"Empathy, not sympathy." -Servants In Faith And Technology (AKA Southern Institute For Application Technology)
These simple words have the power to change the script of history. It is something the nonprofit SIFAT has not only believed, but lived out for nearly 40 years.
SIFAT is an organization that "provides training in community development in hard places in our world," (Sifat.org/about). They teach leaders from around the planet various skills and assets that are appropriate to take back to their own communities to help them long-term physically, socially, economically, and, in turn, spiritually.
They have also raised the awareness of needs and global issues stirring generations of people to not just see opportunities to help neighbors near them or around the world, but to rise up and act.
One of the ways they are doing this is through a camp called, "Learn and Serve", which is a camp that allows students to gain a clearer insight of the developing world (i.e. our neighbors who need our love and action) through service opportunities & immersive experiences. And it stirs a new generation of people to share the love of Jesus in ways that are radically exciting and surpisingly doable.
So if you read this and say "That's nice and all for kids to learn for a week, but I'm fine. Someone else can do that." I totally understand. I've been there.
However, there are some truths that can't be ignored. For example, over 50% of the world goes hungry, (without the proper nutrients/rarely any meals every day), then another 35% is barely getting a meal once a day, and the other 15% are those who can eat however much they want, whenever they want, (most who will read this article).
And that is just one statistic. We won't go over those living in horrific conditions like slums, those dying from the simplest of health needs or any other staggering reality that could be thrown at you.
I bring this up because organizations like SIFAT remind us that before we move, we must have the right perception.
It is our call and duty as followers of Jesus Christ, the One who called us to take care of the needy, to not simply feel for others, but feel with them.
That is empathy. And that will give us no choice but to act.
So Pray consistently (actually do it instead of just saying you will). Give to an organization that makes a regular large impact. Serve in your town. Think globally. Act locally. (And maybe even act globally too.) Anything and everything makes a literal world of a difference.
Walk forward in empathy as you leave sympathy behind. And do exactly what God has been calling you to do when He was in your shoes.
Rewrite the script of history.
“When we walk in their shoes and feel what they are feeling, reasons for poverty become much clearer. Then we begin to understand the Biblical teachings on our responsibility in the face of poverty and need.”-Sarah Corson, founder of Sifat (Sifat.org/learn-serve)
Matthew 25:40 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’