Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. —Ezekiel 3:15
The experiences of life play a big part in shaping who we are—your upbringing… your education… your friends… your sufferings. The things you go through in life have a profound effect on you. They may harden you, or soften you / embitter you (Job), or strengthen you (Paul).
It is hard to help someone when you’ve not experienced what they are going through. If I’m having a problem, I’d want to be with someone who has already been through the same thing.
When you have gone through a certain trial, you can be “touched” when someone else is going through the same things. You’ve been there. You’ve sat where they sit.
Have you experienced God’s mercy? Then you should be merciful to others.
Has God been kind and gracious to you? Then you should be kind and gracious to others.
Has God forgiven your sins? They you should forgive others who have sinned against you.
As Jesus said, “Freely you have received. Freely give.”
We should treat the lost with compassion because we were once lost ourselves. We know what it’s like to be lost. As God told His people, “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Dt. 10:19). Paul reminded the Corinthians, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed” (2 Cor. 6:11).
When facing death, I want someone who has already gone through it! Jesus will go with me through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23), because He’s already been there and back again (Heb. 2:9)! But if you are not saved, you’ll go through death alone.