Empaths from a Christian perspective

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1footouttadefog

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Empaths from a Christian perspective
« on: March 24, 2018, 01:05:48 PM »
I have been reading more on the subject of empaths of late.

Much of what I am finding online has a decidedly new age bent. 

I am curious if others think about this idea within Christian constructs.

How does the idea of being an empaths fit into being a Christian.  Is it a gift?

It seems that if one sees it as a gift, then they can surrender it to God's use.  I think perhaps when people don't they are more apt to repeatedly get drawn into bad relationships. 

Perhaps only with God's wisdom and with discernment can the empaths avoid dangerous relationships.

I am reading the Old testament and making note of the common sense ideas and rules that our culture white washes over in the name of enlightenment.  I am seeing areas also that seem to apply to those who have empathy.

Just curious what others think about the idea of empaths.


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Memyself

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2018, 01:34:18 PM »
I have been reading more on the subject of empaths of late.

Much of what I am finding online has a decidedly new age bent. 

I am curious if others think about this idea within Christian constructs.

How does the idea of being an empaths fit into being a Christian.  Is it a gift?

It seems that if one sees it as a gift, then they can surrender it to God's use.  I think perhaps when people don't they are more apt to repeatedly get drawn into bad relationships. 

Perhaps only with God's wisdom and with discernment can the empaths avoid dangerous relationships.

I am reading the Old testament and making note of the common sense ideas and rules that our culture white washes over in the name of enlightenment.  I am seeing areas also that seem to apply to those who have empathy.

Just curious what others think about the idea of empaths.

Someone told me once that they believed I had the gift of mercy...and that was very eye opening to me!  I think that is what we believers would call being an "empath".  We feel and sense things about others, and want to share it that with them, comforting and offering encouragement and support.  I have loved letting this gift take its proper place in my life...as I used to feel ashamed I was "ugh! SO sensitive!"  :roll:

I know that my being an "empath" makes me easy prey for those that seek to manipulate and abuse the gift...so I also pray for wisdom and discernment and have learned to NEVER second guess my "gut", because that isn't me at all...its God saying, 'watch out here!'

 :)

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SonofThunder

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2018, 01:27:10 AM »
In my opinion, putting a label on a person who is born with or has developed a stronger sensitivity (than many others) to their surroundings and living beings in it, sets that person up for prideful and/or manipulative use of that trait. 

I surely believe that some people are created more sensitive than others and I also personally feel that those people who have sustained long periods of abuse as well as PD’s who have had a lifetime history of having to be sensitive to feed their needs and develop manipulative skills to hide their insecurities, , have developed a necessary sensitivity over time; a kind of perfection of the skill. 

But again, I believe the label should not be given.  Regarding Christianity, I feel that those who are more sensitive than others (I am a very sensitive person) would say that the trait can be both a blessing and a curse.  There are areas of life that I would rather be more insensitive to and other areas I am grateful I am.   I see no issue with Christianity and the trait of high sensitivity, but the moment it becomes a source of pride, manipulation or used for gain or hurt, then I could find plenty of scripture that would rebuke the person for allowing themselves to take advantage of a created and/or perfected, God created trait. 

SoT.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 01:31:29 AM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Memyself

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2018, 12:39:40 PM »
In my opinion, putting a label on a person who is born with or has developed a stronger sensitivity (than many others) to their surroundings and living beings in it, sets that person up for prideful and/or manipulative use of that trait. 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean...could you expound on this thought?

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I surely believe that some people are created more sensitive than others and I also personally feel that those people who have sustained long periods of abuse as well as PD’s who have had a lifetime history of having to be sensitive to feed their needs and develop manipulative skills to hide their insecurities, , have developed a necessary sensitivity over time; a kind of perfection of the skill. 

I don't think what fuels a PD is sensitivity, but pride and selfishness.  What the OP is talking about, IMO is the opposite of that; a desire to comfort and feel what another person is feeling--empathy.

