Compassion and Empathy
Jesus is moved by compassion and empathy throughout His ministry here on earth and, no doubt, today, as our Living God. He is moved by compassion to heal, feed the hungry, and to Shepard and teach the confused and helpless. You can read some examples in the Bible: Hebrews 4:15, Matthew 14:13-14, Matthew 20:30-34, Luke 7:12-15, Mark 6:34, but I'm sure you have stories from your life, too.
When I think of compassion, I think of the ability to feel deep sympathy or empathy for someone who is in need with a desire to help them in their suffering. Empathy being the ability to feel the emotions of another person.
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership
The first time I heard about emotional intelligence or EQ was about three years ago at a leadership conference Tricia invited me to attend. It is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." I left realizing that even though I identify as a feeler over a thinker on the Myers-Briggs personality short quiz, I would need an actual “Feelings Wheel” (developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox) to give me a clue as to what I may be feeling in any given situation, past or present. At that point in the game, I would judge my EQ to be incredibly low as there was no way I could be trusted to manage my own emotions not to mention the emotions of others.
Identifying and Connecting with Feelings
Over the next three years, I decided to do the hardest work of my life in counseling. I not only wanted to identify what difficult feelings I may be stuffing or denying, but to invite Jesus into the even harder work of CONNECTING with those feelings. A safe Christian counselor, who invited Holy Spirit to guide me and lead each session, was the strength I needed to CHOOSE to feel; to allow those dormant toxins and weighty burdens to be stirred up and for the foundations of lies to be exposed and broken. Not gonna sugarcoat it. It hurts like the hell it is.
I had been harboring deep pain in the very fibers of my being that, left unattended, could very well keep me striving in unhealthy, codependent relationships and even turn into disease, addiction of all sorts, divorce, self-loathing and a myriad of other yucky scenarios.
Giving My Problems to Jesus
Then came the CHOICE to give all the pain, ugliness, deception and broken dreams to Jesus.
Experiencing and moving into the depths of anger, hatred, fear, loss and grief is PAINFUL. Jesus is there with me, feeling my feelings, understanding my pain at the deepest levels. He knows all the whys and how-did-I-get-here questions of my heart and IS MOVED BY COMPASSION to help me. It is who He is and what He came to do. He pulls me from the sludge. I wouldn't believe it unless I experience the freedom, every time.
Now, choosing to give it all to Jesus, time and time again, is an exercise in breaking through the SHAME of how huge and ugly every lie and wrong-thinking that I have been believing and feeding into my whole life is. Not to mention praying for faith enough to authentically hand the jagged, boiling, mangled mess FULLY to Him.
Jesus' EQ and What That Means for Me
So, do I believe Jesus has the highest EQ known to man? Absolutely. He not only knows the heart of the Father, but He is able and willing to feel what I am feeling and to be MOVED BY COMPASSION to heal me, moving in the Power and Heart of God. As I process through, I pray my EQ is increasing. That I am growing, changing and transforming into a person who desires to know the Father’s Heart for myself and others, is able to manage my own emotions, be trusted with other’s feelings and be moved by the compassion of Christ in helping those in their deepest need.