31st July 2013

Sense and Sensibility

“A gentle answer turns away wrath…”
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

‘Sense’ – according to the Oxford Dictionary, the first definition states ‘any of the special bodily faculties by which sensation is roused.’  Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – these are the five senses which give us our first perceptions. 

‘Sensibility’ – again according to the Oxford Dictionary the first definition states ‘the capacity to feel’.

Jane Austen the great classical author chose these words to entitle one of her famous books – ‘Sense and Sensibility’.  She ascribes the two nouns to two sisters and their approach to life.  Austen’s work has justifiably been acclaimed worldwide.  Embedded in her novels is a sensitivity to the feelings of the main characters.  Her gift was to express these moods and temperaments in the finest English, and thus enrich the lives of readers.

Forgive my audacity; I would like to consider how ‘Sense and Sensitivity’ have an impact on our spiritual lives.  The senses form part of who we are—they are there developing at our conception.  I suggest that ‘sensitivity’ reveals who we are as Christians. 

God, the Creator of all is the best example of sensitivity.  Note how the God of sound and power speaks in the middle of the night to a child. In 1 Samuel 3:7 we see that Samuel, though assisting Eli in the temple, did not understand about God.  Four times God spoke gently, softly and kindly to the child.  In words that young Samuel could understand, the God of the Universe spoke of His plans for Israel (verse 11).

Another example of God’s sensitivity is the account in 1 Kings 19 of how God dealt with Elijah.  The prophet had come almost to the end of the line.  Broken in mind, body and spirit, he told God to leave him to die, as he was no better than his ancestors (verse 4).  Did God erase Elijah for his self-pity?  The great omnipotent One gave Elijah rest and sustenance.  Later God spoke to Him, first demonstrating His power, and then in a “gentle whisper” (verse 12). 

Within God’s love for us is His sensitivity toward us.  Do you think we should reflect this sensitivity when dealing with fellow human beings?  The old adage ‘think before you speak’ seems to apply.  How often have we been hurt by a sharp retort or indeed have ourselves wounded someone by our lack of sensitivity, by lack of thought.

Let’s use our sense and ask God to help us become more sensitive when dealing with others.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give us the soft answers that edify the soul of others. (Proverbs.15:1).

Mighty wonderful Father – you who love us with amazing greatness and incredible compassion.  Help us to heal instead of hurt when we deal with our fellow man.  Only by your power can we do this. Thank you great God for your immense depth of love for us.

Study by Irene Wilson


irenewilsonAbout the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone:  01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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