I'm sure you've all seen it circulating the internet in one form or another. Maybe a photo, a video with pictures of wistful silhouettes over instrumental music, perhaps? That it's okay to be sensitive. "Don't let the world make you hard", they say. "Don't listen to those telling you to toughen up." I've read every photoset and watched every video with my tongue between my teeth, willing myself to be silent. But you know what?
It's not okay to be sensitive.
I'm sorry if I seem sarcastic or abrasive. Like I said, this post has been a long time coming. And let me clarify: It's not okay to be the world's definition of sensitive. I am not saying our hearts should not mourn for the lost, or that our souls should not cry out for those in need. But friends, we are destroying ourselves and our community with this misplaced selfishness. Those videos and photos are enablers for the tearing apart of true community. It's not okay to be sensitive.
I am a sensitive person. I feel things deeply. I cry at animated movies even if they're not sad. I laugh at really stupid jokes. It hurts my heart to see the death toll in my state for DUIs. A long time ago, I used to condemn this and quickly throw up a calloused wall, closing off any emotion besides "happy! Everything is rainbows and sunshine and great!!!" With that many exclamation points every single time. I realized later that allowing myself to feel other emotions allowed for deeper, more real happiness. But that's another story. What I am saying is that sensitivity in this caliber is completely fine. The Lord created us with emotions! We can feel the extent of joy and pain and loss the same way He does! And that's amazing, it's a gift!
...But that's the danger of being "sensitive". Because I have seen far too many people label themselves as "sensitive" and use it to be able to be offended or hurt at anything that they don't like just a lil' bit. They wear it like a badge. One that lights up when you walk with a little screechy noise and a pinwheel, with rainbow letters that say "sensitive" all in capitals. "You hurt my feelings," they will say, or, "that was offensive, what you did there."
Do people say offensive things? You betcha. Do people sometimes hurt my feelings? Heck yeah. But here's the thing: As a Christian, I specifically cannot get offended about it.
Oof. Why do we forget that so often? Ecclesiastes says "Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others"(7:21-22).
I have thought so many hateful thoughts or had so many judgmental attitudes in my life that, not even counting the times I have actually spoken it aloud, it would probably be the longest book in existence. I'm betting you have, too. And after all those terrible things we've thought, we have the audacity to condemn someone else for doing the same thing? The very thing we have to go to our knees for and beg for forgiveness daily? We think we have the right to take offense when, in the same thought, we judge that person for what they are doing or saying. We're no better. We have no right to be offended.
So be sensitive. Let the tragedy of the world wound you. But do not harbor anger towards your fellow man. Because that's all offense is. It's not righteous, it's sinful. Next time you're tempted to defend your hurt feelings by saying "I'm sensitive", check yourself first. Remove the plank from your eye. And suddenly, that speck in theirs won't really matter anymore.