Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Love Hurts

We can't live by emotions but emotions are a good gauge as to where we are with things. If you feel down it would be a good idea to examine yourself to understand why. If you are feeling angry all the time, there is an issue there somewhere. If you are feeling anxious, there is a reason for it. We can't live by these emotions but neither can we afford not to understand them. Emotions should not change our course of living but they can help us better understand how we are reacting to circumstances.

People have this notion that God removes our emotions, that all we feel all the time is love. Yet, when I read the Word of God I see all kinds of emotions in Jesus. I see excitement and pleasure, disappointment and anger, love and compassion. Jesus felt a whole range of emotions, the same ones we have all the time, yet none of it prevented him from moving forward. Not once do we hear him say, "I don't feel like it today guys" or "I'm a bit low today so I think I will stay in bed". Could you ever imagine Jesus saying, "I'm too angry with you to heal you right now"? He had our emotions but he never allowed them to keep him from doing what was right.

Paul is another great example of this. Paul was not the sort of guy who was very good at hiding his emotions. Maybe he was different in the flesh but in his writing we can see his heart all over the place. One of the places that really strikes me is in Galatians 4:

What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? (v.15-16)

I wonder if you can relate to that. Ever have a great friend who, one day, just turned around and became your enemy? If that has ever happened to you I am sure you remember the emotions that were provoked by it. There was a lot of pain, hurt, anger, disappointment, questioning, bewilderment, confusion and a bunch of other stuff. We are a relational creature; relations really matter to us. When someone we love suddenly becomes someone who hates us it is difficult to handle. For some of us the easiest solution is to simply walk away. Can you imagine Jesus or Paul doing that? Why not?

Immaturity is when we allow our emotions to dictate our actions. There are a lot of immature adults walking the streets of our cities and sitting in the pews of our churches. Maturity allows us to understand our emotions but to still make the right decision to do the right thing. The reason Jesus and Paul never walked away is because love was always the dominate motivator of their actions. For Jesus it still is and for Paul it was always Jesus' love that compelled him to take the right actions.

So understand your emotions but don't live by them. Just like the pain in your arm tells you there is something that is wrong and that it needs your attention, our emotions warn us if something is not right in us. But that pain in your arm is not going to stop you from living today and neither should your emotions. Understand your circumstances but get on with your living. Emotions change but our reason for living should remain a constant. The greatest and most important things for us to do in our living for Jesus is to love and forgive. Don't let anything interfere with your living for Jesus.

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