Understanding others is everyone’s business. The parent wants to understand his child; the teacher, his students; the doctor, his patients; the pastor, his congregation; the lawyer, his clients; the executive, his employees; the politician, his constituents; the novelist, his characters; the husband, his wife.
Our ancestors saw few people and had simpler problems in their human relationships. We, by contrast, are becoming part of a complex world-society of billions. More and more, we spend our days with others and must face the problems created by being with others.
The idea of sensitivity can help Christians understand their obligations to the living God and to their fellow men. Christians have a responsibility to be sensitive, to try to perceive and respond to a variety of stimuli. They should be sensitive to people, to human need, to sin, and to the divine will. These are stimuli that demand a Christian response.
First, Christians need to be sensitive to people, and this requires high motivation to understand others and an openness to new experiences with them. Christ commanded that his followers love their neighbors, and understanding is a big part of living. A teen-ager may respond to a quarrel with his parents by saying: “They don’t love me.” He feels unloved because he feels misunderstood. Parents may feel their children do not love them if the children fail to understand the importance of what the parents are trying to communicate to them.
To be sensitive to people, we must be open to experiences with people. Much of our failure to understand our children, our spouses, or our colleagues comes from a failure to be open. Sometimes we are not open because we simply are not physically available. Many parents fail to understand ...1
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