A Biblical Perspective on Empathy and Understanding

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Seeing through someone goes beyond the surface, beyond appearances. It involves understanding their thoughts, emotions, and experiences, striving for a deeper connection. In the Bible, empathy and understanding are virtues encouraged to strengthen relationships, foster compassion, and grow spiritually. This article delves into what it means to see through someone from a biblical standpoint, exploring key principles and lessons for a more empathetic and compassionate life.

  1. Compassion as a Divine Virtue

The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the importance of compassion. In passages like Psalm 103:13-14, it portrays God’s compassion for His children, likening it to a father’s compassion for his own. To see through someone, we must embrace compassion as a divine virtue, mirroring God’s love and empathy for us.

  1. The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12, known as the Golden Rule, guides us to treat others as we would like to be treated. To truly see through someone, we must put ourselves in their shoes, considering how we would want to be understood and treated if we were in their situation.

  1. Empathy: The Art of Understanding

Empathy involves understanding another person’s feelings and perspectives. Romans 12:15 encourages us to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” This verse underscores the importance of empathizing with others in times of joy and sorrow, demonstrating our ability to see through them.

  1. The Parable of the Good Samaritan

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus illustrates how compassion transcends boundaries. The Samaritan, despite cultural differences, saw through the injured man’s suffering, offering help and care. This story teaches us that seeing through someone requires us to look beyond preconceived notions and biases.

  1. Listening with a Compassionate Heart

James 1:19 advises us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Effective listening is a vital aspect of seeing through someone. When we listen with a compassionate heart, we not only hear their words but also understand their emotions and concerns.

  1. Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Galatians 6:2 instructs believers to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” To truly see through someone, we must be willing to share their emotional burdens, offering support and comfort.

  1. Forgiveness and Restoration

Seeing through someone also involves forgiving their shortcomings and offering a path to restoration. In Luke 15:11-32, the story of the prodigal son highlights the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation, demonstrating how empathy can lead to restoration and healing.

  1. Overcoming Self-Centeredness

Philippians 2:4 teaches us to “look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.” To see through someone, we must overcome our natural self-centeredness, focusing on their needs and concerns.

  1. Love as the Greatest Commandment

In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus identifies love as the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love, rooted in empathy and understanding, is the cornerstone of seeing through someone.

  1. Reflecting God’s Love

To see through someone is to reflect God’s love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes love as patient, kind, and selfless. When we see through others, we embody these qualities, mirroring God’s love for humanity.


Seeing through someone, as illuminated by biblical teachings, is a profound act of empathy and understanding. It involves embracing compassion, practicing empathy, and striving to love others as God loves us. By following the principles outlined in the Bible, we can build deeper, more meaningful relationships, fostering a more compassionate and spiritually enriching life. In doing so, we fulfill the divine call to love and see through our fellow human beings, reflecting the very essence of God’s boundless love.

A Biblical Perspective on Empathy and Understanding

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