What Does the Bible Say about Sympathy?
Maybe we’re not comfortable with the word sympathy because we associate it with pity or only applicable when there’s been a death, but there are a plethora of synonyms for sympathy that we often find used in the Bible such as, comfort, support, encouragement, compassion, kindness, tenderness, tender-heartedness, concern, caring, warmth.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 1 Peter 3:8 NLT
God wants us to know that our healing process comes from a close relationship with him. He promises that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Ps. 34:18 NLT).
Jesus gives us examples of how to express sympathy.
When Jesus’ good friend Lazarus died his sisters Mary and Martha immediately sent for Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (John 11:3). When Jesus heard the news that Lazarus died before he arrived, his sympathy for the loss ran deep, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
Sometimes, we so closely empathize with those who are hurting that we cry with them, and that’s okay. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:15 to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who mourn.” It lets them know we understand their pain and we care. When people saw Jesus crying, “Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” (John 11:36).
In the story of the woman with an issue of blood, we see Jesus’ compassion and sympathy for those in pain. “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better, she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering . . . He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:26-29, 34).