Wisdom Walks a Fine Line

“You’re way too sensitive!”

“You take things way to seriously!”

“You need to toughen up!”

“You are overreacting again!”

“Why can’t you take a joke?”

“You need to stop being so touchy!”

“You shouldn’t feel that way!”

“How am I supposed to “correct” you if you are so defensive?”

If you have a sensitive nature, I would venture that you’ve heard one, or all, of the above spoken to you. I sure have, throughout my life, frequently, and even recently. Sensitive people get a bad rap, we are a misunderstood lot. Sensitive people are seen as being weak in nature. We are certainly not seen as being able to accept criticism from anyone whether they be older or younger than ourselves. But most of all, sensitive people are not acknowledged as being wise. 

Before we examine the wisdom portion of this posting, let’s tackle the sensitivity discussion first. When others approach an sensitive person to impart their opinion or “wisdom,” they need to examine their motives. Are they really trying to build up the sensitive person, or are they trying to manipulate them? Sensitive people tend to be pretty intuitive, and they usually can tell when someone else’s motives are not of good intentions, especially if they have a history with the other person. If you approach another with the sincere attitude of offering help, then how you approach them makes all the difference – especially if they are a sensitive person. Approach another person rudely or with hostility and I believe that you are not displaying wisdom at all. 

Based upon my experience, motivation is key. I contend that there’s a fine line between criticism and attack. There’s a fine line between wisdom and being a know-it-all. There’s a fine line between advising and bossing. There’s a fine line between suggesting and insisting. There’s a fine line between joking and ridicule. There’s a fine line between lecturing and judging. 

No one that I know, needs, or wants, a know-it-all speaking and directing their lives. No one needs someone who is not walking in wisdom themselves to be imparting their “wisdom” into other’s lives. No one needs someone who is totally clueless as to the truth of another’s situation pushing their viewpoint. No one needs someone who has a holier-than-thou attitude, forcing their opinions on others. No one needs to be offering advice when it is not asked for. No one needs another person telling them that their feelings are not valid. 

It takes an enormous amount of wisdom to speak into the lives of others without crossing the line. And, I think that kind of wisdom is seldom seen in our world. To me, wisdom that is not spoken in love and kindness, is not wisdom at all. If we cannot be kind and thoughtful to others, then we are not displaying wise behavior, we are not displaying Christ-like behavior. Paul said it best when he said “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV)

I too have been thoughtless and delivered my “wisdom” and my “understanding” towards others when I have not taken the time to really understand their situation or predicament. I too can easily make judgements about the motives of others based upon what I observe. And, being that I am a sensitive person, I, of all people, should recognize that how I want others to approach and treat me, should be exactly the same way I should approach them. If I want others to deal with me, and my sensitive nature in wisdom, kindness, and love, then I also need to display the same behavior towards others when I don’t understand. I need to display the same grace to others that I want them to extend to me. I need to display God’s likeness in my actions. 

I know that I cannot shape myself to be more like the Lord, if I am not in constant communication with Him. I cannot grow if I don’t listen for the still, strong voice of the Holy Spirit within me. I cannot increase in His love and wisdom, without walking with Him each and every day. God is love, God is wise. And, God wants to impart His love and wisdom on me, so that I in turn can direct it onto others. That’s the kind of wisdom that I want, and that’s what I want to be most sensitive to. 

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” (Proverbs 2:6, ESV)
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,” (Philippians 1:9, ESV)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)

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