“If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” –Mother Teresa

“If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” –Mother Teresa

 

Empathy is something we hear a lot about in pop culture. People often share quizzes or quotes about being an empathy. As much as the word is thrown around in today’s society, I wish it was practiced more.

Empathy is often confused with sympathy but those two emotions are very different. Sympathy is understanding that a person is experiencing a particular emotion. Empathy is feeling that particular emotion alongside the person.

What I pull from Mother Teresa’s words are powerful. We may understand that a particular group of people have a plight and we may recognize they are vulnerable and marginalized but do we truly empathize with them?

Because a group of people are experiencing a shared plight do we somehow believe this diminishes their struggles? Often we view people we disagree with as a group of nameless and faceless people. We see immigrants, African Americans, LBGTQ people, and other marginalized people of society. Because we look at the “mass” we fail to recognize the dignity and inherent worth of the individual person that makes up the “masses”.

Each person has an experience that is different from your own. That experience is as valid as yours. We lose that when we see people as nameless and faceless enemy.

I think the best example of empathy was stated by Jesus Christ. He advised “love one another as yourself”. This means we recognize that the stranger in the mass has a personhood that is separate from my own. I think Jesus was also highlighting that in many ways we can be harder on other people than we are on ourselves.

We understand our intentions. We know where our heart was. Yet we always question the motives of others. We are quick to assume another’s wrong doings and not give the benefit of the doubt. If we loved others as we loved ourselves, we wouldn’t rush t judgment about other people’s motives but give them time to make them known.

By only seeing people as part of a “mass” we maintain that shroud around them, perpetuating a two dimensional understanding of them. We have to recognize that people of all walks want what we all want: our basic physical and psychological needs to be met. When we prevent that we are denying an individual’s personhood. In a fair and free society we validate everyone’s experience while not denying a person’s existence.

We should always keep in mind that behind every issue, political or other, is the “one” that makes up the “mass”. That one is a person who has thoughts, feelings, and perspective on the world.

Empathy is one of those buzz words that is often thrown around in pop culture and it seems very little understand the complexity of the emotion or what it truly means to empathize with another person. Its understanding that we can disagree while recognizing the complexity of the person we disagree with. It’s a way for us to maintain our humanity. It’s something to consider the next time you are faced with the “mass”; consider the “one”.

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” ― Marilyn Monroe

Having a Christian faith in today’s American pop-cultured fueled society will certainly ensure you are seen as an out of touch lunatic.

Don’t get me wrong the media doesn’t mind people believing in God. However, He has to be completely loving with no standards for morality and never chastising.

I recently read an article discussing Sadie Robertson being on DWTS (Dancing With The Stars). The writer called their Christian faith “overt”. Simply because their TV show based on their family and family business includes their faith.

Who would have thought, Christians using biblical principles to raise a family and develop a business? What a foreign concept?

I’m not affirming I necessarily agree with everything the Robertson clan believes. However, it’s ridiculous to me the media treats them like the plague simply because they believe in a merciful God that wishes to fellowship with us, deeply flawed and sinful humans, through His son Jesus Christ.

The media and Hollywood loves to depict the Christian like a nut bag simply because they do not fit their own narrative.

If one believes in monogamy, saving one’s self for marriage, and modesty they are at worst judgmental and at best as cute and naïve as a woodland creature. Oh bless his/her heart that’s so precious.

Just Google Lolo Jones and see how many articles you will find discussing her decision to remain celibate until marriage.

There are many bad “Christians” out there. See: The Westboro Baptist Church or the KKK.

However. The media constantly reminds society those nut bags are associated with Christians.

Forget the average Christian deplores those groups of people. However, when you point this out you are met with opposition.

Furthermore, when you point out the ills of radical Islam, you are labeled an Islamaphobe.

Even when you make the distinction between peaceful Islamists and radicals.

The media loves to highlight stories of the crazy minority of Christians who do believe in awful things. However, they will not highlight radical Islam.
For instance, there are reports of a radical Islamist who killed a 19-year-old freshman in college for being an American. This was in New Jersey. The same guy killed two gay men in Seattle. Why? Because according to radical Islamist homosexuals must be killed. These are not alleged crimes. He confessed to them for the very reasons I listed.

Do you think the mainstream media has reported this or that Hollywood will make movies remembering the victims?

Of course not! Instead they perpetuate a cycle that worships the monsters. How many movies has Hollywood made that outlines how complicated and misunderstood a serial killer is?

Did you know the living Boston Bomber has a following of women who believes he is innocent and doesn’t deserve to rot in jail and face death penalty?

I find it deplorable that the victims of heinous crimes are an after thought and the monsters who commit the crimes are seen as rock stars.

You can’t make this up!

What gets me is the amount of disdain for Christianity. Look, I get it we haven’t always gotten it right. We let societal beliefs seep through Biblical principle. However, I’d like to think that we are making strides to get back to true biblical principles.

What’s more impressive is the media and Hollywood has done an excellent job in convincing the average American that they and their beliefs are in the minority.

A large majority of regular folks in this country believes in God, moral standards, hard work, and family values.

However, what is on tv doesn’t represent this at all. A majority of shows are about hip twenty something’s that don’t work and have the moral high ground of an inch worm. They usually never believe in God lest there is a tragic event to occur in their life.

The belief that you live by high moral standards is deemed uncool, judgmental, and lame.

I mean think of all the fun you are missing out on?

This isn’t to bash folks who live this way. But why is my lifestyle so threatening to you? I don’t openly trash the things you participate in. Yet the media and Hollywood seems to be so defensive of their beliefs.

Media and the Hollywood elites don’t have to convert. Live your life the way you wish. It’s your right.

However it would be nice if the “Christian” character wasn’t a whack-a-doodle that isn’t socially inept.

The average folks that work hard, the average Americans are the ones lining your pockets with cash.  They are the ones that consume your media content. I would think you being respectful to your audience would be the idea.

Instead Christians are insulted, after all they are an easy target. They do not have a billion dollar platform to defend themselves. They are too busy raising families, working hard, and contributing to society in more meaningful and productive ways. With out these people, that are the butt of your jokes, society would not be the well oiled machine that it is.

We should give thanks for those who want to help keep the fabric of society in tact. Those that wish to keep family centered. The people who truly affect society. We need more of that.

This in itself is humbling.