C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Do I Make You Feel Uncomfortable

I saw a brief segment of the news Tuesday, and it was talking about the Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill case of 1991. Apparently, this recent interview stemmed from his writing of a book regarding himself, called “My Grandfather’s Son”, and it appears that he has been accused of trying to “re-write history” by doing so. The case of 1991, involves Anita Hill bringing sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas, assumingly which he denies.

Although this story caused me to ponder this post, it is not really the topic I would like to discuss. I would rather simply entertain, for a moment, the idea of how we (both men and women) may actually make another person feel uncomfortable, with or without even knowing it.

I personally believe a person can become uncomfortable with us or us with them, accidentally, meaning one does or says something innocently, not meaning anything by it, yet it causes the other person to feel uncomfortable. I also believe, there is the intentional act, not really to cause one to become uncomfortable, but an “over the boundary” sort of act, which is intended to draw a particular reaction from the individual, whether the hoped for response is achieved or not, which may or may not be followed by a quick forethought “apology”, if the response is negative. Some sexual harassment readings will tell us that this can start with hints, words, and lead into brief or light touching, just to see how far one can go, to receive the response they desire.

But, again, I would like to cover, the somewhat less offensive (if there is such) ways of which I believe we may be causing people to feel uncomfortable, without even knowing it, yet maybe should be.

WITNESSING: As a Christian, I firmly believe that we should share our faith with others, and present the gospel in a clear Biblical fashion, according to the words of Christ in Scripture. I have been with persons that present the gospel, and ask the person if they would like to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The person politely avoided the question, but said that they may come to church Sunday. Instead of allowing the Spirit to move upon the person to conviction (which may be years later or another visit), they asked them about five more times, if they would like to ask Jesus to save them. This is not necessary Christian witnessing, and all it did was to cause the person to become uncomfortable with us. Who knows if the person would have come to church, if the person would have refrained from boxing them into a corner, by continuing to demand an answer? We cannot confuse our making a person uncomfortable with our forceful witnessing, with Holy Spirit conviction.

TOUCHING: My wife’s family is the “huggy” type, whereas my family is not. When we meet her family, there is always an exchange of hugs and maybe even a peck on the cheek. This is not to say this is wrong, but I often see hugging elsewhere that seems somewhat less appropriate and less desirable to the one being hugged. Take for instance, older men hugging the younger ladies (or girls) in the church setting, or elsewhere for that matter. Please understand, I am by no means claiming these men are perverts, I am simply noting the faces of some of the young girls I have seen being hugged. We should realize that maybe people do not feel comfortable hugging us, or us hugging them. They (as in a woman or a man) do not owe you a hug. You ask, how you can know if you make them feel uncomfortable or not – wait until they reach to hug you. If they don’t, don’t get offended, realize they just don’t need or want a hug at that moment. This also applies to older women hugging younger men (or boys), but it seems to be seen less, although some boys may find it uncomfortable to hug also. Although young children may hug more frequently (especially girls), as they mature, they may become less comfortable hugging an adult (especially a male) – even if they had for years as a child. Respect it.

TOO PERSONAL: This seems to be an area that many miss the signs of the other person growing uncomfortable. The simple fact is some persons click into friendships, whereas some do not. This is not to mean that something is wrong with one of the people, and/or the other person is simply unfriendly, but personalities and other factors do play a role in how friendships develop, and as to whether one becomes comfortable or uncomfortable with us (or another). Just because we feel comfortable with another person, to share all or some of our more personal thoughts, does not mean they feel comfortable listening to it or lending advice. We can cause some to become uncomfortable by telling them all about ourselves, as we can by asking them personal questions. We have no right to pry or ask another individual personal questions about anything, and expect them to feel comfortable sharing information with us. This is especially true when it comes to male and female interaction. Someone may be a very nice person, and unable to tell us that we make them uncomfortable, sharing all of our personal information or asking them of theirs, so we must not mistake their listening, as to them feeling comfortable with us. A lady (or teen) does not always need to know that you think she is beautiful, she looks nice in such and such of clothing, you like her skin tone, or if you were younger you might like her. Sorry guys, but the fact is, ladies may not mind one person expressing there thoughts in this matter, but they may not want to hear it from you.

PERSONAL SPACE: Personal space is when one finds themselves having to always call or be around another individual. Again, this may be because we really like (not necessarily as anything more than friendship) a person, and feel comfortable around them. Remember, just because we have attached ourselves to them (for whatever reason), doesn’t mean they feel comfortable around us, or that they are equally attached to us. This does not mean there is something wrong with them or us, it simply means they could be really busy, already have a best (or bests) friends they confide in, or simply just don’t feel that comfortable with us. A lot of times, ladies feel uncomfortable when placed in a setting alone with a man, especially if they do not already feel comfortable with that man, but it may also be true of a man they have known for years. Realize that (men and women), and don’t place the other party in that position of feeling uncomfortable.

We cannot make or cause one to feel more comfortable with us by invading their personal space, by always calling them, by telling them all of our personal history, by inquiring of all of their personal history, and/or by complimenting them on physical appearance, but we sure can cause them to become more uncomfortable around us. I sure would hope there is no Christian that has a desire to have others tip-toe uncomfortably around us, so lets take the time to observe ourselves, and how we are causing people to react to us. We can’t get mad or frustrated simply because someone may feel uncomfortable around us, we need only to acknowledge it, and desire to change our actions which are causing it. We may never be able to be best friends or as close to someone we really like (as we hoped), so we need to accept it and not allow it to cause us to become depressed about it, to where we become offended.

I am sure each one of us has been put into an uncomfortable situation before, and we know how it feels, even if the other person did not. How about we take the time to consider the other person (as in the above), and ask ourselves, Do I Make You Feel Uncomfortable.

1 comment:

BEAST said...

If you don't want to make people feel uncomfortable, consider not proselytizing to non-believers.


John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.