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Overly sensitive October 29, 2010

Posted by daniel ayad in Behaviour, Biblical.
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Many people seem to react overly sensitively to insults. Many people have come to learn this through unmemorable experiences. I think you would be surprised at the lasting effects a comment can have on an oversensitive person. You might be asking why some people are overly sensitive. Is a Christian allowed to be oversensitive? And in this all can the oversensitive person change?

First of all I do not accept that Christians should be oversensitive. The history of Christianity and the biblical basis itself does not in any way indicate that Christians should be oversensitive.

Christianity is a religion of strength. The gentleness and humility that Christianity calls for are no indication that it is a religion of weakness, but it is a religion of power. The bible describes the faithful as, “sharp arrows of the warrior.” (Ps 120:4). And about the church the bible says that it is, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as the army with banners.” (Song 6:10).

There are many verses that show strength in Christianity, but perhaps a clear example is St Paul. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). St Paul suffered constant rebuke, disapproval, blame, discredit and disgrace. Yet he was not overcome by this because he was strong in the Lord.

Imagine if Daniel’s friends (Shadrach, Meschach, Abed-Nego) were oversensitive to the king’s request to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image or else they would be cast in the burning fiery furnace. They said “if that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king” (Dan 3:17). They sound more like strong firm Christians, rather than weak oversensitive men. 

Most definitely Christ was not oversensitive. He did not withhold criticism when criticism needed to be given. He rebuked groups when He needed to rebuke for their benefit. He was not a shy, cowardly man, but showed firmness, assertiveness, and strength. If Christ was oversensitive to people’s insults He would have stopped His mission from day one, as nobody received as many insults as Jesus Christ.

What about the power that led the apostles to preach? “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me” (Act 1:8). It is power, in spite of obstacles as the Lord said to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent for I am with you and no one will attack you to hurt you” (Act 18:9-10).

St Paul reinforces the concept “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Gal 1:10). Surely the apostles were not oversensitive to people’s insults and criticisms; otherwise they would have stopped short of their mission.

Imagine if the martyrs became too emotional and sensitive, prioritising man over Christ? Certainly their mission would have been hindered.

So why are some people oversensitive, and can these people change?

We will briefly attempt to answer this.

I think there are two key reasons as to why some people are overly sensitive. First, some people have low self-esteem in life. This could be due focusing on and magnifying their perceived shortcomings, while ignoring their strengths and achievements. These people have completely blown reality out of proportion. 

The other reason is pride. These people think that the world revolves around them. They will get upset from trivial, minuscule matters. How dare you say this about me? You really hurt me? I will never forgive you for what you said? I don’t want to go further, but until oversensitive people realise that the world is not about them (it’s about God!), they may never change.

May God help us to overcome oversensitivity….

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