Jeremy Pettitt on Communication and Culture

Empathy in Small Groups

Posted on October 11, 2020

The fourth Facet of Healthy Small Groups is Empathy.

As small group members begin to share with one other authentically and openly, the other members need to respond with empathy and compassion to them.

Empathy refers to "the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person".

The basis for responding with empathy to others is found in The Golden Rule (the foundation for all civil society):

"Do to other what you would have them do to you".

Empathy does not mean you have to agree with what the person shared - only that you seek to listen to and understand their thoughts and feelings.

A small group without empathy and compassion will eventually drain the relational trust of the group.

As we respond to one another in empathy the way we would have others respond in empathy to us when we share with them, we will see the power of The Golden Rule to cultivate small groups that are healthy, growing and flourishing.

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