In an examination of the 4 persons involved on the worship of God (Mark 12:30), this website gets it's name and it's foundation. Today. let's take a look at the emotional person.
GENESIS 4:4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Who among us has not been where Cain is? Who among us has not felt crestfallen and dejected even to the point where we feel like God is playing favorites? Who among us has not been caught in the gloom of depression?
I may ruffle some feathers here but God did not recommend to Cain that he see a therapist or prescribe him some Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors. God did not counsel Cain that he has a right to be happy. God simply asks a question-
If you do well, will you not be accepted?
and issues a warning and a directive.
if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
The escalation of so much of the emotional sickness in the world is that the lion's share of psychological professionals promote the false narrative that it is a basic human right to be happy.
When happiness is considered and entitlement, it must be assumed that a person who is unhappy is a victim either of other persons, or an unfair system or because of a medical disorder.
Everything is approached from the standpoint that pain constitutes something abnormal that must be eradicated from our midst at any cost.
Divorced from the equation is the clear truth that sometimes- often in fact- the pain is a direct result of sin that we are committing and guilt that we are trying to suppress.
God isn't asking Cain why he is so crestfallen, so that God may learn why. God is challenging Cain to understand that the poison of pride is the cause of Cain's melancholy.
It is the sin that is the disorder. The turbulence in Cain's soul is only a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. If a person's leg was fractured, you wouldn't call the pain a disorder. You also wouldn't simply give the person pain meds and not fix the leg!
What is true of physical pain is true also of emotional pain except it can be more difficult to discern the cause. Cain seeks God's approval while being unwilling to do what he actually needs to do to gain it.
God is not a masochist. It's is not as if He enjoys making us suffer. It is quite often that the suffering is self is less of a problem than the way we respond to it.
In his remarkable political allegory The Wizard of Oz, Frank Baum confronts us with a pretty instructive lesson in 3 ways we deal with emotional pain.
One way is to ignore the suffering of others and confront the world simply as an analytical problem to be solved- all brains but no heart.
The second is the person is just the opposite. With no little or no control over his rational self, his life is in constant turmoil as he rides the waves of emotion over reaction up and down- all heart and no brains, if you will.
The third person is the coward. He feels, he knows, but he fears. He is afraid of any conflict so he spends his whole life in a never ending quest to avoid it and never really gets close to anyone- brains and heart but no courage.
Since it is foremost a political question, pollster John Zogby has actually adopted it in his polling. What is the worst kind of politician? Is it the politician who has brains but no heart (symbolized by the tin man)? Is it the politician that is all heart but has no brains (the scarecrow)? Is it the politician who has both heart and brains but lacks courage (the cowardly lion)?
It is telling that Dorothy (the voter) is scandalized and indignant towards the coward and rightly so. That is easy to see. What is more subtle is that she is closest to, and seeks advice from, not the one with brains but the one who has a heart.
Some may take this as simply as message from Baum that love is more important than intellect but I think that - though it may be seem true- it is not the point Baum is making here. Remember, the Wizard of Oz is a political satire that was actually made about a particular national election.
Baum, I believe, is making the point that the voter is far more likely to connect with the politician they believe can empathize with their pain and less with the one who is more analytical in his approach. In other words, feelings often trump facts in the minds of voters. I believe that this is true most people do seem to trust their own feelings more than their own intellects.
Some more analytical types may argue that it is more pragmatic to take the man with brains, though he has no heart.
How do we as Christians solve this dilemma?
Answer. We don't. It is a false dilemma. Just like faith vs works is a false dilemma.
Rationality and compassion are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. Both proceed from God. A person who has heart but no mind is a psychopath while a person who has mind but no heart is a sociopath. To dismiss a person's thoughts simply because that person has feelings is unreasonable. It would also be unreasonable to expect a person to make decisions that could cause harm to people and not be emotionally affected.
Neither one of these people can lead you. One may know what the correct action is but cannot determine how to accomplish it, the second one may not care what the correct action is so won't take it. Whether he fails because he is incompetent or because he is cruel, you still suffer for his failure.
The first doctor may fail to reset the broken leg because he doesn't know how. The second may not because the patient's suffering doesn't move him from more profitable procedures. In either case, the leg remains un-mended.
When I look at heart without brains, I do not look at brains as being necessarily formal education. A good dose of common sense and wisdom will do just fine so long as the driving motivation is a controlled and disciplined heart.
Without question, feelings are the most volatile part of the human person. There is nothing more beautiful in a person than compassion, empathy and devotion. There is nothing more ugly than vindictiveness, unforgiveness and wrath.
There is nothing more intoxicating than joy and love, nothing more debilitating than anger and despair. Emotion can be a roller coaster and many a medication has been prescribed to help people try to maintain themselves between the 2 extremes.
I think it is a very dangerous thing to consign to medicine what we need to learn to do for ourselves.
When I say this to people I am immediately bombarded with derision that I am not a doctor and accusations that I do not know what it is like to de depressed. As to the former, I will contend that a doctor is useless who cannot deal with the whole person and as to the latter, nothing could be further than the truth- I struggle with severe depression every single day. The accusation that I do not how it feels or -worse yet- I do not have compassion for people who suffer it, is not true. In fact, it is the opposite of the truth.
One can easily see in the cold doctor an absence of love. What is harder to see is that in the emotional- yet incompetent doctor, we may very well have an absence of perfect love. That is what I want to explain. That's what I mean by a controlled and disciplined heart.
