Have you ever been accused of being too emotional? Maybe someone has said “you are really passionate about xyz,” but what they are saying is “you are way too intense about xyz.” Maybe you have felt out of place crying in public or laughing too loud in a restaurant. Can you hear your mom telling you to “get a grip on yourself.” How about someone telling you that “you need some self control.” Or how about “you can have too much fun.” OK say none of that applies to you. You are a free spirit with freedom to express yourself completely mature and confident in all your emotional releases. Now put yourself in church. You know the one. It is the one with John Lithgow from “Footloose.” “I declare there will be no dancing or mingling or touching or laughing or raising of the hands or smiling excessively or hugging or any other overly-emotional response (except the kneeling down on the hard floor weeping and gasping with the fervent expression of mortal dread regarding your total worthlessness in this universe and how you are no better than an evil pile of poop that someday may see Heaven if God is in a good enough mood and you haven’t committed a sin in the last two minutes.)” Well, maybe that is a little overboard but you get the picture. The devil has used religion (the self-effort, self-righteous attempt to please God and make yourself better to receive a reward if you do enough stuff) to remove emotion from our “spiritual” lives. Too bad really. Not only does it result in a miserable life of waiting in despair for a rescue mission amidst the tortured suffering of all those who don’t know what the true accepted religious doctrine is and accept it as their own…breath… it is without Jesus.
Jesus is God and walked this planet as a man. He is the exact representation of God in all His fullness. If we see Jesus do it, then it is how God does it. Not only that but it is how we should express ourselves as His children reconciled into His family as a little Christ like one. There are no excuses or ground to make up or penance to pay or anything else. If you are a born again believer in Jesus then you have access and ability and power and resources to do everything like Jesus did. Not just in deed and authority but in type and expression. We get to be like Jesus.
Did you know that Jesus was very emotional? Oh yeah He was. As a matter of fact, when He healed people He did it from His emotional center. He was moved with compassion to heal people and set them free from demons and breath love into their lives. We get to do the same thing but likely have to un-learn some old thinking that prohibits our operating fully like He did. That is what Paul calls the renewing of our minds. God brings truth in revelation and we get to act on that truth to receive wisdom. This wisdom becomes our new understanding and releases His power into our agreement with His nature. Sounds complicated but it really is so simple. We get to know who God is. We get to know His heart as expressed through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We agree with what He says and that rhema word releases power through the Holy Spirit just like it did with Jesus. Let me walk you through a truth revelation.
There he is. You know the one. He is handicapped in a wheelchair hanging outside Walmart asking for money. He has flags on his hat and beer on his breath. He hasn’t bathed in a while and really needs a haircut. Can you see him? You have many times. Now instead of using your fallen-Adam human eyes, see Him with the eyes of Jesus. What do you see now? Let me explain.
Pity is a word we use interchangeably with sympathy and compassion and sadness and empathy. None of those words mean the same thing. I would bet that most of us begin with pity. We see a situation (that may include a person) and declare that situation is unfair or unjust. It’s OK, I’m not beating anyone up just trying to bring understanding. It is expected that pity would be this kind of response since it is base on the word “pious” or “piety.” Pious is defined as: deeply religious : devoted to a particular religion, falsely appearing to be good or moral. It is our “judger” based on our fallen nature trapped in law-based understanding. It is the essence of “the knowledge of good and evil.”
Next we may feel sympathy. This would be pity with a person involved. The man at Walmart becomes a person to us. We see his condition, we agree it is bad (or unjust or unfair) and we take his side. We decide to step into his court and try to imagine his condition. We agree with his offenses and feel a desire to express our agreement. Don’t get me wrong, without sympathy and pity we would be robots of selfish endeavors never giving notice to anyone outside our inner circle of trust. We would never invest in people who couldn’t do something for us…wait a minute…?
There is one more word that begins to make the transition from man-thinking into the Jesus-thinking realm. It is mercy. When you are not bound by law and are actually the author of law then you can administer mercy (God’s privilege). This is the Greek word for mercy: eleéō – to show mercy as God defines it, i.e. as it accords with His truth (covenant) which expresses “God’s covenant-loyalty-mercy” (i.e. acting only on His terms). For the “world” mercy would be not having to pay a fine when you did the crime. The judge was in a good mood so he let you off.
OK let me bring this together quickly. An English translation of the Bible uses many of these words interchangeably. It is actually a fairly egregious outcome of “lost in translation” necessities. I can’t understand it all nor begin to explain it all so let me give an example of how Jesus operated in emotion and power not in pity and sympathy.
Jesus was moved with compassion. The word is: splagxnízomai – “from splanxna, ‘the inward parts,’ especially the nobler entrails – the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. These gradually came to denote the seat of the affections”. Jesus ached in His gut for people. Maybe you have experienced something like this at the loss of a loved one. When you grieve deeply you hurt deeply, literally. Maybe you have experienced the other extreme like intense love for another. When you are apart or anticipating a reunion after a long separation you feel deep in your gut this ache. Have you ever felt that for the guy at Walmart? When you operate like Jesus, when you are becoming His love, when you are free from guilt and shame and condemnation and religion and fallen-Adam thinking, you will experience this kind of emotion for…well anyone in need.
I promised an example:
Matthew 20:30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” (ESV)
Men crying out to Jesus. They ask for mercy. They believe they are horrible sinners as evidenced by their condition. They only want to be forgiven. They want to be free from the guilt and shame. Oh by the way…this is the condition of every person walking the planet. Jesus response is awesome:
Matthew 20:34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
He was “moved with compassion.” This is His emotion center. This is where the Holy Spirit meets His desire with power. This is where the healing comes from. This is where the forgiveness comes from. This is where the love of God resides. It is emotional. It is engaging. It is personal. It it sacrificial. It is substitutionary. It is powerful. And it is what we should be seeking not “Lithgow Assembly.”
When we are finally free from all our old way of thinking we can begin to see this truth, Christ in us the hope of glory. Jesus died to make this possible. He died to make a home inside us. He brings all this love and power and compassion and emotion inside us. We don’t have to pretend. We don’t have to “muster up a good cry.” We don’t have to try harder. We just need to agree. We just need to see that God is that good. He is our amazing Father and we are all His favorite kids. He loves that man at Walmart more than life itself. He proved it on the cross. I say we get moved with compassion. I say we move beyond pity and sympathy and empathy and all that other inadequate stuff and move with compassion. I bet we will see people healed. I be we will see the guy at Walmart get out of the chair and dance a jig. I bet we will get to love someone in a way that we didn’t think was possible. Let’s hear it for emotion…Jesus emotion..moved with compassion.