TO BE EFFECTIVE AND RELEVANT BE SENSITIVE

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TO BE EFFECTIVE AND RELEVANT BE SENSITIVE

1 Corinthians 10:32
Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

1 Corinthians 10:33
just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Be sensitive enough to know that that statement hurts. Be sensitive enough to know the joke won’t go down well. Be sensitive enough to know the light note remark can have irreversible consequences. Be sensitive enough to know that your post can traumatise people. Be sensitive enough to know that what is not controversial here, can cause a huge crisis elsewhere. Be sensitive enough to know that what is appropriate in the city is not acceptable in the rural area. We live in an era where people seem less sensitive. The word of God today, calls upon us, to be sensitive. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

It is possible to do right things the wrong way. It is possible to be right and wrong at the same time. If you believe and proclaim that which is right, but do it with a wrong attitude, you can be said to be right and wrong. Whenever one is right and wrong, they are wrong. What makes many right people to be wrong is the lack of sensitivity. They are too right to be sensitive. Their position is too correct that they have no time for sensitivity to other positions. Many right people wrongly believe that sensitivity is compromise. Therefore a number of right people are insensitive and eventually the world has no time for them and they are isolated. They treat their isolation as persecution and closeness to God, yet at best, it is foolishness. They are right, but ineffective and irrelevant. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 is a section where Apostle Paul addresses the believers who were converted into the church. This is a message for the converted. The message for the believers we look up to. A message to the best among christians. A message to those who had stopped eating meat. A message to those who had completely changed their lives and sacrificed everything, just to demonstrate that they are believers. A message to the trophy deserving christians. A message to those who are automatic members of prayer groups, spiritual committee(if such a thing exists), a message to those who have mustered passages of scriptures. Apostle Paul advises them how to conduct themselves when dealing with unbelievers. Then he concludes by telling them what is in our text today, be sensitive. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

1 Corinthians 10:31 do everything for God’s glory. Focus on God as the reason and aim of all your actions, whether eating or drinking or whatever you do. 1 Corinthians 10:32 be sensitive to the feelings of Jews who are yet to be converted, be sensitive to Gentiles who are yet to be converted, and be sensitive to God’s church that is made of converted Jews and Gentiles. Be sensitive to everyone. As far apart as the conduct of Jews and Gentiles are, be sensitive. As far apart as the church is to the world, be sensitive. 1 Corinthians 10:33 please everybody, meaning make everyone as much as possible to be comfortable with you. Be sensitive enough that though you differ from everyone, they note the difference but are comfortable around you. The aim is to win them to Christ. You can’t be an effective and relevant Christian unless you are sensitive. If anyone is to be saved, be sensitive to them. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

Ephesians 4:15
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Knowing the truth is not enough. Practising the truth is not enough. Speaking the truth and nothing but the whole truth, is not enough. Truth must be spoken, communicated in love. If it is not in love, it is wrong. If truth is not spoken in love, it is ineffective and irrelevant, yet its the truth. We need to be sensitive to those we hope to convert. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

Are you sensitive when sharing political truth on social media? Are you sensitive when condemning a trending immoral act? Are you sensitive when reacting to a wrong post on your holy group wall? Are you sensitive when a brother or sister posts a picture or update that suggests they are losing the way? Are you sensitive when preaching with an eye to correct an emerging wrong trend in church? Are you sensitive when doing public evangelism? To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

Are you sensitive to your friends’ feelings when joking? Are you sensitive to your boyfriend and girlfriend when opinions differ? Are you sensitive to how your spouse will perceive your actions? Are you sensitive to what your words will do to your spouse and relationship? Are you sensitive to what that remark in response to a child’s failure does to their self-esteem? Are you sensitive enough to lower the volume so that your neighbours can have a peaceful night? Are you sensitive enough to make relevant remarks at a funeral where the deceased had a controversial life? To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

Be sensitive to Jews who are highly religious in a false religion, don’t offend them. Be sensitive to Gentiles who are so secular, immoral and extremely godless, don’t offend them. Sensitivity doesn’t mean you agree with them or you support them. Sensitivity means, you don’t use their situation that differs from yours, to offend them. Sensitivity is building a bridge, so that some day they may see sense and be like you and even worship your God. Be sensitive to God’s church, flawed or perfect, they desire to be part of God’s kingdom, don’t offend them. In order to serve those in church and those outside, we must be sensitive. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

An educated person. A cultured person. A civilised person. Yes, and even a true christian, will be known by their sensitivity. They are sensitive to their choice of words. They are sensitive to their choice of dress for various occasions. They are sensitive to what they eat and even how much they serve, while considering the people lining up behind them. They are sensitive to how long they speak in an occasion. They are sensitive enough not to speak mother tongue, when others around them don’t understand the language. They are sensitive to call conversations when they are in public. They are sensitive enough to know when a request has been denied, they don’t insist because they know people have difficulty to say no. They are sensitive enough to read between the lines that they are no longer welcome. Because they are sensitive, they are great company and reliable. To be effective and relevant be sensitive!

Dear God, make me sensitive, consequently effective and relevant, in Jesus name, Amen!

About the author

Rei Kesis

I sit in church or religious class and I struggle to understand what is being taught and preached. I realise a few other people are struggling too. The meeting ends and we are satisfied with having appeared. Somehow in my mind I decide that only a few people can ever learn and understand certain things. But this is not right. I read scholars' articles on very serious issues, the vocabulary is deep, the language is way above the average member of the church. My mind wonders and struggles with, how can this be simplified for everybody? God's word cannot be a preserve of only a few people. So at some point in my life, I resolved that it is my mission to make things simpler that even the least educated and youngest child can understand the word of God. Apart from my love for grey colours, traveling and eating chapati, I have a passion for teaching, preaching and simplifying everything for those I address. My continuous worry, is always, was it simple enough for everybody?

Dr. Rei Towet Kesis is a Senior Lecturer of Applied Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He has over ten years experience in teaching at the University and training pastors. He has also served the University as Dean of Men, Chaplain, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and currently as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Student Affairs and Services.

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Rei Kesis

I sit in church or religious class and I struggle to understand what is being taught and preached. I realise a few other people are struggling too. The meeting ends and we are satisfied with having appeared. Somehow in my mind I decide that only a few people can ever learn and understand certain things. But this is not right. I read scholars' articles on very serious issues, the vocabulary is deep, the language is way above the average member of the church. My mind wonders and struggles with, how can this be simplified for everybody? God's word cannot be a preserve of only a few people. So at some point in my life, I resolved that it is my mission to make things simpler that even the least educated and youngest child can understand the word of God. Apart from my love for grey colours, traveling and eating chapati, I have a passion for teaching, preaching and simplifying everything for those I address. My continuous worry, is always, was it simple enough for everybody?

Dr. Rei Towet Kesis is a Senior Lecturer of Applied Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He has over ten years experience in teaching at the University and training pastors. He has also served the University as Dean of Men, Chaplain, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and currently as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Student Affairs and Services.

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