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But again, I believe the label should not be given.  Regarding Christianity, I feel that those who are more sensitive than others (I am a very sensitive person) would say that the trait can be both a blessing and a curse.  There are areas of life that I would rather be more insensitive to and other areas I am grateful I am.   I see no issue with Christianity and the trait of high sensitivity, but the moment it becomes a source of pride, manipulation or used for gain or hurt, then I could find plenty of scripture that would rebuke the person for allowing themselves to take advantage of a created and/or perfected, God created trait. 

SoT.

I do agree that sometimes I feel its a bit of a curse and I will pray "Father, harden my heart just a *little* bit here" because I know the world can't handle how BIG I feel things and if I let it show, it frightens them.

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Hattie

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2018, 01:21:10 PM »
Hey, I'm not a Christian but I'm reading a Christian self-help book at the mo: "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud.  It addresses how it is important for empaths to develop good boundaries and practise good "stewardship" for their bodies and souls. Might be relevant for your questions
Love is patient; love is kind.
It does not envy; it does not boast.
It is not proud. It does not dishonour others.
It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

1 Corinthians 13: 5-8.

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1footouttadefog

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2018, 11:51:47 PM »
I don't think naming a gift or attribute equates to being prideful.  Calling someone a hunter, teacher, preacher, healer, or prayer warrior is not an invitation or demand for being prideful it's simply acknowledging the skills they have been gifted with.

I don't think being sensitive and being an "empathic" person are entirely equivalent.  But this may be a matter of semantics and word usage.

I agree that anything can lead to pride and empathy as a gift or attribute is no different. As another mentioned, there is a stewardship component to using any talent for God's purpose. 

I also agree that for the most part the world is not ready for intensity of feeling and it's hard to relate to others about feelings as most are not ready for intensity and seem to love on a more superficial level in day to day life in terms of interactions. 

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SonofThunder

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 11:06:11 AM »
In my opinion, putting a label on a person who is born with or has developed a stronger sensitivity (than many others) to their surroundings and living beings in it, sets that person up for prideful and/or manipulative use of that trait. 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean...could you expound on this thought?

Quote
I surely believe that some people are created more sensitive than others and I also personally feel that those people who have sustained long periods of abuse as well as PD’s who have had a lifetime history of having to be sensitive to feed their needs and develop manipulative skills to hide their insecurities, , have developed a necessary sensitivity over time; a kind of perfection of the skill. 

I don't think what fuels a PD is sensitivity, but pride and selfishness.  What the OP is talking about, IMO is the opposite of that; a desire to comfort and feel what another person is feeling--empathy.

Quote
But again, I believe the label should not be given.  Regarding Christianity, I feel that those who are more sensitive than others (I am a very sensitive person) would say that the trait can be both a blessing and a curse.  There are areas of life that I would rather be more insensitive to and other areas I am grateful I am.   I see no issue with Christianity and the trait of high sensitivity, but the moment it becomes a source of pride, manipulation or used for gain or hurt, then I could find plenty of scripture that would rebuke the person for allowing themselves to take advantage of a created and/or perfected, God created trait. 

SoT.

I do agree that sometimes I feel its a bit of a curse and I will pray "Father, harden my heart just a *little* bit here" because I know the world can't handle how BIG I feel things and if I let it show, it frightens them.

Hello MeMyself, 

My understanding of the term empath is a person who has a trait of a high level of empathy, giving them the ability to recognize, through a variety of ways, how another person is, and how they are feeling.  This trait could be used for good or manipulation. 

Imo, self-describing oneself with the term ‘empath’ is a recognition that oneself has this trait.  But, I do not see any benefit to any person outside myself, to know I feel I am an ‘empath’.  I don’t feel a label needs to be given to the trait, as being humble and silent about it around others simply helps us be a better friend or listener without causing the other person to treat us or act differently toward us. 

