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What to do with…Disgust | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 7)

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well thank you band for some amazing palm sunday worship and choir for singing that song a reminder of this week this beginning of holy week um yeah if you don’t know center center myself a little bit here if you don’t know yeah this this is palm sunday and it’s the kickoff of holy week as alex explained and um and Jesus does something very counterintuitive palm sunday sort of represents this idea of the triumphal entry it’s sort of this metaphor this image of like the king of kings is it is a sort of inauguration ceremony and then he does something very counterintuitive just like he does often in his teaching and his other actions is he he chooses to die on a roman cross instead of going up and setting up a powerful reign and in keeping with the very counter-intuitive things that Jesus does I will not be giving a palm sunday message this morning instead we’re continuing our series called how do you really feel if you came here for a palm sunday message I’m sorry I didn’t prepare one so I apologize for those of you who don’t know my name’s aaron bjorkland I’m the I’m the worship pastor here so normally I’m up here singing and uh but today I get the opportunity to bring the message but before we do that I’d like to pray because uh once you hear the subject we’re going to be talking about today you might need some prayer I’m just joking so will I all right let’s pray Jesus thank you so much for this morning thank you for this reminder we just heard about in that song that you conceived a plan for redemption thank you for conceiving of a plan for redemption Jesus we’re grateful and lord I pray that this morning as we interact with your scriptures and we we explore and try and learn a little bit more about what it means to live in your way with your heart that you would soften us that you would prepare us you would enable us to encounter you transform us we pray in your beautiful and matchless name amen and amen so some people might think that I have a broken gag reflex see I have a pretty strong stomach and I there’s not a lot in that I’ve encountered in my life that really gets me uh concerned when it comes to foods and stuff like that I think it’s probably because I was born and raised in africa so I encountered a lot of things that maybe some folks here who grew up in america might consider disgusting and I ate bugs I ate various different things I encountered experiences that may have disgusted some of of you out there and I think that part of that and traveling around the world it gave me a little bit of the ability to have a strong stomach now I didn’t really think that much about this talent that I developed in my childhood until later in life when I was working as a at a mission agency and part of my job was to go around the world and visit long-term missionaries and explore the option of of sending teams to other locations around the world and let me tell you by far the best way to do international travel is to visit long-term missionaries you have a built-in translator they know all the right places to go they they um they can bring you away from all of the tourist traps and all that stuff they know the best foods and all the stuff but and I I don’t know if this is true for everyone that visits them but for me as a young leader at the time especially and and maybe they’d heard that I was a missionary kid it was like they had this universal hazing ritual no matter which country I went to where they they said if he passes this test then we can have serious conversation about what he wants to talk about and they wanted me to try the strange foods of their country it didn’t matter where I went they all had these like they were gonna find the weirdest food from that country and then make me try it and it was sort of this hazing ritual now let me tell you I was pretty good at this game see I have a strong stomach and there’s not much that scares me when it comes to food I’m pretty adventurous and so all around the world I would sort of surprise these missionaries by the things that I would dive in and most of the time with a smile on my face except for once