For a heart that is not in control and disciplined is a fearful heart. It is afraid to upbraid, afraid to be truthful and afraid to offend. This heart loves you because you love it. This heart loves less to actually love than to be loved. Love has a cost and it's often a steep cost. The godly heart truly loves you and so it loves what is truly best for you even if you, yourself can't see it. The godly heart is willing to be reviled if needs be in order to save the very one it is reviled by.
Loving the person means giving them the advice, counsel and medicine they need even if they do not want to receive it.
This is the love that loves God with it's whole heart:
MATTHEW 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
In looking at the 4 persons, it is the Spiritual person that attempts to connect with God. It is in that person that we pray to God, Receive Communion, go to confession, go to Adoration. This is the person that attempts to connect to God and this is the person directly inspired by God. This person, who we call the Soul, leads the mind to learn and study the truth. Now, Mental person is involved.
Spiritual person- by Grace and Mental person- by knowledge then seek to force Physical Person and Emotional Person to be subjected to the Will of God.
That's when the war starts.
GALATIANS 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy,[b] drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
When Paul talks about the flesh, notice he does not include only bodily sins such as impurity but also includes those sins of the will and emotion like anger and dissension.
The flesh properly understood include physical person and emotional person. That is why Jesus says both strength (physical) and heart (emotional) natures must be given totally to God in the act of love. (Mark 12:30). The reverse is also true. The virtues Paul espouses are Spiritual but they are Mental as well because these virtues (like Self Control) require the discipline of the mind.
This is it. This is the Battle and you are the battlefield.
The soul must inform the mind. The mind must direct the heart. The heart must subject the flesh.
The Mind must direct the heart, the heart must subject the flesh.
The heart directs the traffic. It is the heart that chooses, make no mistake.
MATTHEW 12: 33 “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
It is your heart that decides. God inspires, Satan tempts, the heart decides. Having a right relationship with God requires having a right heart.
I used to think of this in terms of simply the daily battle against temptation. "Well, I didn't murder anyone today so it's a win" or "I committed x sin today so I guess that means I am hopeless and irredeemable". It is said that Satan fears temps the person to commit the sin by convincing him it is of little consequence. Then, afterwards, he moves him to despair by convincing him the sin is unforgivable.
In both cases, Satan is defeating you through the sin of Pride. Presuming in God's Mercy (the assumption that God will forgive without repentance) and Despairing of God's Mercy (the assumption that God will not forgive even with true repentance) are both sins of Pride. They result from us allowing our feelings to override our informed conscience. In other words rather than our mind directing our heart, we allow our heart to direct our mind. When this happens, disaster follows.
When we allow our heart to direct our mind, disaster follows.
Pride is secret sauce of Satan. It is behind every sinful act we commit and every evil thought we harbor. It is cleverly disguised such that we often do not even recognize it. Sure, it is easy to see the sin of pride is the boorish and in the braggart. How much harder is it for us to see sin in the despairing and the despondent?
Pride is the exaggeration of our own significance before God. It is the same in presumption and in despair. Presumption assumes God's forgiveness because we are far too important to God to be condemned by His Justice. Despair assumes the impossibility of God's forgiveness because we imagine the magnitude of our sin to be beyond the capacity of God's Mercy.
Don't believe they are the same? Consider this. You will get what you choose. You can choose God's Mercy or you can choose God's Justice and you will get which one you choose. Just remember that you choose with your will, not with your feelings. The dangerous thing about pride is that it tricks the heart into believing it has chosen one when it has actually chosen the other.
In presumption, you are mocking God's Justice by giving yourself permission to sin on Monday knowing you can always repent on Saturday. You chose God's Justice assuming you would get a chance to repent later.
In despair you are mocking God's Mercy by refusing it even as He extends His hand to offer it to you. If you are truly sorry, would you add to the insult by refusing the Grace He offers? By refusing His Mercy, you once again have chosen His Justice.
The godly heart prays for the Grace not fall and, if it does fall, repents, confesses and prays for the Grace to rise once more.
The godly heart also prays for the gift of satisfaction for the sin and for the help needed to uproot it's causes from in the soul. This will require suffering. The soul knows this and so does the mind. The heart and the flesh recoil at this and the heart which prayed so fervently to be able to do God's will, now cries out in despondency and the sense that it is being treated unfairly.
To ask for courage, you must be exercised by opportunities of fear to overcome. To ask for the ability to control your anger, you must be given adverse people and situations to deal with. To ask to become healthy, you must undergo the painful discipline of proper diet and exercise. To achieve humility, you must suffer humiliation. You may suffer all these things and more. Some people suffer untold things on earth to the point that we cannot make sense of it. Sometimes the suffering seems beyond any proportion.
We feel forsaken, abandoned and beaten.
That is the essence of the heart. It has feelings. Feelings are not facts. Feelings must be put into subjection by facts, not facts by feelings. Rightly ordered feelings are beautiful if the spring from right motivations and lead to right actions. The emotional person is placed in us by God, just like the others. It has a tremendous value and purpose.
Rightly ordered love, rightly ordered indignation and rightly ordered sorrow can produce the tears that sanctify souls. Sadly, the same heart that says I Love You, Lord can also say Non Servium! That's why the heart must be in service to the Soul and Mind and not free to chase whatever it wills, as the world will tell you.