Moses Maimonides, a physician and rabbi who lived in the twelfth century, worked in the court of the sultan of Cairo by day and cared for the destitute of that city by night. He began each day with the following prayer:
Deem me worthy of seeing, In the sufferer
Who seeks my advice,
Neither rich nor poor, Friend nor foe,
Good nor evil.
Show me only the person.
Seeing in the sufferer only the person in need is not only a manifestation of our faith in action, but also a lead-by-example command of God (see Matt 20:28 or Gal 5:13-14 for starters). When each of us begins to see the person, not only the sufferer, we become aware of our own brokenness in humanity. This gives us solidarity with them, with each other. Solidarity helps us see that "we" are not separate from "them" and with that illumination, we can know our own condition and empathize with what is "other". Isn't that what being a Christian is about?