the weblog of Alan Knox

Do we have to care about how people feel or react?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in blog links | 2 comments

Do we have to care about how people feel or react?

If you’ve read this blog for only a short time, you’ve probably surmised that I enjoy questions that do not have easy answers. For one thing, I’m not opposed to answering, “I don’t know.” For another thing, I’m not opposed to answering, “Maybe” or “Sometimes.”

These kinds of questions remind me that I am not dependent on my own answers or understanding, but instead I must remain completely dependent on God working through me and others through his Holy Spirit. (This kinda goes along with my post “Sometimes I can’t stand that guy Jesus.”)

I think that Miguel from “God Directed Deviations” has asked one of those difficult questions in his post “Do I have to care about how you feel?

For example, just consider the opening barrage of questions:

Do I have to care about how others feel? If I am speaking the truth in love, although some may get upset or offended, if I am correcting a point of error in someone’s doctrine, even though they might not like it, if I am calling someone to repent with raised voice and strained facial muscles, even though it might be perceived as “angry,” am I supposed to take into consideration how someone feels about those things? On the one hand, if I do care about how others feel, doesn’t that make me a slave to every whimsical passion that others may have and cause me to be ever adjusting and never satisfying? On the other hand, if I don’t care about how people feel, doesn’t that make me a sociopath?

Like I said, no easy answers. If we observe how Jesus responded to people in the Gospels, at times we see him approaching people in a way that seems overly gentle, and at other times we see him approaching them in a way that seems overly harsh.

So, how do you decide how to approach people?


2 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-28-2012

    What if you are speaking to a group of people? How can you satisfy all their expectations of how something should be said? What if you are addressing one person and it offends another person, but it was the best way to address the first person? Jesus might have told someone that they were forgiven of their sins which made them happy, but upset some people listening in. Maybe he wanted those other people to be upset, he certainly had the advantage of knowing the right thing to do all the time to complete multiple ends. It can certainly get complicated when we’re talking about the rest of us and we aren’t talking about a 1:1 relationship, which, in reality, is very rare.

  2. 3-28-2012

    Dan,

    Exactly! There is no cut and dry, black and white answer. Jesus responded the way he did because (as he said) he was following what his Father was doing. We must do the same. Of course, we have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit, but we do not listen, understand, or submit perfectly the way that Jesus did.

    -Alan