30 May 2014

Happy All the Time

Somewhere along the way, Christians have adopted the (what I believe to be mistaken) notion that emotions are bad, or at least that negative emotions are bad. If we are to believe the song above, we are to be "inright, upright, outright, downright happy all the time."  Is that true?

This morning, I was reading in John 13 where verse 21 says, "Jesus was troubled in his spirit." Don't skip over these words. Ponder what they mean.  When you read them, does it suggest to you that Jesus was "inright, upright, outright, downright happy all the time" or does it suggest something different? If you were one of the 12 others in the room and you looked at Jesus, what do you think you would have seen? Would he have looked happy?  How about peaceful, disconnected, or aloof?

Jesus was troubled.  He was bothered. Eugene Peterson suggests that he was "visibly upset." In other words, he was experiencing negative emotions. He knew he was about to die on the cross and bear his Father's wrath. He also knew that one of his friends and companions was about to betray him for a meager 30 pieces of silver. I even wonder if he was feeling sorrow over knowing the internal turmoil Judas would face when he came to his senses.

Christian, please do not be one who perpetuates the idea that Jesus--and by extension, Christians--are to be "happy all the time". Jesus wasn't. We won't be. Rather, be real with your emotions, with yourself, with others, and before the throne of grace.

PS, parents and Sunday school teachers, stop singing this song with your kids.

No comments: