Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. As a friend or loved one of someone incarcerated, we have to be careful not to become hard hearted towards them. We must always remember that if not for the Grace of God, it could have been us behind bars. As we operate in empathy we tap into compassion.
I remember reading a story about a juror in a case of a young white teen who had committed a horrible crime. This juror could not bring herself to send this teen away to prison for his crime, because when she looked at him it reminded her of her grandson. She empathized with the parents of the teen and it caused compassion to flow through her. The article went on to say that many times because white jurors cannot empathize with black teens they are sent away to prison. The white teen was looked at as that’s my son or grandson and the black teen was looked at as a bad child that needs to be taught a lesson.
In short, the incarcerated many times will not find empathy, which brings compassion, in the court system or prison and it’s another painful blow if they don’t get the compassion from their family members, friends and loved ones. Many times you are the only person they have left in this world.
Let’s continue to be a source of love in the lives of the incarcerated, by tapping into EMPATHY.
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels; I myself become the wounded person.” ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
If you would like to share with our readers how you deal with a loved one or friend being incarcerated please email us your testimony. We will go through the ones we receive and use some for the Newsletter. Please limit your testimony to one page and include a picture of yourself if possible.
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Yours in Christ,
Pastor Frank M. Bafford, Sr.