I have this strong, almost supernatural ability to sense the emotions of others. I think that I may be an “Empath,” but I’m not sure if this is something that’s from God or from the devil. I want to use my ability to help others, but I don’t want to go against God. What do you think?
While I was researching the concept of “Empath,” it became pretty evident that the concept is not biblical. Empaths are described as people who are constantly bombarded by the emotions of others to the point that it often becomes overwhelming for them. Some people who consider themselves to be Empaths even claim to take on the pain and physical ailments of others. Clearly, this isn’t God’s work.
Jesus is a Healer, so if He did allow someone to experience the pain of others, it would be for the purpose of healing and it wouldn’t be that overwhelming. Also, God certainly wouldn’t want believers to take on the illnesses of others. Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy, but God comes to restore and give life more abundantly. Receiving the ailments and overwhelming negative feeling of others seems more like the enemy trying to steal the joy of others, not about God restoring His joy to the hurting.
It’s probably not a good idea to refer to yourself as an Empath because that suggests a couple of things:
- First, it focuses a lot on negative feelings, versus helping others move past the negative emotions.
- Second, it takes the focus off of God. Empaths believe that this ability is about them connecting to others and the universe, rather than acknowledging the restorative power of Christ.
As a child of God yourself, what you’re probably experiencing when you sense the distress of others is a spiritual gift in operation. The Bible says that at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of every believer and each believer receives a spiritual gift. According to 1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT:
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
So the difference between being an Empath and operating in your spiritual gift is purpose.
God gives spiritual gifts to equip and empower you to help others. You express a strong desire to help others who are hurting, so one of your spiritual gifts may be mercy or exhortation. You’re probably a great friend, and people probably seek you out for counsel. That’s awesome! In fact, your God-given life purpose might focus on helping people who have been hurt in some way.
My suggestion is to ask God to reveal your gifts to you; then, ask Him to equip you to use your gifts to help other people. When you do this, God will begin to use you in a mighty ways so be prepared for a radical change!
What do you girls think? Is being an Empath biblical? Has God revealed your spiritual gifts to you yet?