What Does the Bible Say About Feeling Sorry for Others

What Does the Bible Say About Feeling Sorry for Others?

The Bible is a remarkable source of wisdom, offering guidance on a wide range of topics. When it comes to feeling sorry for others, Scripture provides insight into how we should approach this emotion and how it should manifest in our actions. Let’s explore what the Bible says about feeling sorry for others.

1. Compassion and empathy: The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the importance of showing compassion and empathy towards others. In Matthew 9:36, Jesus is described as having “compassion for the crowds” because he saw them as “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” This teaches us to be aware of the struggles people face and to respond with empathy and kindness.

2. Bearing one another’s burdens: Galatians 6:2 encourages believers to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When we feel sorry for others, it should move us to help shoulder their burdens and offer support. This can be through acts of service, offering a listening ear, or providing practical assistance.

3. Loving our neighbors: In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus teaches us about the importance of loving our neighbors, even those who are different from us. The Samaritan felt sorry for the wounded man and showed compassion tending to his needs. This story reminds us that feeling sorry for others should lead to tangible acts of love and care.

4. Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep: Romans 12:15 encourages believers to empathize with both joy and sorrow. When someone experiences joy, we should rejoice with them wholeheartedly. Conversely, when someone is grieving or facing hardship, we should be moved to weep with them, offering comfort and support.

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5. The power of prayer: Feeling sorry for others can prompt us to lift them up in prayer. James 5:16 reminds us of the power of prayer, stating that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Interceding for others can bring comfort, healing, and strength to those who are suffering.

6. Remembering our own shortcomings: Feeling sorry for others should also remind us of our own need for grace and forgiveness. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus instructs us to remove the log from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from someone else’s eye. This reminds us to approach others with humility and understanding, recognizing that we too have fallen short and are in need of God’s mercy.

7. Taking action: The Bible teaches that feeling sorry for others should move us to take action. In James 2:15-16, believers are challenged not to simply offer empty words of sympathy, but to provide practical assistance to those in need. True compassion is demonstrated through tangible acts of love and support.


1. Is it wrong to feel sorry for others?
Feeling sorry for others is not inherently wrong. However, it becomes problematic if it leads to pity without action or if it becomes a self-righteous attitude. The Bible encourages us to feel sorry for others in a way that prompts us to show compassion and take practical steps to help.

2. How can I show empathy towards others?
Showing empathy involves actively listening, seeking to understand, and responding with kindness and compassion. It may include offering words of encouragement, acts of service, or simply being present for someone in their time of need.

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3. Should I feel sorry for those who have made poor choices?
While we should not condone or enable destructive behavior, we can still feel sorry for those who have made poor choices. Feeling sorry for them should lead us to pray for their healing and restoration, and to offer guidance and support if appropriate.

4. How can I avoid being overwhelmed the suffering of others?
It is important to set healthy boundaries and take care of your own emotional well-being. This can involve seeking support from others, engaging in self-care practices, and trusting in God’s sovereignty and ability to bring healing and redemption.

5. How can I discern when to offer help and when to step back?
Discernment is crucial when it comes to helping others. Prayer, seeking wise counsel, and trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit can help us determine when and how to offer assistance. It is important to remember that each situation is unique, and what may be helpful in one instance may not be in another.

6. Can feeling sorry for others become enabling?
Feeling sorry for others can become enabling if it leads to enabling destructive behavior or perpetuating a victim mentality. It is important to offer support in a way that encourages growth, personal responsibility, and positive change.

7. How can I cultivate a heart of compassion?
Cultivating a heart of compassion involves intentionally seeking to see others through God’s eyes, practicing empathy and kindness, and consistently seeking opportunities to serve and help those in need. Regularly engaging with Scripture and spending time in prayer can also deepen our understanding of God’s compassion and help us develop a compassionate heart.

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In conclusion, the Bible encourages us to feel sorry for others in a way that leads to action and shows compassion. It teaches us to bear one another’s burdens, love our neighbors, and extend grace to those who are suffering. May we strive to embody these teachings in our daily lives, offering comfort, support, and practical help to those in need.

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