that was when I was traveling in the philippines I was visiting this island called davao and or the city called davao and I was visiting a missionary there and right off the bat I could tell that this particular missionary believed strongly in this hazing ritual because we hadn’t even made our way from the airport to the missionary campgrounds where we’re going to be staying that night and he was already talking about some of the strange foods that he wanted us to try and so I was bracing myself but again I was pretty good at this game so I was ready until he started talking about this balut so for those of you don’t know what balut is balut is a fertilized duck embryo inside so the this is probably the most palatable photograph I could find of this for you because inside of these eggs is actually a little duck that then they steam and uh yeah it’s got little feathers on it inside and it’s a partially developed duck egg and you crack it open and you you drink the juices out of this little egg and then you gobble down the protein part um what we’ll need is to say I think I’d met my match because I was starting to get a little concerned because they were serving this on every corner and this particular missionary was like oh yeah you’re going to get to try balloon you’re going to get to try to loot and I was like oh man fortunately we didn’t stop we had to get make it to our compound um for dinner uh and so we we didn’t do it right then but he promised that we were going to get an opportunity to do that and then we got there and we met in this outdoor dining hall for dinner and they brought out one of these this is called durian fruit and for those of you who have never experienced durian fruit some people call it stinky fruit and I didn’t know exactly what what was wrong with it at first until they cracked it open and let me tell you it smells kind of like three week old rotting trash mixed with bananas at least that’s what it smelled like to me let me tell that one of the only other foods that I don’t like is bananas and so but I I kind of felt like I could do this I could do this it’s fine um veloute not so much but this I was okay with and I I I was gonna do this but they decided not to serve it right away instead they were gonna serve it for dessert so they left it there on the table we had a great meal a wonderful time wonderful conversation and the conversation was so stimulating they just forgot to serve us the durian fruit so we went to bed got up the next morning went there for breakfast and to the same outdoor dining hall and there was this durian fruit sitting in there on the table covered in hundreds maybe thousands of little black ants and so it’s smelly and it’s covered in ants and oh man the missionary just lamented and he just said oh I’m sorry I’m sorry we’re gonna find you another durian you’re gonna have another chance to pass my hazing ritual this is really important stuff really important and what I did next I didn’t realize the benefits of this until later but what I did next really helped me out later in my trip I walked over to that durian and I grabbed a piece of it and I blew off a couple of the ants on it and I just ate it right there and this missionary was so impressed and appalled maybe by the fact that I was eating durian with ants covered all over it that he never even he’s like there’s no way I can face this kid he’s got I mean he’s past the test flying colors so he never asked me to eat balut and that’s the story of how I avoided having to eat balut so if you hadn’t guessed the subject for this morning is the emotion of disgust and so if you’re completely disgusted by my sermon I’m winning I’m winning so uh at the end of the last service someone said man that sermon was disgusting I was like oh so heartwarming and so I love that all right so we’re talking about the emotion of disgust or contempt we find ourselves continuing this series titled how do you really feel in this series we’ve been exploring these painful less desirable less enjoyable emotions that we encounter in the human condition and we’ve been asking ourselves uh what what does the way of Jesus have to teach us about these emotions if we’re gonna fall in the way of Jesus how should we engage some of these more painful emotions and along the way we’ve been asking ourselves how do we deal with this and if you’ve been following with us you may have noticed that alex has sort of returned to this sort of like thesis that’s over this whole series and it’s found in this quote by this guy named david benner it says this feelings bring new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted feelings give us information new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted in other words understanding your emotions makes you smarter that’s why we’re talking about this and and this is so true and that’s sort of a casual way of saying that but it’s actually it helps you engage the world around you in a really really important way we’ve all heard of this idea of iq right iq I think it stands for intelligence quotient it’s a it’s a tool that can measure someone’s mental capacity and and a lot of times people can determine how much an individual will succeed in life and there’s all these theories around iq but let me say something that is really fascinating this guy

travis bradberry in the emotional intelligence 2.0 book said this he’s actually explored this idea of emotional intelligence and he said it’s actually a better predictor the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence so so this is why this is really important stuff for us to learn to figure out if we if we can learn how to engage our own emotional world in healthy ways and understand the emotional world of other human beings we’re going to be better equipped to exist as human beings in God’s earth this is important stuff and that’s why we’re talking about it and you’re probably sitting there thinking yeah yeah I get this alex already told us this why are you telling us again it was my last ditch effort to make you think that this is important to deal with the emotional world but you’re also probably thinking okay I get it some of the painful emotions let’s deal with them in healthy ways but really disgust I already know how to deal with that emotion don’t eat the durian fruit with ants all over it that’s how you deal with the emotion of disgust right so if that’s if that’s what you’re thinking uh you’re probably right maybe that is part of what dealing with this emotion is about but as we’ve also explored each week as we explore one emotion at a time there’s some nuances there’s some subtlety to these emotions and they’re complicated and we’ve been learning this idea emotions are good are God designed but but but they can either function or they can malfunction when our emotional world begins to malfunction it actually hurts us it actually damages our brains our neurology it damages our relationships with other people it damages all these sorts of things and the same thing is true when we mishandle and let our emotion of disgust go off the rails so let’s start by exploring the definition of this word disgust disgust is a strong aversion for example to taste smell or touch of something deemed revolting so this sermon is disgusting that’s physical disgust physical disgust is actually this physiological response in our bodies when we smell something or see something that potentially is harming to us it could be harmful it may carry pathogens things like vomit and feces and durian fruit covered with ants and all of these sorts of things these are the kinds of things that we we sort of recoil against we make these faces it’s a physiological response to protect our bodies and it’s God designed but that’s not the only part of this definition it’s also a strong aversion toward a person or behavior deemed morally repugnant and there’s the rub

you see this is called moral disgust and the reason we’re talking about this and we’re spend a little bit of time talking about this moral discussion because it’s about how we interact with other human beings made in the image of God and when we feel moral disgust for someone else who’s made in the image of God it affects our relationships and when we let this emotion get off the rails it can be damaging and hurtful

now if you’re out there and you’re you don’t call yourself a follower of Jesus if you’re tuning in online thanks for tuning in with us and worshiping and that sort of thing but if you’re out there and you don’t call yourself a christian or a follower of Jesus maybe what I’m about to say it won’t surprise you but it also may be that what I’m about to say is the reason you don’t want to call yourself a christian and you don’t think you buy into this whole christianity thing but I’m going to say it because those of us who do call ourselves christians or followers of Jesus need to hear it so it might not be a surprise to you but it might be a surprise to us did you know that the leading reasons for that people give for why they do not feel compelled by christianity have nothing to do with Jesus did you know that the leading reasons why people are not compelled by christianity have nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus the leading reasons that people give have to do with the emotion that they feel from the church about them they think that we are disgusted by them in this report by the barna group this barna research group 90 of people between the ages of 16 to 29 felt that christians were judgmental when they’re feeling that from us what they’re feeling is they’re feeling like you christians are disgusted by me my choices my behavior I don’t know about you but that sounds like a little bit of a problem but this gets really tricky doesn’t it if you don’t call yourself a christian let me explain to you why this is tricky for some of us who do because we we encounter this teaching of Jesus to love our neighbor as ourself right to that sort of sounds like the the the classic accept people right love it’s beautiful good all right got it but then the scriptures also seem to lay out this high moral standard about how we’re supposed to conduct ourselves and the things that are good and the things that are bad and then we we we’re sort of caught in between this situation how do we love while also not compromising how do we love someone who’s living in a way that we think is contradictory to the scriptures and then while not at the same time like feeling like we’re condoning that thing it gets tricky right if anyone else has had these questions it’s this where is the line between love and leniency if you’ve had that question that question is actually sort of hovering around this emotion of disgust because again this this emotion of disgust is is is a physiological response to something that could potentially be harmful to us and moral disgust is sort of like this moral response to something or behavior or people or kinds of people that might be potentially dangerous to our spiritual lives or something and so it gets it gets down into our hearts it’s a hard thing to deal with well I think if we can figure out what to do with this emotion of disgust we’ll have an answer at least a start to an answer to some of these questions the scriptures have us a great uh story for us to help us with this because the early church wrestled with the same thing in fact God’s followers have been wrestling with these similar questions throughout all of time if you’re the kind of person who wants to follow along you can follow along we’re going to be in the book of acts chapter 10 today and while while you’re turning there let me explain to you what’s been going on in the story so far um acts was written by a guy named luke he actually most scholars think that he is using peter as a primary reference peter was one of Jesus’s closest followers arguably he’s sort of the leader of the early church in a lot of ways and um so far Jesus has has walked the earth he’s taught he’s gathered his disciples he’s died he was buried he rose again from the dead and then he came back and he commissions his disciples to form the early church and to take his message of goodness and beauty and love and the forgiveness of sin all around the world and he does that one of the places he does that commissioning is here in acts one verse eight but you will receive power when you have when the holy spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in jerusalem and in judea and samaria and to the ends of the earth and there’s some other texts where you can read about this commissioning of Jesus and it’s this grand vision of his goodness and his forgiveness and the resurrection of the dead and it’s a beautiful beautiful thing but when we read it we might miss some of the challenge the angst that they might be feeling when they’re hearing this commissioning and it’s found in this idea of the going and bringing this to the to samaria see samaria was the religious sellouts they’re the they’re the backsliders they’re the ones who don’t really take their faith of the true pure holy moral faith that seriously they’re they’re the disgusting ones I’m supposed to take it there and and then to make it worse and to the ends of the earth the ends of the earth that includes uh rome this this empire that’s ruling over us and that includes egypt this nation that can consistently derails um the israelite people along around their history and so they were actually trained from childhood to be disgusted by these other people groups and rightfully so in fact there’s all these warnings about over interacting with these groups because throughout israel’s history they’d encountered some of these groups and they started to interact with them a little bit too much and then it turned into worshipping some of their gods and then eventually they had shifted their worship from the one true God to these idols and that sort of thing and so in this season of the israel of the jewish nation these children were taught from infancy that they should be disgusted and avoid these things otherwise they might be contaminated by them and so this grand vision that Jesus has to bring his goodness in the world the biggest barrier to that is this the biggest threat to God’s plan for the world was the well-intentioned moral disgust in his own disciples