I do believe that PD’s have developed a trained high degree of sensitivity in their hidden low self-image.  They are very perceptive to emotions and word choices and then skew them to direct attention to themselves and keep that self image problem hidden behind the mask of narcissism and/or attempted power control moves.  So, yes, I do believe that PDs have developed a higher degree of sensitivity to what others do and say and are very skillfully capable of using their perception to manipulate. 

SoT
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Memyself

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 11:58:26 AM »
Okay, thank you SoT for taking the time to explain what you meant.


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1footouttadefog

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2018, 11:59:19 PM »
So it's okay to be identified as as the bearer of any number of gift and talents but not as having empathy, or even an abundance of empathy.

Keep in mind that I did not self identify and was asking in general terms what others thought of this idea in relation to Christianity.

That said,  I have been reading in the Book of Proverbs of late.  It would seem that a great many verses there would be particularly beneficial to the .. (Looks over shoulder and whispers)   empaths.

The direct no nonsense nature of many Proverbs, it seems can serve to balance out an (quick glance, speaking softly) empathic person's tendency to overlook redflags.


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jennygt

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 05:05:39 AM »
I consider myself an Empath. When I was a young child if the Sally Struther's commercial for African relief would come on I would cry. Not only cry but the feeling of sadness would overwhelm me and stay with me for hours. We had to leave a showing of Bambi early because I was hysterical etc.

I know Empaths can manipulate. I attracted a lot of PDs because I literally didn't understand how I couldn't heal them. They seemed so gruff and tuff and by God it was my calling to show them there was another way of life (didn't help my NPD/BPD mother left me with a empty hole and also groomed me to tolerate bad behavior.

I taught religion school and was a Youth Minister and my empath abilities were put to good use. I had kids in my room before and after class. A lot of them needed a very empathetic person sadly.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 10:25:59 PM by xredshoesx »

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LSK1999

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 10:11:34 AM »
Hi everyone, I am a Christian and I have spend plenty of time wondering how any of what happened to me or my over sensitivity to the feelings of others is a gift. For me this over sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others has led to an obliteration of the self. My therapist insists that my sensitivity is a gift, it certainly feels like it's more of a curse to me as other people's emotions have been overwhelming my life for as long as I can remember. I used to think I was an empath but then learned about codependency and realized this is probably a more fitting explanation of me. This is why I detest labels though, we are so much more complex than any one label can surmise. Labeling myself as a codependent instead of an empath, makes it seem that everything about me is just a product of all of the abuse. In reality I think I am likely both. I was a sensitive child that felt things in a very big way, but I have no idea at this point if it was because I was born that way, or if it was the trauma of having a utterly abandoning and neglectful mother.

I do not believe God has wanted me to be walked over the way I have in my life, so it's now for me about trying to understand how to love and care for myself. One thing for me that has been the most difficult question of all is, where in the bible does it tell me what to do when I can't love or care for myself? We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves, it seems it's just supposed to be a given that we love ourselves. But what about those of us that were never loved and didn't learn self love, in fact were taught to detest ourselves. I walk through most of life looking around at people that just seem to naturally believe they are good, it's like I missed a memo or something...lol. Anyway I know this went quite off topic, but I was excited to see that others here were Christian and could maybe share how they have come to light on any of this.  :D

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DJCleo

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2018, 02:34:46 AM »
I think it’s important to remember the quote “He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul”. An empathetic person can’t survive without God’s provisions of help from others and restoring their soul over and over. It’s the way perfect gift AND thorn in the flesh because it helps one stay open to God and staying in communion with Him. We have to stay connected or risk turning bitter.

I would like to know who else in the Bible was this way. Sometimes I feel so alone.

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1footouttadefog

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Re: Empaths from a Christian perspective
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 09:06:33 PM »
Empathy or codepedent.

Gift or detriment.

I think it based to do with how and when this talent is applied.

If an artist paints on the brick wall of my house he becomes a vandal.  If he paints on a building that the community wants to enrich as such he is a muralist.

For me being sensitive to God's lead on who and how much to help is important.