I'm in the south and recently went on a "church tour" with my wife. We found our fair share of hellfire and brimstone evangelicals, but we were also pleased to find a strong counter culture of small and actually loving churches.
In that tour, I really started to believe that the sin of man was in the fact that we only have half of what it takes to be gods. We ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but we don't have the immortality required to put good and evil into context.
To me, that defines the center of Christian love - we all have our own beliefs, our own habits, and our own lives, and we all want to weigh the world on the scale of good and bad. The good Christians that I know can see the limitations of their judgement, put little stock in it, and can lean into being in a community with people who are different.
This is the value of empathy to me. It's not the distanced condolences of sympathy, but an earnest desire to understand the feelings of a person whose life you haven't lived, but which rhymes very neatly with your own. Empathy is not the enemy, it's the belief that you wield god's judgement of a person's value.