Sensitivity /sensiˈtivitē/ – Noun: quality of having awareness or responsiveness to the feelings of others.
Care with our communications is becoming more and more crucial, as WWW brings these communications across the globe in nanoseconds, and all the world becomes one small interconnected global village. This category includes: a gentle art of nonviolent communication, stigma sensitivity, even to gender sensitivity in the use of language when referring to God. Communications sensitivity stretches beyond words, to music, art and iconography. Consider the differing significance of color or rhythm across different cultures.
Words Matter !
Anyone well versed in the Bible knows the power of words. After all, God spoke all creation into existence. Sensitivity with regard to language is extremely important to anyone who seriously holds the intent of going beyond “first, do no harm,” and being a healing presence. Both Rosalynn Carter, when referring to mental health issues, and the Riverside Church, when referring to people who have been in prison [article], ask that you please use the word ‘people’ rather than ‘prisoners’ or negative slang such as ‘crazy.’ Similar thought can be taken in general, with various words that slide easily into common use, and while it can be tiresome to be always vigilant, imagine the gratitude, when you notice and stop sending unintended pain someone’s way.
Subtle Body Language
Because there are many ways to convey attitude, it’s important to look to more than our words, when being truly sensitive about the message we convey. Backing slowly away from someone, averted eyes or a closed posture (folded arms), conveys discomfort, even if your words may be saying the opposite.
See our related post on Right Speech for further discussion.
What are WebDefs?
WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.