“Be sensitive please!!!” I want to scream that sometimes to people. I really do. Nothing can get a rise out of me more than when someone is not sensitive to someone else’s feelings.
Seriously, I could melt steel. It is a true test for me to “IN MY ANGER DO NOT SIN!” I have decided to journal about it. It is a way I can have a voice!!! I realize that I can be as guilty as anyone of being insensitive, even though I will say, I WORK AT NOT BEING INSENSITIVE. I ask God all the time to help me in this area.
Scripture says in Proverbs 25:20, “Whoever sings songs to a HEAVY HEART is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” You might stop and say who would intentionally sing a song to a heavy heart??? Well it happens all the time and people just don’t realize it. Some people know someone’s heart is heavy and, out of not knowing what to say or being nervous, they “make light” of the situation……NOT!! NOT!! NOT!! Do not do that, no matter how trivial it might seem to you……
I want to share a couple of examples with you. I learned the “insensitivity” lesson many years ago, first-hand, from my own pain. The one thing I can tell you is that I, too, wasn’t mindful of my comments to someone else’s pain until, “I wore the shoes!” Things people said during those first few months after Thomas was diagnosed, unintentionally painful, and it cut me to the core. I now see they were well-meaning but, at the time, it was like they were “stabbing my heart” with a butcher knife with jagged edges that did as much damage going in as it did when they pulled it out. I know that is a graphic description of the pain but bear with me. I believe there is a lesson to be learned here. Glad to share it now that I have worked through it myself.
For the first several months after Thomas was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was devastated in so many ways. Life changed for Thomas, for me and for our whole family forever. Type 1 is not an immediate death sentence but it is a “chronic disease” that is life-altering and DEVASTATING!! For weeks I was in such emotional pain and fatigue. I cannot tell you how many times I heard: “Be thankful!!” “Be thankful it is not cancer!” “BE thankful he is alive!” “Be thankful…… If I didn’t hear it 20 times, I heard some form of it 200 times. Let me say, it hurt so bad!!! Be Thankful???????????? I was just trying not to cry all the time!! I was scared. I was hurt. I was in shock. I was sad. And well-meaning Christian people said, “Be thankful at least it’s not cancer!” Let me just tell anyone who will read or share this post……THAT IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG THING TO SAY. IN FACT IT HURTS.
Another example………Just the other day, I was with a mom and her teenage daughter. The daughter was dealing with a broken heart,(rejection). Devastated. Now, if you are an adult, you know what that can be like, especially if you are female and…even more if you have a daughter. Most should have a “helicopter view” based on experience, knowing things get better in time. Sometimes it takes a while. Heartbreak at any age can be “earth shattering”. With this girl, it only took a matter of minutes before this poor sweet broken-hearted girl got taken out at the knees with comments from good-intentioned adults. Comments like: “Oh, you’ll be fine! Just give it time!” Or, “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” Well-meaning stories of their own daughter’s broken heart, going into detail about how the daughter has a wonderful boyfriend “now”. While these comments may have been true, they were comments that were like “putting a band-aid on a gaping, gushing wound”. None of these comments were at all healing at the moment. In fact, watching from the sidelines, it almost seemed they were making “light” of the situation. SERIOUSLY, I don’t think I could come up with a kind way to say how upset I was by the whole situation. It was by the grace of God, and God only, that I didn’t say anything. As soon as the women walked away, the girl burst into tears. Wow, you could just see it coming. The adults walked away thinking they had actually helped!!!! I really believe in my heart, out of being older and the mindset of “been there done that,” we can be almost prideful or not compassionate at times to the “here and now.”
When people are hurting, especially if it is a fresh hurt, be careful not to bring a “quick, silver-lining statement!!” Please don’t do it!! Or please, if you have never experienced what they are experiencing, DO NOT SAY, “I know how you feel!!!” ‘Cause, guess what? If you haven’t walked in their exact shoes, “YOU DON’T KNOW!!!” If you have walked a harder road or it appears to have been a harder road, it is not the time to elaborate on your story and how you made it through. Seriously, people who are in the throws of deep pain (doesn’t matter if you feel what they are feeling or not), they are not so much looking for a ton of words. They are looking for, “I am so sorry. I know you are hurting!” Acknowledge their pain. YOU might say, “I love you and I will just sit here with you!” A hug, a touch, even a tear from you is better than a ton of words when you have no idea if they can even comprehend it at that moment. You don’t have to have experienced their pain to be sensitive.
Even if the pain seems trivial, don’t discount someone’s pain. If it is a young person, remember it is a part of growing up. Kids, no matter the age or source of their pain, need to have their feelings validated and not swept under the rug or discounted because they are young. Kids learn from us how to treat people with and who are in pain. WE need to WAKE UP. Even if we haven’t been treated fairly in our pain, learn from it and be a better example.
There is so much pain and suffering in our world. Everyone of us at some time in our lives deals with pain or knows someone who is in pain, physical or emotional. It is a part of life that needs more attention. When it is our turn to face something, we need to know that there is someone who will just listen. And ONLY say something if the Lord leads them to share.
PAY ATTENTION to your words and actions! IF you are an adult, it is very important for you to model how to show compassion for someone who is in pain. I have learned to ask God to help me stop and think about what I would say to someone that would be most beneficial. Remember when someone is in pain, it is NOT ABOUT YOU! IT IS ABOUT THEM!
REMEMBER PROVERS 25:11, “LIKE APPLES OF GOLD IN SETTINGS OF SILVER IS A WORD APTLY SPOKEN!