Woman – empathetic and sympathetic

My daughter and I were going through a devotional plan together, and what she shared with me really resonated within me. She said “I am unique as a woman, I am different from a man. I should rejoice in that, not try to fight men. They don’t have the things that I have, they can never give birth or have periods. They don’t have that mothering heart. Being a woman is a privilege not a disadvantage.”

How true this is, every woman must know that their womanhood is not a disadvantage but rather an advantage and a privilege. Unless a woman sees her womanhood as an advantage she will struggle to fit into God’s plan for her life. One of the uniqueness of God in women is the ability to empathise and sympathise with others.  Isaiah 49:15a says, Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?

Women are naturally compassionate, we find it easy to feel how others might feel. I have the privilege to listen to the often cry of women, and my heart usually cries out with them. I find it easy to sympathise with these ladies that I counsel, follow up or relate with.

To empathise or sympathise comes from a compassionate heart, and God who made the woman in the beginning, made her with compassion in her wiring. What does this mean? It means you as a woman is in a better position to understand and try to put yourself in the suffering or ordeal of those around you.

Yet, in the midst of this, note that empathy and sympathy are, though alike, are not the same thing. Here is a description of both.


Sympathy is, in simple form, being sorry for a person. It is having compassion for them, and comforting them. In fact, the dictionary definition of sympathy is: ‘feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.’


Empathy is not feeling sorry for a person, it is feeling how they feel. Mingling your tears with theirs, going through the pain with them. You might have heard of the saying, ‘Put yourself in their shoes’, this is what empathy means. It is feeling what the other person feels. Putting yourself in their shoe, experiencing what they’re feeling.

You need empathy and sympathy together in order to be compassionate. You may think that empathy is sympathy with a bit more, ‘spice thrown in’ but no, empathy is not sympathy, and sympathy is not empathy. Sympathy is feeling sad for a person, while empathy is feeling what that person feels.

It is not part of our wiring as women to be mean nor callous. It is actually a strange thing, and against God’s wiring of the woman to be insensitive to the need of those around her. Backstabbing each other and gossiping about each other all came due to the fall of mankind. The woman God made in the beginning was good, and I believe that includes rejoicing with those rejoicing and mourning with those mourning. That is why empathy AND sympathy are needed to be a good Christian woman.

If you look around in our churches and community, women are more committed to courses and jobs that involve compassion like nursing, Sunday school teaching, aid workers, etc. It is my prayer to see women, and I mean redeemed women, restored back to this virtue of God in the woman. Amen.


This blog is taken from the WHY WOMAN O LORD PAGE.

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