haven’t changed since those days; we still all need to feel seen, heard, and understood. If we are to follow Jesus, it means we must show empathy just as he did, especially to those whom society often overlooks. Romans says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” Today, show empathy to all but seek out those who very much need it.
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15