Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Honeymoons Are Bad

Obviously honeymoons are bad.  Or at least, couples on their honeymoons have a very distorted impression of each other.  I mean, I remember going on my honeymoon.  It was such an exciting time.  Newlyweds in general tend to be quite taken with each other.  The emotions run high.  Like I said, it's all bad.

Why am I saying this?  I don't actually think honeymoons are bad.  However, I keep hearing certain Christian leaders (men I happen to respect on most matters) wage war against the place of emotions in the Christian life.  They seem to paint a picture that anything emotional is bad.

In one sense I can agree with them.  There are plenty of abuses of people conjuring up an emotional experience and labeling it something of God.  That more closely resembles the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  As if God is roused to action because of our emotional displays.

However, we tend to respond to this by declaring all emotions as not of God.  But is it possible that emotions can be an appropriate response to an encounter with God?  I mean, honeymoons are nothing more than emotions springing up from a mutual love for one another.  The marriage isn't based on conjuring up emotions.  But the emotions are a fruit of an existing relationship.

We have a nasty habit of responding to abuse by running to neglect.  Neither option is healthy.  We are called to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength.  That includes emotions.  If it is OK to enjoy (an emotion) time with friends, why is it not OK to respond emotionally to time with God?  It is not trying to "work up" an experience with God, but a response to an experience with God.  And expressing emotions does not mean that the mind must be cast aside, either.

But isn't the kind of love experienced by newlyweds an immature love that needs to deepen over time?  Yes.  But why we conclude that a mature love means the elimination of emotions?  Loving God with nothing more than emotions is out of balance.  But loving God with nothing but the mind is also out of balance.  We are to love Him with heart, soul, mind and strength.  With everything.  Including our emotions.

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