What does it mean to be insensitive?

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
How tragic to be insensitive to the needs, hurts, desires, dreams, plans, goals, and feelings of people all around us.(Deuteronomy 29:2-6).
Have you ever spent any considerable amount of time thinking about the word “insensitive?” Do you have any interest in discerning whether or not you might be exhibiting insensitive qualities in your daily walk? Do you care if you are insensitive to family, friends, coworkers, or even strangers?

Having witnessed or read about three different instances of rude behavior in the past two days, this subject was prominent in my mind. I decided that just perhaps the Lord wanted me to write about them.

The one that started the ball rolling happened at church. Immediately, we might think that is the last place on earth insensitivity should happen, and we’d be right.

But, we must remember that our churches are filled with sinners saved by grace, and sometimes we forget Who we are representing and that we should be kind. We get in a hurry, our plates are overloaded, we think our ideas and our area of ministry are the most important, and we become insensitive.

I had personally received a negative health report on Friday, and because it is quite serious, my family and friends were just hearing the news and wanted to know more or offer me comfort. Those actions are good and are sensitive to others.

After the church service was over, two of my best friends had come to the pew where I was sitting and were asking questions. I was showing them on my phone the photos the doctor had given me. It was not a conversation I was prepared to share with strangers.

A very active member of the church that sets herself aside as a spiritual leader walked up behind our little group and immediately began chattering away. “Oh, let’s do lunch one day next week,” she said to one of my friends. “Give me your phone number.” Clearly, the three of us were uncomfortable with her interruption and she was certainly insensitive in her approach and continued chatter.

We were literally discussing in as quiet a manner as possible a life and death matter while she was babbling about things that certainly don’t matter much. Our subdued silence should have given her a clue, but it did not.

Lest you think I am being insensitive to her actions, let me quickly add that this is a pattern with her. She interrupts many conversations and always tends to push her view, her need, her idea, or her request ahead of everyone else’s. She is insensitive to the needs of others.

The second thing that drew me to this thought came by reading social media posts. I do have many friends from my years in the world of newspapers and writing. Most of them are very nice people, but I sometimes wonder if they think about what they write.

A young lady posted that a man had been bitten by a shark while launching his boat in the Gulf on the Bolivar Peninsula. She also posted a photograph of his injury. While about half of the 141 responses I read were positive, kind, and helpful, the other half were rude, biased, and at best, insensitive.

Some of the very negative ones called her a liar, others said it couldn’t have been a shark, even though the injured man saw what bit him. Others blamed it on the fish tattoo the man had on his calf, and some ignorant folks denied we even have sharks in our area.

Mind you, these insensitive comments were coming from armchair quarterbacks that were miles away and many had never fished on Bolivar. God help us to hold our tongues and our keyboards.

The third illustration that the Lord brought to mind came through a good family. Apparently the teen girl had done something to displease the dad. I certainly believe in discipline, but in private and not in view of the public. I felt his display of anger was insensitive to his child.

Perhaps these thoughts will help us to remember to be kind in thought and deed and not be insensitive to the feelings of others. May God help us to think before we speak or write.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788, or
[email protected]


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