Have you ever been insensitive to others? I certainly have, and I’m so disappointed in myself each time I realize what I’ve done.
It’s never intentional but it does happen from time to time, and I’ve been thinking about why lately. Why am I capable of something like insensitivity to others?
For me, it always comes back to time and space. When I fail to slow down and truly listen to the other person, I’m more likely to miss the nuances of what’s being said.
When I’m busy trying to give my opinion on how to handle the situation or solve the problem instead of working to truly understand what he or she is shouldering, then I’m not allowing the person to work through the issue and process it all.
Instead, I’m likely shutting down the conversation because it’s only me talking at the person rather than the two of us having a conversation.
Silently asking for help
How about those times a friend or family member needs help but is so overwhelmed that he or she doesn’t even know how to ask for help?
Are we observant enough to notice? Are we bold enough to ask how we can help? Or better yet, are we able to show up with the help needed and gently move the person forward?
The past two weeks have allowed us opportunities to remember difficult moments in our history — the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001) and the 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing (Sept. 15, 1963).
Both are somber, difficult memories and provide opportunities to be sensitive as our nation remembers.
September also marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Our family knows all too well the path of childhood cancer and what it steals from you.
Our team at The Alabama Baptist has had a special opportunity to care for a sweet, young family new to the childhood cancer journey.
We’ve been able to be sensitive to their needs and attempt to help where we can, pray for them often and share with others who are willing to assist.
None of us can do it all, nor can we help everyone around us who needs support, encouragement or guidance.
Each of us can do something, however.
While we all will have days where we miss moments to be fully present for others, we can continually work to keep enough margin in our lives to be more observant.
And we certainly can remember two important items:
- Our opinions and preferences are not necessarily the only right options available.
- We may not truly understand the full story of others and should err on the side of being sensitive rather than immediately telling them what they should do or how they should feel.
Are you or is someone close to you considered homebound?
What are ways your church family could minister to you more?
Ever get the sense that those in the homebound community might be suffering from the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy?
It’s definitely not true in many cases across the state, but it does happen in some situations.
We are confident no church leader or church member would intend for the homebound members of their congregation to feel left out or isolated.
However, it can happen over time as the pull of church activities and general life responsibilities crowd out schedules and energy.
I compare it to our extended families. We may love and care dearly for our aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and so forth, but over time we sometimes drift apart.
Family reunions, holiday gatherings, weddings and funerals provide opportunities to catch up, but communication outside of those special events may be minimal.
For our homebound church members, those days of minimal contact can get pretty long.
What are ways your church stays connected? What are ways we could do better?
Please send your comments to:
The Alabama Baptist
3310 Independence Drive
Birmingham, AL 35209
or email firstname.lastname@example.org