Summary: This week we will address the emotional area of the 7 areas of our lives that we give up (7UP) to God’s control to be a holistic community that follows Jesus.
Read ‘Em and Weep
September 21, 2008
This week we are going to address the emotional area of our lives that we need to give over to God. Of the seven areas that we are to give up to God (7UP to God), these is probably one of the most desperately needed areas for people. It is the one often ignored. The corresponding deadly sin is an easy one: wrath. When we give up to God all of our emotions, our entire emotional health, our emotional maturity, then we find the strength and help that we need to respond to people in appropriate ways. Obviously, then this has a great effect upon the social arena of our lives as well.
Speaking of emotions especially those intense emotions such wrath and weeping I saw this story.
An elderly lady came upon street evangelist who was trying to get the attention of passersby. He urged those near him to flee from the wrath to come.
"I warn you," he roared, "that there will be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!"
She replied snidely: "I have no teeth!"
"Lady," the evangelist retorted, "teeth will be provided!"
This morning I am going to focus on Jesus and the shortest verse in the bible: Jesus wept. So as we follow Jesus here, we will see how Jesus is an emotional healthy and mature being who is aware of his feelings, why he is feeling this way, as well as the feelings of others. So let’s look at these words found in John 11:33-35 and let’s read ‘em and weep. Here Jesus has just arrived to heal a good friend and brother to Mary and Martha named Lazarus but Lazarus has died and everyone believes that Jesus has arrived too late.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied.
Our emotional healthy is a tough thing for many people. Culture teaches people to remain emotionally as children. Turn on afternoon TV and you will see those “talk shows” that celebrate how I got back at my ex without him knowing it. Classic passive-aggressive behavior.
Churches have neglected this issue for decades assuming that if one reads their bible, says a few prayers, and goes to church three times a week, then that person is spiritually mature. It was assumed that spiritually mature people have arrived at a pinnacle of development and they would automatically be emotionally mature as well.
But this would be WRONG! Incorrect. And you get no credit for you’re the answer. NADA. Nothing. What was assumed to be a fact, is in reality a big problem.
When I was in seminary I had a question on one of the exams in Dr. Stafford’s class that was something like: according to Webber what are the five areas of responsible worship. I could picture this section in my mind. It was on the second page of chapter eight. I knew exactly where it was but I couldn’t remember what the specifics where. So I put down exactly where it was in the book and I was absolutely right. But of course, my answer was absolutely wrong and I received no points for that question.
The failure to address emotional health and emotional maturity has led to much pain and anguish. People blast other people and even humiliate them claiming that they are just telling the truth (I guess the spiritual truth). We take everything personally including the last five sermons that were obviously preached at me! Sometimes this happens does happen because the pastor is emotionally immature and takes his or her frustrations out in the pulpit. Others argue and debate in order to convince people how right they are and how wrong everyone else is. All marks of emotional immaturity.
Jesus gives us a great example to follow when it comes to out emotions. Now we could spend a lot of time here and we might actually come back to this and look at these issues more closely in the future but today is just an introduction.
There are a lot of things that we could do here but I am going to keep things simple and the focus narrow. Again, the small group’s input was immensely helpful and I believe that God is speaking through them just as much as me. If God is going to have control of this area of our lives just as Jesus lived, then these need to happen. We need to:
• Look beneath the surface
The symbol for this area is water, which is so rich and has so many nuances. For example often what is projected outwardly is often only a small part of what is happening in us emotionally. Like a pond, we need to look beneath the surface. Beneath the surface is a whole world that is so unlike what is above.