the well-intentioned moral disgust in his own disciples and I think the holy spirit and his wisdom knew that these early christians while they’re trying to figure out how do I live in this way of Jesus how do I take this message of Jesus to the world they the holy spirit knew that they needed some training wheels when it came to this particular issue that’s where we pick up our story in acts chapter 10. we meet this guy last service I forgot his name initially it took me a few minutes um people are even shouting at me and I couldn’t even remember his name I was like what in the world I’m staring at it cornelius is the centurion this roman centurion and we’re introduced to him and aside from being a gentile a person from that disgusting group he was also a roman centurion he’s part of the military that is overruling and sort of like heavy-handedly ruling the israelite people aside from that he’s a pretty good guy you know he’s actually a God fear the text tells us he he that means he worships the God of the jews he gives to the poor and all these sorts of things and so right off the bat there’s a sort of like mixture of emotions about this guy he’s like good and but he’s also sort of this disgusting gentile and that sort of thing but an angel meets with him and challenges cornelius to reach out and and send for peter who we were just talking about one of the closest disciples of Jesus and to bring in bring peter and then do whatever peter says well cornelius being a God fear does just that and then while those while he sends some of his messengers to go get peter we pick up our story in verse nine it says this and about noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city peter went up on the roof of where he is staying to pray he became hungry and wanted something to eat and while the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance and he saw a heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners it contained all kinds of four-footed animals as well as reptiles and birds then a voice told him get up peter kill and eat surely not lord peter replied I have never eaten anything impure or unclean the voice spoke to him a second time do not call anything impure that God has made clean this happened three times and immediately the sheet was taken back up to heaven so he’s he’s in this sort of trance state he has this vision and peter’s right off the bat maybe we don’t pick up on some of the subtleties going on here culturally but he’s disgusted by this moment he’s got the sheep some durian some balut in there

no but so culturally speaking some of the animals that are mentioned that are in this that are in this sheet are reptiles and these things that the the law of God who God gave God gave this law had said these things shall not be eaten in other words he had been trained from a childhood to be disgusted so right off the bat there’s our emotion right he has physical disgust for this whole interaction but it happens three times and then there’s this challenge do not call something unclean that I’ve made clean and I think he’s like he’s I’m trying to track here I’m I’m trying to understand what’s going on and while he’s pondering this the spirit then nudges on him and says by the way there’s some gentiles downstairs and they’re going to ask you to come with them go

