The Apple Of God's Eye

November 30, 2009

The Emotional Perfection Of Jesus Christ

mysteryshrink.com

Emotion is sometimes looked upon as being a negative experience, but in reality this is only because some have not grown up emotionally. This is especially so in mainstream religion, which promulgates emotional fervor as the basis of legitimate religious experiences.  In that sense, God becomes a nebulous sentiment and repentance a hazy feeling. Yet neither Jesus Christ nor His disciples ever set such an example.

Jesus Christ was not some overly sentimental preacher, nor was He emotionally detached, in a catatonic state of nirvana like high. If you study your Bible, you will see He was always in complete emotional control, yet he was able to show emotion at the right time and for the right reasons, setting us an appropriate and perfect  display of emotional maturity. He showed that emotion can be a valid part of religion, if expressed properly.

Here are some examples:

  1. He was filled with deep emotion as He looked out over Jerusalem, whose deceived and erring people He loved (Matt. 23:37). He cried out for Jerusalem in an intelligent expression of feeling. In Luke 19, He beheld the city and wept over it (verse 41).
  2. He was also moved with compassion for the multitudes that followed Him in Matt. 9:36. Jesus Christ desired to send the Good News to these spiritually bankrupt people and he lamented the lack of labourers for the plentiful harvest (verse 37). He saw the potential if there were only more labourers.
  3. In Mark 6, when He was about to get away for some much needed rest, the multitudes kept following. Christ reacted emotionally to this, but in an outflowing and serving way.  He was moved a their religious poverty and desired to teach them, as well as feed them because they were hungry (verses 31-34). See also Matt. 15:30-32.
  4. Christ sighed with feeling as He healed a deaf man in Mark 7:31-34. “Sighed”is the same term as used in Rom. 8:23, where God’s people groan within themselves. Seeing someone in need just moved Him too much to stand idly by.
  5. Even when confronted with antagonistic Pharisees, Jesus Christ did not react with anger, but sighed deeply within Himself for their lack of faith in seeking a sign (Mark 8:12). Although He was angry at what the Pharisees were doing to people’s religion, He perfectly controlled and expressed His emotions, using them to serve the work of God.
  6. The image of a soft spoken Christ is also false, as “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried [aloud] saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink'” (John 7:37). This shows He was a powerful and dynamic speaker.
  7. When Christ found men selling in the temple and exchanging money, He deliberately made a small scourge and drove them all out of the temple, overthrowing the tables (John 2:13-14). Rather than being a violent tantrum, this was an expression of righteous indignation and zeal (root – boiling over), as expressed in verse 17. The zeal of God’s house and the vision of God’s plan for all mankind was all consuming for Jesus Christ.
  8. When the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Christ in Mark 10, it says He was much displeased. But this wording does not do justice to Christ’s emotions. In the original Greek, it means ” moved with indignation.” He was passionate even about the little children.
  9. Christ groaned in the spirit and was troubled (visibly moved, perhaps in controlled anger) at the lack of faith the Jews expressed after Lazarus died. ” Troubled”  here is the same word as used on the night of His last Passover when He was betrayed and ultimately crucified. Jesus wept (shed tears) over this lack of faith in verse 35.
  10. At Christ’s last Passover, He was also full of emotion and  a desire (craving or longing) to celebrate this Passover with His disciples. Even though He was about to die, He spoke of being joyful (deep godly joy – John 15:11), showing a deep motivation for the work of God behind His feelings.
  11. The final emotional struggle for Christ came when He was near the end of His physical life. He began to react to the gravity of what was about to befall Him, becoming ” very heavy,” (Mark 14:33). Jesus Christ being human, still had to fight His own feelings and was probably terrified. The Greek (Thayers) implies that the phrase “very heavy” is the strongest of three Greek words…in the New Testament for depression.” That is why He was exceedingly sorrowful unto death in verse 34 and ” full of heaviness” (Ps. 69:20). These were not wrong emotions because Christ did not act only on them.  He re-focused on His Father’s will through prayer so fervent, it caused Him to sweat blood (Mark 14:35). He would not allow these emotions to become sinful, which is why Hebrews 12:4 says it was a prayer of ” striving against sin.” He did not allow emotions to control Him.

So we can see that it can be supremely masculine to show proper emotion. He did not allow these emotions because of persecution against Him, or personal suffering, but the anguish of seeing those He loved reject the truth and turn the wrong way. This is at the heart of emotional maturity – the state of development from taking to the state of giving. Christ’s emotions always demonstrated the ” give”  way. This requires control and right direction of feelings, tempers, impulses.

God’s law should always guide us in the right direction because it is the way of love towards Him first, above ourselves, and then to others, equal with love for self.

May 24, 2009

God's Plan For Children Without Fathers

The core institution of society is fatherhood. Period. Every boy has a father. Every girl has a father. When those fathers are present, and especially when they are involved in their children’s lives on a much deeper level, children thrive. Common sense shows it. Research proves it. Society denies it.

“The US’ out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38 percent. Among children, 28 percent are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50 percent and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71 percent for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America’s white children (22 percent) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31 percent) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56 percent) are fatherless.

In the book Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem is this assessment: “There are exceptions, of course, but here is the rule: Boys raised by traditionally masculine fathers do not commit crimes. Fatherless boys commit crimes.” In fact, fatherlessness has been proven to be the number-one factor predisposing someone to criminal activity—more than poverty, iq, race, culture or education.

Girls who lack the strong influence of a father are much more prone to get involved sexually before they should. They are looking for a male to fulfill that need in their life that their father failed to fulfill. “Many studies confirm that girls who grow up without fathers are at much greater risk for early sexual activity, adolescent childbearing, divorce and lack of sexual confidence” (ibid.).

The vast majority of fatherless children are also prone to emotional imbalances, motivation problems (especially boys), anger, instability, vulnerability, insecurity and feelings of rejection—a sense of being unloved and unlovable. These same problems tend to crop up where a father is present, but is perhaps abusive, a workaholic, passive and unmasculine, sickly, manipulative or a perfectionist. Sadly, the children of such men can be just as much “fatherless” as those whose father completely abandoned the family, or died! If you want to know how important the father’s role is, just look at what happens when it is neglected.

Given the God-designed need for a father, it is interesting how protective God is of two groups of people in particular: the fatherless, and the widows. The Bible contains over 40 references to these two groups! It doesn’t specifically mention the motherless and widowers, but rather those who have been deprived of that male influence of a father and a husband—those for whom that family role isn’t being filled. God specifically condems those today who neglect the fatherless and widows.

“Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge [defend or vindicate] not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them” (Isaiah 1:23). God instructs these rebels, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (verses 16-17).

This is how to become right with God! These people need help—there is a void that God intended be filled in their lives. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

Because Satan has inspired the role of the father to be attacked so vigorously today, a majority of people have had poor relationships with their fathers. But God wants every child to have a father, and He pays special attention to those who do not, giving them extra love and attention (Zech. 7:9-10). The inspiring and hope-filled truth is, for those lacking a strong physical father, God seeks to step in and fill that role—both personally, and through strong males who are practicing the pure religion spoken of in James.

In His law, God says we should go out of our way to show compassion to the fatherless. It angers Him when people don’t do this (Mal. 3:5). Why? Because God is a family and desires more members in His future family through a resurrection (I Cor. 15).

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