Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sensitivity Training

"[H]ow then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)

I'm all for sensitivity training. Not the kind Augusta State University has ordered as a requirement for student, Jennifer Keeton, before she will be able to graduate from their graduate Counselor Education program; but the kind that is only accomplished by the Holy Spirit, using the Bible as a textbook. In this young woman's case, her supposed intellectual and societal flaw comes from her lack of empathy for sexual perversion. According to Fox News, she will be dismissed from the program unless she "alters her 'central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct.'" In other words, she must be willing to recognize homosexuality as an inborn trait, not embraced debauchery. This young Christian woman has chosen to challenge this egregious assault on her First Amendment rights in court. Good for her!

The kind of "sensitivity training" with which these people are trying to intimidate this college student, and which is routinely foisted on business people, policemen, teachers, religious workers, etc, anyone deemed to be "unaware of his or her innate prejudices and unmindful of the feelings of others," is not the kind I would be naive enough to afford any credibility. It is just another means of instilling a herd mentality that, in most cases, seeks to indoctrinate insensitivity to sin.

However, as I say, I am wholly in favor of the right kind of sensitivity training. The kind that makes one so sensitive to sin that its appearance shocks and its indulgence sickens. These are strong words, I know, and I am keenly aware that none of us is immune from the presence—and practice—of sin; but I do think it is possible to train oneself to recognize and react flinchingly to it, in many cases.

As to offending the feelings and sensitivities of others, it would seem to me that the "offendee" in question, and the legitimacy of the offense itself, make a great deal of difference in the seriousness of the offense. For instance, Jesus offended His hometown folks by simply preaching parables illustrating the Kingdom of God (Matt.13:57). The fact that it personally offended them was a reflection of the condition of their own hearts, certainly not any prejudice on His part. It was understandable, I suppose that what He said to the Pharisees in Matthew fifteen would be offensive to them, but were they really undeserving of His accusations? I don't think so. Then, He knew His death on the Cross would be offensive to even His disciples (Matt.26:21), but without the "offense of the cross" you and I would never have had access to God (Gal.5:11; Heb.12:2). This was an "offense" that was surely worth perpetrating!

Although I have no desire to offend anyone needlessly, especially a brother or sister in Christ, I am more exercised about the very real possibility of offending God. He has done nothing to offend me. On the contrary, He has done everything to bless me. To grieve His heart, or offend His "sensibilities," if you will, by ignoring His commandments, neglecting His precepts, or seeking to thwart His will, would be to sin against the Custodian of my eternal soul and the dearest Friend I have.

Is it any wonder then that I strive to attend "sensitivity training" daily in the schoolroom of prayer and Bible reading, under the tutelage of the sweet Holy Spirit?

"If there are no spiritual senses exercised, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling; no sense of burden in sin, no taste of sweetness in the Word of God, no sight of invisible things, no ear to hear the voice either of word or rod, then the soul is dead." — Phillip Henry (1631-1696)

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