and he’s like okay I’m tracking I think they he goes downstairs he tells them I’m I’m the one you’re looking for and he invites them in for that night they explain the whole angel visiting their master situation and then he goes with them the next day the next day peter started out with them and some of the believers from joppa went along the following day he arrived in caesarea cornelius was expecting them and he called together his relatives and his close friends awesome so uh yeah let’s go to a place a gentile place with disgusting people and then let’s just call them all let’s just make a big old party of it right so cornelius was gathers all of his relatives together as close friends as peter entered the house cornelius met with him and fell at his feet in reverence but peter made him get up stand up he said I’m only a man myself but peter is starting to track peter’s starting to get what what the holy spirit’s trying to teach him here so he’s like well I guess I’m going to preach I’m going to preach a sermon so he he starts to preach he starts to preach about this vision that Jesus has for changing the world this kingdom of God he talks about the resurrection he talks about how Jesus came and taught and he and died for our sins he talks about this stuff and and he maybe just right when he thinks that thinks that his sermon is going super duper well uh he’s actually cut off the holy spirit’s like yeah yeah yeah good sermon well peter’s still speaking these words the holy spirit come came on all of them who heard the message like the spirit just interrupts the moment it says yeah good sermon all right I’m gonna just show up

the circumcised believers in other words the clean ones the morally clean the the holy ones who had come with peter were astonished that the gift of the holy spirit had been poured out even on the disgusting gentiles I’m adding these little terms of disgusting to help you this is how they would feel about this moment for the for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God then peter said surely no one can stand in the way of them being baptized with water they received the same holy spirit just as we have so he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus christ then they ask peter to stay with them for a few days

that’s another step in this test for peter to go into a gentile’s house to have dinner sleep over that was like a different level of association

but I think peter’s starting to get it he’s really starting to understand what the spirit’s trying to teach him about what to do with this emotion of moral disgust and I think he’s starting to remember maybe maybe the text doesn’t say this but I like to think that maybe he remembers that this isn’t the first time he’s stayed with a gentile in fact earlier when Jesus was walking and teaching and raising up his disciples they’d stayed with a gentile before maybe the only other time in the new testament to this point Jesus he meets the samaritan woman along the way he encounters her he sees her he meets her needs emotionally all these sorts of things and she starts to embrace her his way and then she goes and tells the whole town and then this happened many of the samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony and he told me everything I ever did so when the samaritans came again samaritans they were the disgusting ones these sellouts samaritans came to him they urged him to stay with them and he stayed two days peter was there and I think he says oh rabbi teacher lord king of kings lord I see you’ve done this and so I feel free to stay at cornelius’s house

now be awesome if the story ended there lesson learned you know but it doesn’t end quite yet because the word starts to spread

acts chapter 11 the apostles and believers throughout judea heard that the gentiles also had received the word of God so when peter went up to jerusalem the circumcised again the morally clean people believers criticized him and said you went into the house of uncircumcised men and and and you ate with them you see for for an ancient jew to eat with someone was to like identify with them to associate with them the same thing that was going to go into your body the same food that went into your body and sustained your life was going to go into their body and sustain their life it was like becoming one in some way shape or form it was like embracing them wholeheartedly and they were just maybe this is a little bit of how they were feeling

no way you’re gonna you’re you’re gonna eat with them I can’t believe it and so peter is sort of left out on a limb right he’s supposed to be this leader of the church and he’s already doing really disgusting things with really disgusting people but I think peter is equipped with something that enables him to stand up to the lesson that he’d learned to stand up to them with this lesson that he had learned you see he was equipped peter was equipped with relationship with cornelius that equips him to deal with their disgust so they’re disgusted but this is no longer a theory to peter no this isn’t just a vision that he had about some sheets and some weird animals no no no this is cornelius this was the guy who he’d had dinner with this is the guy who he had breakfast with he’d met his kids he met his wife he knew cornelius and there’s something powerful about relationship that helps us to relinquish our disgust relationships helps overcome moral disgust because it humanizes people and this was about another human being made in the image of God for peter now and so he boldly stands up for the lesson that he’s learned and he he starts to tell them the story one of the ways that you can tell if you’re reading the scriptures and trying to figure out what the author wants you to really focus in on is just pay attention to how much an author an ancient author would give to a subject how much real estate on the page because it was an expensive thing to write back then it was expensive there’s parchment and all this stuff and so they were highly efficient with their communication like it was like a communication on concentrate sort of situation but when they wanted to highlight something for you they would repeat it or they’d they’d extend it out and sort of milk it for all it’s worth and it was their way of saying don’t miss this this is really really important and this was so really so important to dr luke who wrote this for us and to peter who is probably the primary source for this text that they tell almost the entire story all over again in chapter 11.

