Caught in Emotional Webs
I have a deep fear of spiders. It is my belief that every feature they possess is to instill fear in the human mind. The idea of a spider being near me is uncomfortable, it is nearly impossible for me to sleep when I consider that there is one in my room, watching me. But, I do begrudgingly acknowledge spiders serve a very important role in our ecosystem. So, spiders and I have come to a truce. As long as they eat bugs and don’t get near me, I will tolerate their terrifying presence. In a similar way, some of us look at certain emotions as we do spiders. We live with emotions like sadness, anger, and fear, even though their presence makes us uncomfortable.
Our society tells us that certain feelings are “bad” or inappropriate because we as a culture are uncomfortable dealing with things that aren’t happy. Happiness is easy for our society to understand - it often doesn’t need intervention or aid. For example, when you first greet someone and asks “How are you?” we all know that the appropriate response is “Fine, how are you?” Unless this person is a friend, we don’t actually want to know how the random person or acquaintance we’re greeting actually feels. Because if they actually started pouring out their soul and their lives to us, we wouldn’t really know how to respond. It would make us uncomfortable. We, as a society, expect those emotions that aren’t happiness to be kept locked up inside us, only to be mentioned at appropriate times.
Sometimes even our religion tries to tell us that some emotions are not okay. For example, you can’t be angry, you must forgive all the time, right from the beginning. You shouldn’t be sad about death because death isn’t the end. In some ways, we’ve allowed our own beliefs to tell us that we shouldn’t feel certain things, and that just leads to our detriment, and isn’t in line with God.
Humans are not meant to compartmentalize feelings, and experiencing emotions are not bad things. If we believe that God created us and saw us as good, then the things we feel can’t be bad. Even in the Bible, we see God feeling anger and sadness when people turn away from what is right. You could say that feeling emotions is a natural part of life.
There is an idea that all of our personalities are based off of God. As we grow, mature and reflect on ourselves, we become closer to the people God originally imagined we would be. Jesus is often looked to as the ideal emotional human. Jesus doesn’t walk through life as a feelingless being - like an uncaring god.
Jesus loves his disciples to the point of calling them all friends rather than servants, trusting them with his deepest secrets.
Jesus cries over his dear friend Lazarus after he died, regretting he couldn’t be there to see him before his friend’s death.
He’s afraid of crucifixion and begs for God to pass the job from him, hoping that in some way, God’s will might be done without his death.
He even gets angry at the money changers in the Temple, knowing they are using God’s laws to make a profit.
Jesus feels. But he is self-reflective and empathetic. He shows that while God intends for us to feel, he doesn’t let those emotions control him or use them for evil deeds. W
e should follow in Jesus’ footsteps, allowing ourselves to be with our emotions that we hide from ourselves.