Reese Cup Oats

Empathy & Reese Cup Oats

Romans 12:15 (nirv)

Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad.


We live in a world that’s full of division. Division of race, political parties, genders, tax brackets… everywhere you look, you’ll find a world that’s divided. I’m no psychologist, and I don’t know much about human behaviors, but I truly believe that the majority of that division is caused by a lack of empathy. I was taught never to use Wikipedia as a source, but their definition of empathy is too good not to share: “Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”

This verse that Paul shares with us is God’s command to practice empathy, which isn’t always an easy task. Fortunately, God provides instructions, and when you read them, it makes offering empathy a lot easier. “Be joyful with someone who’s joyful, and be sad with someone who’s sad.” That’s pretty black and white, isn’t it?

What this verse doesn’t do is give us stipulations. It doesn’t command us to be joyful as long as we don’t feel insecure. It doesn’t tell us to teach and lecture those who are sad. It simply instructs us to practice empathy. That’s because God knows that relationship is built on understanding and love.

Last week, we looked at the story of Lazarus’ death in John 11. Even though Jesus knew He was going to personally raise Lazarus back to life, He cried with the family. He doesn’t lecture them or question their faith, He just shares in their sadness.

Unlike Jesus, there are many times I have chosen to engage in anger, frustration, envy, and judgement in the face of someone else’s joy and sadness. When we were in the middle of infertility treatments and it felt like everyone around me was posting a pregnancy announcement, I did not share in their joy. When I’m driving around, enjoying the sunshine with my windows down and a homeless man approaches my car, I don’t share in his sadness.

But God works in our hearts and our lives, and our ability to empathize is often a result of our experiences. God works, and we grow. I think what Paul is telling us here in scripture is that when we can, God asks us to turn our attention and focus outward instead of looking inward. And when we can’t, God will provide us with the people need to share in our joys and our sufferings.

We won’t always agree. God designed each of us with unique characteristics, and while our differences can cause division, they can also aid in unity. If we were all sad over the same things, who would sit with us? If we were all joyful about the same things, who would take action toward change? The problem is not and will never be a difference of opinion, but instead, a lack of empathy. It won’t be easy, but let’s take God’s command from this scripture today and put it into action.


Can you think of a time where someone offered you empathy? How did it make a difference in what you were experiencing? Can you see the benefit of being able to give that same gift to someone else in a time when they need it?


For empathy, unity, and peace in the world.

Reese Cup Oats

1 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

6 minTotal Time

Serves 1

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  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon powdered peanut butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Heat water in a saucepan over high heat
  2. Once boiling, add oats and cinnamon and reduce to medium heat
  3. Cook until all water has been absorbed
  4. Add vanilla extract, maple syrup, powdered peanut butter, and cocoa powder to oats
  5. Stir until mix; add 1 teaspoon of water or almond milk at a time if necessary, until you reach desired consistency
  6. Top with dark chocolate chips (optional)

Tips & Tools

I love easy recipes, and this one is about as easy as they come. It will take you less than 10 minutes from pulling the first ingredient out of your pantry to putting the first spoonful in your mouth! And if you’re pressed for time, you can make this recipe in the microwave as well. You’ll simply add the water and oats to a bowl, microwave for about 3 minutes, then follow the rest of the recipe instructions.

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