it’s like they’re trying to say you can’t miss this this was like a turning point for this church we’re trying to figure out how to follow away of Jesus and bring this grand vision and this moment was so so critical for us so don’t miss it I’m not going to read that whole thing for you but he sums it up with this he tells the whole story about cornelius and about the vision and about the sheets and do not be disgusted by things that I’m I’ve made clean or don’t call it unclean all of this and then he says this as I was speaking to cornelius and his family the holy spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning then I remembered this voice in the back of my head of my savior Jesus said or of john john baptized with water but you will be baptized with the holy spirit spirit so if God gave them the same gift he gave to us who believed in the lord Jesus christ who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way when they heard this they had no further objections and praised God saying so then even even even gentiles even gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life

so peter had been telling this story already in the book of acts to fellow jews about the forgiveness of sin

but it was part of his interaction with cornelius where he realized that forgiveness and the way of Jesus was in an invitation not just for it was an invitation for all people not just his people the cross the doorway to a new interaction with God and this grand vision that Jesus was painting was open to all people and the early church partially from peter’s leadership started to understand this truth they started to know where to put this moral disgust and they they learned it so well that it transformed all of history since secular historians to this day have said that some of the things that this early church did with their what would normally disgust people was one of the reasons why the early church has changed all of western history

the early church learned to set aside both moral and physical disgust for the sake of love

if Jesus dealt with every moral failure on the cross is there any place for moral disgust it’s a question you might be asking so okay I got it just I can feel physical disgust because I don’t want to get uh sick or something like that but maybe I’m supposed to just take moral disgust and set it aside well as we learned earlier actually every emotion is God designed but they can either function or they can malfunction and here’s what I would like to propose to you is that there is a place for moral disgust maybe you’ve heard a story about someone who was horribly abused a child someone taken advantage of and you’re just disgusted by it

moral disgust is a healthy reaction to the dehumanization of another person

you can feel disgusted towards something it’s like your way it’s your bodies and your minds and your soul’s way of saying that’s not okay it’s an emotion that says that’s just not how it’s supposed to be but it’s more than that this emotion is more than that if you’re a follower of Jesus it’s an invitation to re-humanize the moment

so when it swells up in you it’s actually saying step in and re-humanize this moment if you don’t remember anything else I say maybe just remember this moral disgust is an invitation to re-humanize not to dehumanize and it can be one or the other when you feel that emotion it’s you there’s someone in the story or something in the store that someone is being dehumanized when you feel moral disgust and you’re supposed to step in and say I see this moment and it’s disgusting and it’s horrible but I would like to rehumanize this moment or if you feel disgust towards the humans in that situation you actually dehumanize them a few weeks ago kevin butcher preached a message on shame and one of the things he talked about in this message is that shame is probably one of the most damaging emotions that a human can experience and I think after studying this subject this week I think that when someone feels like you are disgusted by them it is probably the leading reason why people feel shame so we we we’ve gotta we’ve gotta be really careful with this emotion and how we portray it towards others because it could damage them and shame so back to our question where is this line between love and leniency the only law for a christian is the law of love that’s where the line is love and man I’m I’ve got to hurry up here so um Jesus Jesus taught this and he made this really clear to his disciples actually when he was asked a very similar question about uh about what things to prioritize as far as moral things are concerned Jesus actually taught in matthew 22 he says this love the lord your God with all of your heart with all of your soul with all your mind this is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it love your neighbor as yourself all of the law all of the moral rules all the regulations all the things that you thought made you disgusting are taken care of if you can obey these laws love God and love others so what are we supposed to do with all those rules what are we supposed to do with all those rules how do we not get corrupted by the world around us and all this stuff well let me tell you all of the rules of scripture all of the commands of scripture are not about you getting to the good place when you die anymore it’s not about that what those things are is their invitations to life and no one has ever been shamed into the kingdom of God no one has ever been shamed into a better moral life no only love is invitationally strong enough to cause someone to take to go from this direction in their life to this direction in life so there’s one rule for us as christians and that’s to love and then maybe if relationship is restored enough

