Insensitivity, Part One

My kids pulled a fast one on me one Christmas years ago. They teamed up, pooled their vast financial resources, and bought me a little motto to set on my desk. It was more than cute . . . it was convicting. In bold, black letters it read:

DIETS ARE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE THICK AND TIRED OF IT

At first you thmile . . . then it makes you thad. Especially if you're not thick of being thick!

There's another thickness that's just as bad. We could call it an "inner thickness." I'm referring to insensitivity . . . being unaware, out of touch, lacking in insight, failing to pay attention. The Hebrew Scriptures occasionally mention those who are foolish and simple, as in the book of Proverbs (1:22-33). The original term means "thick, dull, sluggish." It's the picture of mental dullness, one who is virtually blind toward others . . . failing to feel others' feelings, think others' thoughts, sense others' needs.

Professional insensitivity is painfully common. To some physicians you're case number twenty-three today . . . a body, weighing so much . . . a mouth, saying words . . . a gall bladder needing removal.

And how about insensitive teachers or speakers? Talk about painful! A block of information is dumped into your ears from their mouths. Whether it's interesting or well thought through is unimportant. The whole episode is about as memorable as changing a flat.

And have you come across an insensitive salesperson lately? You can feel the thickness. Your exasperation leads to gross impatience . . . and then, finally, confusion. You're not sure if the individual understands only Swahili . . . or is recovering from advanced lockjaw.

Perhaps the most tragic shades of insensitivity occur in the home. Between mates, to begin with. Needs in the heart of a wife long to be discovered by her husband. She hides them until an appropriate moment . . . but it never arrives. He's "too busy." What cursed words! "Other things are more important." Oh, really? Name one.

A husband wrestles with a matter down deep . . . in the "combat zone" of his mind. Lacking perception, the preoccupied wife drives on—never pausing, never looking into his eyes, his soul-gate, reading the signs that spell

I A-M H-U-R-T-I-N-G.

Insensitivity is painful. It's damaging to our relationships, and it grieves our God.

To be thick is understandable. To be thick and tired of it is commendable. To be thick and tired of it but unwilling to change—is inexcusable.

Insensitivity damages relationships. Sense others’ needs and respond with grace.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at www.insight.org.

When I Lay My Isaac Down