Emotions are evil
Communication doesn’t happen without emotion. Maybe, in theory, it is possible to communicate without emotion, but in the real world, it just doesn’t happen. Emotion gives perspective to our situations. In fact, there is a lot of research that suggests that without emotion, we would be severely limited in our ability to make decisions (see Antonio Damasio).
To downplay emotion is to downplay communication. In Christianity this happens when we see emotion as dangerous and logic as our solid foundation. According to Watchman Nee’s perspective on scripture, both emotion and intelligence are a part of the soul and we are to be lead by the Spirit, so neither are to be our foundation. Unfortunately, when emotions are considered dangerous, then communication is limited. Again, communication doesn’t happen without emotion.
I would say that communication is of utmost importance when it come to Christianity. When we read the scriptures, we see the writers advising the people, “pray” far more often than we see them say, “study your Bible.” In essence, “Communicate with God.”
Prayer becomes stagnant because we are taught to pray “rightly” and not “passionately” like David did. American Christianity has often demonized emotion as dangerous and unstable. Emotions are not safe. They are not predictable and they cannot be well controlled. So, we go to church every week to get our weekly emotion-removing surgery so that we aren’t all unstable anymore.
When we remove emotion from Christianity, we remove our ability to communicate with our Father.
We are often told to ignore our emotions. We are rarely taught to properly use our emotions.
For example, John gets pissed at Joe for stealing his girlfriend. The “Christian” thing to do is forgive him. Well, for most Christians, forgiveness means, “Forgive and forget.” Or, even better, “Pretend it never happened.” Make sure you stuff that anger deep down inside so that you keep your Christian mask on when you go to church.
When the stove is hot, you’re going to want to feel pain. When someone does something unjust against you, you’re going to be angry. Scripture tells us to be angry, but in our anger, don’t sin. (Eph 4:26). So, instead of trying to not have any emotions about what just happened to you, BE ANGRY! Just make sure you go to your Father with that anger and leave it with the true Judge. Trust me, you don’t want to put yourself in God’s spot and stand for justice on your own behalf for the rest of your life. That’s a good recipe for a torturous life. Do you trust your Father to stand for justice on your behalf?
Here’s my request: Bring emotion back into the Church. Allow weeping and laughing and anger and grief. God gave us all of these things to enrich our relationship with Him, especially as we communicate with Him. Don’t ignore emotions anymore and don’t check them at the door on Sunday morning. Use them as the God-given tools that they are to encounter your Father. Be real with Him. Trust me, He’s a big-boy. His feeling aren’t going to be hurt if you use a swear to express a very real frustration to Him.
You may be surprised by how Father responds to authentic emotion.