you can invite them into a different way of living a more beautiful more whole way of living but the rule is love the band’s not already up here yet I think last time I invited them up and they were already up here I’m going to invite them up they’re going to close our time with a song

now the early church they got this they started to figure this out so well that it actually kicked off the fastest most beautiful and majestic revival in all of human history in ads 165 to 270 there were two plagues the antonian and the cyprian plague and during those plagues the christians the followers of Jesus did something that the human history had never seen before they actually started to care for the sick they risked their own lives they took their physical and their moral disgust for outsiders and other people and they said it along on the side and they said I’m gonna step in and I’m gonna care for people and because of that action one the most beautiful fastest growing revival in human history broke out and that’s why the church grow grew so quickly and that’s why the church to this day has changed the world we can’t afford to get this wrong

we can’t afford to get this wrong when we make the world feel disgusted we’re getting it wrong instead we show up with love at the risk of our own lives just like Jesus did at the risk of his life not just the risk he actually gave his life for disgusting morally reprobate human beings like you and like me that’s our leading voice to the world

so if you’re asking okay how do all right I get it

how do I go about doing this how do I deal with this these emotions that I was trained as a child in my religious upbringing to to put people in boxes and their behavior and their lifestyle and their sexual orientation their political world view and all of these different things what do I do with those feelings here’s a quick few tips

respond as discussed with a relational question if you feel that emotion get to know the person ask him where you’re from

how’d you get here why are you doing this job get to know them it’s amazing how disarming relationship can be to this feeling of moral disgust tell an imaginary backstory about the person that disgusts you this helps you maybe rewire your response to them if you hear a story about someone who’s done something done some heinous crime and you’re just sort of disgusted by their presence maybe back up and say well maybe maybe the reason they abused that person was because they were abused as a child maybe maybe they were so hurt and so wracked by shame that the only framework they have for human existence is to hurt other people hurt people hurt people and it disarms the moment it allows you to step in with love ask yourself how can I rehumanize this moment remember that death isn’t the worst outcome you’re completely safe to enter into disgusting moments because death isn’t the worst outcome you’re completely safe to enter into morally disgusting moments because the cross has paid for it all

so the band’s going to be singing this song and I want to point out this pre-chorus just a little bit for us and then we’re going to sing into this this is about us encountering the world well and it’s about us bringing revival to a world that needs the way of Jesus to see this grand vision that Jesus talked about come to fruition there’s no prison wall that you can’t break through Jesus in fact he came from clean morally pure heaven to disgusting earth and became a man in order to reach us no moment you can’t move mount mountain you can’t move all things are possible there’s no broken body no disgusting broken body that you can’t raise no soul that you can’t save all things are possible we’ve got to get this right because if we get this right then we might see some of the move of God that the early church saw they saw it because they actually took this invitation seriously all right let’s pray Jesus help us to love people well we ask amen

yes God we ask you to pour it out to pour out your love through us to the world around us we need you lord we need you to give us wisdom this to know what to do with our emotions to know how to lean in and how to meet people where they are to know how to show love in a way that heals help us we pray this week

amen amen thank you sal thanks for coming this morning uh if you want to know a little bit more about the subject and have more questions about it you can tune in for our live stream midweek with alex and I will be discussing the subject a little bit deeper if you have questions you can also post in comments there and ask more questions if you still have someone answered questions along the way but otherwise have a great holy week come back enjoy the seder dinner good friday celebrate with us resurrection sunday next week let’s leave with love south

you

What to do with…Disgust | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 7)2022-07-14T13:34:45-06:00

What to do with…Fear & Anxiety | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 6)

