Honest Advice #2: Be Merciless to “Sensitiveness” in Yourself

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I am a big fan of author C.S. Lewis.  His writing is eloquent, poignant, and rich.  I often find myself rereading paragraphs of his writing in order to fully understand what he was writing.  I recently finished his faith biography, Surprised By Joy, and now I am reading Reflections on the Psalms, both books are full of enlightening observations that encourage me in my relationship with Jesus.  A few weeks ago I was wowed by Lewis again when reading his discussion of judgment in the Psalms and the motivation for bringing a lawsuit against other people.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Indeed what is commonly called ‘sensitiveness’ is the most powerful engine of domestic tyranny, sometimes a lifelong tyranny.  How we should deal with it in others I am not sure;but we should be merciless to its first appearances in ourselves.”

In the book Lewis had just discussed how often times in quarrels we pretend to have had our feelings hurt by an offense when the real issue was not the offense itself, but rather “envy, ungratified vanity, or thwarted self will” in ourselves.  When the offense of another person touches one of these issues in ourselves we have a tendency to react in a disproportionate manner.  The end result (whether it be legal action or discourse that permanently damages a relationship) can be far worse for all parties involved when a simple apology should have been enough to satisfy your wrath.

The difficulty in letting an apology suffice is that, as the offended, you have the right to enact justice.  You have been wronged, you have the right to justice.  It is easier to claim what you have a right to, justice.  What is is more difficult, but better for you as a person is to forfeit that right for something greater. You have the right to demand justice, but the better result will come when you offer forgiveness.

The advice that I have to offer today is simply that of which C.S. Lewis suggested.  “We should be merciless to its (sensitiveness) first appearance in ourselves”  Rather than letting our sensitivity create strife for others let’s decide to forgive the offenses of others and not allow ourselves to be offended.


5 thoughts on “Honest Advice #2: Be Merciless to “Sensitiveness” in Yourself

  1. I am honored to give you the chance to put this into practice far more often than I care to admit! I might add that when you offer forgiveness for an offense it often encourages the perpetrator to do the same when offended. Thus, shortening the cycle of sensitiveness existing in our broken world.

  2. This is exactly why as much ill as I have to say about modern Christians, who live to gratify the ego, judge others, and insist it is their way or the Hell-way, I cannot be down on Christ or even the core tenets of Christianity itself, especially in the hands of the right thinkers.

    Anyway, letting go of the ego – outward appearances and inward self-centeredness – is a dictum from the Bible that gets far less airtime than it deserves.

  3. Did you know that C. S. Lewis sometimes had hurt feelings? I agree with the premise and the thought. But it is a battle that many face. Some cover “hurt feelings” with anger issues and isolation. Which is better trying to dialogue about those feelings or “stuffing” them until they overflow. I would love to know your feelings about cutting “toxic” people out of our lives. Would and did Jesus do that? I have noticed some people posting on FB about doing just that. Maybe I am unsure of what they mean when they say “toxic”.

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