Insensitive Sensitivity

Published on May 3rd, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Insensitive Sensitivity

Insensitive Sensitivity Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all.” Romans 12:17,18 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. I Thess 2:7 I could continue to list verses that speak the same language as these verses but I am limited on space. We, as Christians, need to work hard at being sensitive to the needs and issues of others so that we can be gentle and caring for others. I chose the verse from I Thessalonians because of the word picture that Paul painted. A nursing mother hears the cries of her baby and stops all that she is doing to willingly give of herself to meet the needs of her child. She is gentle and loving as she makes sure her baby is well fed and fulfilled. We need to be those kinds of ambassadors for Christ.

What I am struggling with is trying to be sensitive to others in today’s culture. I find that some of the shouts for sensitivity rub me as being insensitive. For instance: In Britain they are calling for the end of clapping because it is insensitive to deaf people. One school in New Hampshire wanted to ban the word “American” and replace it with “Citizen of the U.S.” because they thought it might offend those from South America. Teachers are being taught that if a child draws a nice picture you cannot call them an artist because it might offend the other children who do not have that gift. I would speak to the issue of what pronouns we are to use for each person but I have no idea which ones are acceptable today.

I really do not want to offend. I do not want to do something that would hurts someone and might hurt my chances of sharing the gospel with them. I do understand that what we say and how we communicate is a direct reflection of our hearts. The Bible teaches us that truth. But do we insult people when we tell them what they should be sensitive about? Are deaf people really offended or feel left out when a crowd is clapping? Does a crowd full of hearing people doing jazz hands instead of clapping show sensitivity or does it call more attention to those who cannot hear? Is that the kind of attention that people who are deaf want? I don’t know. But that is kind of the point. When people decide for others what they should be sensitive about and then try to persuade others to be sensitive also they make it more about themselves than about those they are trying to be sensitive to. (Wow, that is a sentence!) I am a little overweight (no comments from my friends. I can define “little” any way I want). If you tried to be sensitive toward me and did something to call more attention to my weight I would be more embarrassed than if you simply ignored the whole situation. If you really wanted to know what hurts me then you should spend more time with me, learn about what hurts me, and then encourage me to speak up for myself. If I cannot speak up for myself then maybe you can champion my cause but not before getting to know me. One other thing to keep in mind is that I do not speak for or represent all people who are overweight. Before you speak up for a group of people you should probably do more research.

Maybe we need to stop and check our hearts. Is our desire to be sensitive more about ourselves and our desire to feel as if we are doing good to others without really doing good? To tell you that I am being sensitive to you by not clapping or by not saying the word “American” without listening to you first makes my decision more about me than you. It is lazy. It is not being loving but it is simply the appearance of love and sensitivity. There is not substitute for real love. Real love listens and seeks the needs of others. Real love seeks to serve others as a nursing mother serves her child. We need to get to know each individual and then seek to speak to their hearts the love of God through our words and our actions. We need to stop making everything that surrounds us about us. People are not to be used to make us feel good and we are also not meant to demand that people make every one of their actions about us.

Living together is difficult. I often wish that Jesus was still living among us so that I could observe how he used pronouns, addressed some racial issues, or whether he used jazz hands or clapped. I am thankful that he left the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help us figure these things out. I know that the Gospel is offensive but I am praying that my actions never are.

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