Being Sensitive toward Others


A man who worked among inner city lepers in India visited our Sunday School class this past Sunday. He shared that leprosy damages the nerves so that an individual cannot feel. A leper could have his hand in a fire and not feel the searing pain that serves as a warning to pull it out.

Our guest speaker said the human nerves are so sensitive that we could take one of our hands and put one finger in water, one on glass, one against metal, one on fabric, and one on grass, and our nerves would be able to send those different sensations to the brain to interpret them. The problem today, he said, is that many of us, like the lepers, have lost our sensitivity. We go about our lives desensitized to the promptings of what others might need. We’ve become spiritual and emotional lepers.

He went on to share how Jesus showed great sensitivity to those around Him. He encouraged us that with the help of the Holy Spirit, we could do the same. His message urges all of us to:

Know how others feel

Only God can see the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). He knows the depths of others’ feelings and experiences. He can show us how people feel and why they are acting a certain way. He can give us profound insight through His Holy Spirit. Solomon knew that truth, which is why he asked the Lord to give him an understanding heart when it came to his people (1 Kings 3:9). He was considered the wisest of kings, and he knew true wisdom came from the Lord.

We can pray for “all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9, NASB), and we are told “the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7, NASB). People are complex, but the Lord can help us understand their feelings in the same way the brain interprets impulses from the fingertips. We must rely on the Lord for this kind of sensitivity.

Determine what others need

Have you ever been in the place where you wanted to help someone but didn’t know what to do? The Lord can help there as well. He knows precisely what actions are needed on behalf of others. He will tell us what to do on their behalf if we ask Him.

The Lord is intimately acquainted with each person on earth because He created them (Psalm 139:3, 13-14). He sculpted their bodies and souls, so He knows what they need moment by moment. His wisdom and understanding can lead us to do the right thing on behalf of others “in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13, NASB).

The Lord promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go [in what you should do]; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8, NASB). We just need to ask Him what to do as we become sensitive to someone who is hurting.

Represent Jesus in our encounters

Our Sunday School guest speaker encouraged us to ask with every encounter, “Lord, how can I show this person Jesus?” “How can I be His hands, His feet, His voice, His heart?” “What aspect of Jesus do they need to know?” Those questions change the way we view interruptions and interactions with others. Those questions help us see our chance meetings with others as divine appointments.

The Lord will advise us and equip us to be sensitive and responsive in this area as well, especially if we make it the priority of our lives. In the end, the greatest need and the deepest longing in every heart can only be filled by Jesus. May we all be sensitive in interpreting the impulses that draw others to Him!

Question: How did someone’s sensitivity toward you teach you something about Jesus? Comment at the link below.

Susan Jane King

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