James 3:17-18 (NIV)
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Sensitivity isn’t particularly admired in our culture and we are greatly (though sometimes unknowingly) influenced by that, even as Christians. We know we should be sensitive and yet… we could probably respect ourselves more if our particular personality leaned toward the “I am woman, hear me roar” side. Culture, after all, has pounded away at our thinking until we often don’t realize how influenced we have become.
I am reading RUN WITH THE HORSES….again. I have read it probably every couple of years since my first reading.
As I read this morning, you kept coming to mind, right along with me. But you, because I see your face at your kitchen table perhaps talking about how you are sensitive “to a fault”…and I can relate. It is probably a battle we will always fight. It is, after all, the way God created us. Those of us who are sensitive can become too sensitive, yes. I think it is important to point out, though, that sensitivity in a world that has become tragically desensitized… is a gift. Admittedly, it is sometimes a painful gift.
I was reading this morning about Jeremiah. He was a tenaciously brave prophet who was also sensitive and afraid and saw himself as inadequate. Being sensitive, the evil of the day tore him apart on the inside, as did the fear and dread of that evil.
God gave him two visions. The first vision was of the almond rod and represented “anticipation”. The beautiful almond blossoms that covered the trees every year, represented hope and anticipation of what was coming! The second vision was of the boiling pot and represented evil but also the fact that evil has God given limits.
The two visions represented the balance of sensitivity to God and others…along with the knowledge that evil is not going to consume…has limits and is being used by God. The two visions…the balance they represented…kept Jeremiah from either collapsing or building walls to shut down his sensitive nature. Eugene Peterson says it this way:
“Jeremiah was educated by the almond rod, his inward responsiveness to the personal, whether God or human, deepened and developed. Educated by the boiling pot, his outward capacity to deal with dehumanizing evil and to resist depersonalizing intimidation became invincible: ‘a fortified city, an iron pillar, bronze walls.’ Not bad for someone who started out as ‘only a youth.” (Page 56 of Run With The Horses)
Your sensitive nature is a blessing from God, dear one. It is that needed ingredient which will enable you to make a difference in the life of your family and then those in your extended sphere of influence.
In some ways, it will feel like a weakness….a hindrance….even too painful to keep. But our God has specifically designed us and He has created our weaknesses to display His strength over and over again. He has a specific balance in mind. To discard or build a wall against the way that God has created us, will strip us and those around us of the remarkable difference He intends that we should make.