PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Pity, Empathy and Sincerity

In a high-impact court case I know well, good people have experienced significant blunders from both law-enforcement and legal professionals. I once told the distraught mother that judges, lawyers and police can’t get personal. Not getting personal however, is no reason to not be sincere. You can’t be sincere without being empathetic. That is where authorities often become agents of a disconnected system.

I recently watched “Into Thin Air” based on the Eric Wilson murder in Colorado in July of 1978. Though names (the movie name of the victim was “Brian Walker”) and other details were altered some, the film accurately depicts the victim family’s agony, navigating jurisdictional and systematic complexities that lacked empathetic sincerity.

Authorities involved in that case cared, but few took it sincerely. Sincerity was too much work. The movie is a remarkable story of a victim’s family diligence for justice. Even after the movie was made (1985), the broken system continued. In 1992, one victim family survivor decided to randomly check with the prison on the killer. He discovered by way of his random call that the killer had been moved up in the system for an early release.

That movie should be required watching for anyone going into law-enforcement or becoming a judge or attorney.

I further encourage church security teams to have a popcorn night at a team member’s home and watch it together. Then have a discussion afterwards on caring for victims as Christ would have us to.


Think About it…

True sincerity is empathetic; effective, while not a pity party.

I knew a church security director who would not make a police report if someone had money stolen from their church office. In his mind, that was due consequence of their stupidity for leaving money in their desk. He needed to reset his empathy sensor. In his journey, sincerity had eroded to cynicism.

If possible, let there be no victims on your watch. If there are, deal with the evil swiftly but remain true to the sheep of your calling. I count no less than 45 times sheep (or lambs) are mentioned in the gospels. Never were they disrespected or discounted. Christ himself is recognized as the lamb.

Serve them seriously, with excellence. Not as though you are better than them; you’re not.

Victims need sincerity, not pity. Pity is useless. Empathetic sincerity is effectual and right.

Leave a comment