Blog fiLLLed in 5: Cultivating Love and Empathy For Others

fiLLLed in 5: Cultivating Love and Empathy For Others



Hi, and welcome to fiLLLed in 5 where we take a quick look at an aspect of spiritual life. Love is the heart of spiritual growth. Last week we discussed how love of self is the starting point for love of others and of our Higher Power. If we do not have love and gratitude for ourselves, we will tend to view God as a judge or as One whom we continue to disappoint. Our view of others will be skeptical and suspicious. Learning to love, forgive, and give thanks for ourselves opens us up to genuinely receiving God’s love and sharing that love with others. Make sure you check out that video on the importance of self-love and spiritual growth.

Developing our love for others, then, encompasses not only our ability to love others but also our ability to receive love from others, without skepticism. Growing spiritually through cultivating love for others involves practicing compassion, empathy, and kindness towards others. Here's how to foster those skills:

The first, of course, is self-compassion, which we already discussed.

The next skill is sorely needed - the ability to actively listen. Active listening not only means being focused on what the other person is saying but also being fully present to them and not thinking about your response. Focus on what they say to you without judgment or interruption. Ask them a follow-up question - not for the purpose of refuting them - but to understand them and their point of view more completely. So many of our issues with one another would fade away if we took the time to listen for understanding.

Do you have someone in your life who listens to you this way? I hope so - these people are treasures. 

The next two grow out of the practices you began with learning to love yourself. They are gratitude and forgiveness. Learning to forgive one’s self is the single biggest action we can take to grow spiritually and emotionally. Once we learn to do that, we better understand that when others hurt our feelings it’s almost always about them and their struggles and not about us at all. Forgiveness is a spiritual skill that rapidly changes ourselves and our relationships. 

And finally, a gratitude practice places our focus on all that we receive and blesses us. Express gratitude for others’ presence, support, and contributions. Share these thoughts! How great do you feel when someone expresses how much you mean to them? Develop a habit of doing this and it will enhance your relationships and strengthen the bonds of love you share. Love is the heart of spiritual life. That’s the fiLLLed life. I want it for you. 

I’m Melissa Ebken and I’m the pastor of the Illiopolis and Niantic Christian churches. I pray your life is fiLLLed with light, life, and love.


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A picture of Melissa with her head in her hands and the title: "The fiLLLed Life Blog."

Hello Friends!

Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here. 

Live a fiLLLed Life!

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