Do we show emotion?
These two words in the Bible, not only formulate the shortest perfect sentence possible in the English language, but are used to demonstrate Jesus had, and displayed, emotion. The John 11:35 verse comes when Jesus finds out his mate Lazarus has died. Jesus clearly loved his friend and wasn't afraid to show his emotions in public. He didn't make excuses for it. He simply wept at the loss of his friend.
In the UK there is the old, well-worn stereotype, of a 'stiff upper lip' and not crying in public, as if crying publicly is seen as a form of weakness. This is a strong, cultural message some of us in the UK have imbibed growing up, alongside the lies of 'crying doesn't help matters'. Actually it does. Crying is form of emotional release, created by God, to enable us to express ourselves. To repress or suppress these emotions can lead to us to not embracing our full humanity. We subtly encompass dichotomous living, separating out logical and emotional, as if one is better than the other. God gave us both an head and a heart to use. We suffer if we don't embrace and use both in our lives.
Making it personal
So why talk about this? Well at times we can disassociate ourselves from the abuse and violence we here around us. We can deflect it like a protective barrier and not allow the pain to filter through to our hearts.
I was recently at the Micah Global conference in Peru and gave a plenary talk. I asked people to hold three women that they love in their hearts, wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt etc. I then went on to talk about 1 in 3 women globally being abused in her lifetime. Recalling the three women they loved, which one will be abused? The thought is gut-wrenchingly horrible to consider. These are people we love. Our automatic response is a protective one. It is a sickening feeling to even consider that our precious loved ones may be subject to abuse. Yet the 1 in 3 women statistic IS someone's daughter, often someone's mother, sister, aunt.
Do we allow ourselves to be affected emotionally about this level of abuse?
How would we feel if we did?
Would that make a difference to our response?
Are we fearful of opening up our emotions to this subject because we may lose control?
Call to Action
What positive action can you take in response to this?
There are many ways in which you can respond and get involved more. Here are some suggestions:
- Pray. Ask God to reveal an area that you can use your gifts, skills, experience, abilities, finances to make a difference.
- Take action. What can you offer back to God in this area? What does that look like for you?
- Be realistic. No-one is expected to change the whole world on their own. We each need to play our part in community, relationship and connection with others. Don't take on more than what you can handle at the moment. Sometimes to do so robs someone else of the opportunity to engage. So what can you realistically do now and within the next month?