Sensitive In A Thick-Skinned Community

Lately, I have heard and seen some difficult situations and experiences in our young church gathering. Sometimes these experiences cause me to weep. When I preach God’s word, my voice begins to crack and crying follows. When I confront a friend, who is in sin and they respond in anger towards me, I feel as though my heart has fallen to my feet! I’m just a sensitive dude! I played three years as a collegiate quarterback at Alabama State University years ago and you would think that a rough sport like football would toughen anyone up! Well, I guess it just hasn’t worked.

 Can a brotha be honest with you? Sometimes I really hate being a sensitive dude. Being surrounded by a community (let alone a culture) that shuns sensitivity and celebrates toughness at any expense, can be quite a heavy burden to carry. The person who get’s upset to the point where he or she speaks whatever is on their mind, not worrying about others feelings, is the one who is respected the most. In our society we cherish those who “speak their mind” no matter what. Some will choose to kill you if you make them mad enough! So what does the world say about a person who speaks the truth but with consideration of the individual feelings? Here are some of the adjectives people use to describe someone who is “sensitive”:

Soft

Weak

Wimpy

Chump

Not Tough Enough

Passive

Who in their right mind would want to be labeled in this way? If you identify with these stones thrown at you (whether verbally or physical facial expressions), you have been tempted to fit it. And when we yield to those temptations and reject how “God has created you to be,” we sin against the Lord. Our sin says, “Lord, I hate how you made me. You have made a mistake in how you made me. Your creation of me isn’t good.” The sad reality is that we are rejecting how God has made us in our sensitivity.

I didn’t see this revelation until a longtime friend challenged me last week. He told me on the phone, “The Lord has made you a sensitive dude and that is a good thing. Zo, I sure wouldn’t want a pastor who isn’t considerate or compassionate, especially in a church plant. I confess Zo, I sometimes wish I had more sensitivity in many areas of my life. And the honest truth Zo is that everyone isn’t as tough as they portray themselves to be. The hardest and toughest dude you know will not tell you they cry themselves to sleep sometimes because of the difficulties of life. You need to praise the Lord in how He has made you Zo.”

Wow! That encouragement was so liberating and convicting at the same time. Liberating because I can glorify our Lord Jesus in the way He has made me. I don’t have to apologize or think something is wrong with me because He has given me a virtue in having compassion for others. Convicting because, I have been passing down this same logic of suppressing being sensitive to my son Alonzo, III. It’s sad when I think about it. My son is a sensitive dude too. He thinks for his sisters at home. He loves to help serve the family by taking out the trash, rearranging things around the house, and reaches out when someone is hurting. When I come home from work, he is the first one who runs up to me, grabs my heavy laptop bag, and takes it to the back so that I don’t have to walk all the way through the house. My temptation is to toughen him up in such a way as to squash his “sensitive side.” But what I’m seeing is yes, toughen him up, but not at the expense of doing away with the sensitivity the Lord Jesus has created him with.

Oh, what encouragement to my soul in knowing that my God in heaven has made me (and my son) with no mistakes when it comes to our personalities! When I walk in this truth, I can be filled with thanksgiving to God like David when he proclaimed in Psalms 139:14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

No longer will I view myself as someone who doesn’t measure up because my community or society shuns my personality! I will be who the Lord has made me to be with no apologies…and by doing this I will bring glory to God and help others.

Are you sensitive? Go ahead and embrace who Jesus has made you to be in a thick-skinned society. A good friend told me years ago, “One personality isn’t better than the other in the Lord’s eyes…they’re just different.”

Psalms 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

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2 Comments on “Sensitive In A Thick-Skinned Community”

  1. Win Johnson says:

    Alonzo, think how sensitive the Son of God must have been. Think how much sin he was capabel of seeing. Then think about how it must have stung Him to see the insensitivity of people to it. He had to live and walk amongst it, but He was always above it. That to me is a work of the Holy Spirit.

  2. Amen brotha…thank you Win for the encouragement! I just figured out I’m supposed to respond to your reply on blogs (ha)!


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