Monday, May 27, 2013

Knowledge and Empathy

Not long ago I watched a cable documentary on the interrogation by CIA agents of Al Quaida suspects.  This program outlined the intricate and detailed methods that have been put in place to break Al Quiada suspects down, to get information from them, to derive intel, to bring them to their knees.  These suspects had all been guilty of killing innocent people for the purpose of their dastardly cause.  It was a harrowing documentary.  However, one line in the documentary stuck out to me, and has remained with me ever since.  This CIA interviewer said that the two most important aspects to bring into a CIA interrogation of an adversarial suspect are:

Knowledge and Empathy

I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard it.  You mean that power and domination are not the keys to breaking suspects down?  You mean that cruelty and hate are not the two most important behavioral characteristics?  Really?  These two characteristics could apply to a good Sunday school lesson....

Knowledge and Empathy?

This show went on to illustrate how Knowledge was a critical piece to interrogation.  A person needs to understand all of the facts of a suspect, and that person's background, and that person's crime before going in to interrogate them.  That is obvious.  However, less obvious was the fact that Empathy was critical to helping a suspect to change or be reformed.  If an interrogator went into a questioning room with animus or anger or venom or hatred, the entire interview would  backfire.  A CIA  interviewer needed to demonstrate empathy, compassion, heart-felt connection, dare I!

Jesus told us the same thing.  Love is the greatest power in the universe.  "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind," Jesus reminded us, and "Love your neighbor as yourself."  This, Jesus told us was  and is the greatest commandment of all time.  This embellishment of the SHEMA (Hear oh Israel) wasn't the most warm and fuzzy notion of all time, it was and is the most powerful.  The apostle Paul reiterates this same truth in the book of Corinthians, "And now those three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:13).

A lot of times we humans feel that in order to better someone else we need to be meaner than them, harder than them, tougher than them, more acerbic than them, more cunning more dastardly.  However, quite the opposite is the truth.  What is really needed of us is that we become more loving than our adversaries or our opponents.  The one who loves more, wins.  The one who loves more...WINS

That's the story of the cross.  The one who loves more wins!!!

All For Now,

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