It seems in recent years, many churches have focused on teaching youth how to logically debate creationism, evolutionism, and answer some of the more common questions about belief in God in general. (He’s like the wind, you can’t always see it – but you can see leaves moving in the wind and know it’s there … unless there’s a tornado, in which case you can see it and it’s going to destroy whatever is in it’s path, that sort of thing.) But there seems to be an emotional disconnect in Christianity these days.
There are good emotions – joy, happiness, smiling faces. There are bad emotions – anger, depression, frowns. Christians are often cautioned to not be too emotional when it comes to God. So that way you won’t mistake elation for being elevated in the Holy Spirit, because the two are just so similar.
One day at church – I can’t remember which one, I could not help but noticed the conduct of one of the youth. He was a perfect example of boredom being bored. His expression, his posture, his attitude all clearly stated that he would rather be anywhere else (school being an exception) than where he was. I envied the kid – I felt exactly the same way, but I couldn’t show it. He was genuine, I felt insincere.
Looking online, there’s no end of Christian rescources on emotions:
“Any thought or emotion that agrees with what God’s Word says about you is from your new man. Any thought or emotion that violates God’s Word is from your old man or the devil.” (http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/harnessing_emotions)
“But God created us in His image and God’s emotions are revealed in the Scriptures; therefore, God created us emotional beings. We feel love, joy, happiness, guilt, anger, disappointment, and fear, and sometimes these can be “false” feelings if they are based upon false premises.” (http://www.gotquestions.org/managing-emotions.html)
“Emotions are an ignored reality in much of the Evangelical Church, but it is not so in the Bible. Within the Bible’s pages the Trinity manifests a rich emotionality. Within the New Testament the Person of the Spirit not only manifests rich emotions Himself, but is given to the believer to profoundly influence her or his emotional life. As we cooperate with the Spirit and sound spiritual principles, we shall experience an increasingly rich emotional life. The health of our emotions is a critical category of our spiritual life.” (https://bible.org/seriespage/holy-spirit-and-our-emotions)
So many times Christians are told to err on the side of being unemotional or at the very least wear a permanent happy face that they aren’t often taught to accept or understand their full range of emotions. Sometimes we forget that Jesus was an emotional guy, and there can be no doubt that Paul felt every single emotion possible along his journeys. David danced exhuberantly and also was on the run at one point. Nowhere did anybody in the Bible say: “I’m experiencing too much emotion here – I need to repress what I’m feeling.” But now so many Christians are taught to distrust their emotions or to repress them or hide them – they’re missing out on getting to know God through emotions.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
We’re suppsed to relate to one another with our emotions, not try to comfort each other with logic or sayings like, “What God giveth, He taketh away.” There are situations where that’s probably the least helpful thing you can say. For a list of more things you shouldn’t say – start with the Book of Job – most of it is covered in there.
There comes a point where our emotional selves are reaching out for each other and for God – sometimes it doesn’t look quite right because we’ve been taught that it’s wrong to be too emotional – but sometimes it’s exactly what we need. Logic isn’t known to be a comforter or counselor – but that’s the Holy Spirit’s job description.