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good morning friends how you doing today my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting we’re really glad you are visiting great to have you here today uh I will acknowledge the bear in the room in a second but first let’s kind of inside let me just say like I loved singing abide with me with you I loved especially that it was the correct tune I have this tension sometimes because sometimes being over here from a different country you guys you move the tunes around I’m like I’m not happy but but what’s special to me about this one is it has this weird tradition back home it’s sung before the fa cup final this huge soccer match every single year so 80 000 fans in a stadium come together and sing abide with me and so there’s always this incredible image of like this 300 pound english guy who’s like two pints in working on three kind of like just just there roaring out help of the helpless lord abide with me and you’re like do you know what you’re singing but I’m so glad you are singing it it just has this incredible vibe what an incredible hymn we’re in the series on emotions and today we get to talk about fear and a few uh maybe a month ago maybe a year ago now I brought my pal red bow bear here he was going to be on stage for the whole time uh but aaron didn’t want to share the stage with him for worship he said he couldn’t take himself seriously leading worship with a smiling bear next to him and even teresa objected to sharing this stage with him for announcements but he’s here now um and he speaks to a process that goes on in our brains when we think about fear first of all what we’re going to talk about is we’re going to talk about a biological process something that is happening within you there is a moment where you encounter something that is fearful and your brain kicks into gear it is to imagine what it is to kind of get a grip of it is to to imagine just sitting next to a bear and all the emotions that you might feel and because the internet has everything we can now see what this looks like because this photographer was out just hanging out by a river and who should wander into the sea but this giant bear who simply came to be involved in what was going on no real threat he’s just there to hang out and so the clip is a little longer and I remember I was like watching it by myself the first time not with hundreds of you but he will in a second just just take a seat what is your response when a bear wanders in to the scene for some of you it’s fright and then like flight right I’m going to run away I’m going to get out of here and then for a couple of you who are hunters out there you’re like just give me a chance I will take this guy down there’s not going to be any problems and yet it seems in this moment there’s nothing to be scared about he just he just wants to be there in actual fact you don’t need to be afraid of despair it seems just like I would suggest for those of you that are you don’t need to be afraid of this bear either he’s pretty pretty harmless this is the brain response that is going on when we encounter something like this we have this thing called the amygdala which perceives fear it can do that in a couple of ways it can do it really slowly or intel and intelligently or it can do it really quickly when it needs to and so the reason it does that is this when you encounter something dangerous there’s a couple of potential consequences supposing you’re wandering along a pathway and and you don’t see a bear this time you see a snake or what you assume to be a snake and so your brain kicks into gear your amygdala fires and you jump out of the way as quickly as you can now it could be that what you see isn’t a snake it’s actually a garden hose pipe it’s very normal very undangerous but here’s the thing the reason your amygdala has to fire so quickly is this there are different levels of consequences to seeing a hose pipe and thinking it’s a snake than there are to seeing a snake and thinking it’s a hose pipe the first one makes you look a little bit silly the second one can get you killed you jump and react quickly like oh it’s just a hose pipe you feel a bit foolish even if you’re by yourself when it’s actually a snake you have to get out of the way quickly or you might die your brain works to protect you it is a safety mechanism it is really important but then there’s another thing that takes place which is this prefrontal cortex activity which is to say there is a danger danger is here is it really do I need to react to this moment I’d love to tell you a story about the first time I got to go on a mission trip I didn’t get the sanitized experience of a mission trip that many teenagers get I’d been abroad a couple of times actually only to ski which is not particularly dangerous except because some people are bad at skiing but in this in this trip I didn’t get to go with a wise caring youth pastor who said I’m going to plan everything to mitigate the dangers I went with a couple of other pastors who were not good at planning trips so we got to the airport I didn’t even have a ticket with my correct name on it somehow managed to get a six-hour flight and then a nine-hour flight then a one-hour flight and a 10-hour boat ride to this island in the southern philippines turns out when we got there there was an uprising going on so the southern half of the island was trying to overtake the northern part of the island where we were staying so arriving in town we were told we can’t stay in the village we were going to stay in we’re going to move you to a city because you’ll be safer there so I said okay whatever you think is best and I remember this moment the first night lying there and all I could hear was bang bang bang bang bang bang and there’s just the sound of gunfire now they’ve warned us they are kidnapping western tourists right now to hold you for ransom and I can hear what I think is gunfire I have this sense of the danger that is coming and I’m about 10 years younger than everyone else on the trip so lying there I looked to my older friends to give me some wise advice and I said guys I hear gunfire what should we do and they said we should pray and I said do you have any better ideas like do you do you have any like practical solutions that might help again I was only 19. I may have answered differently now it’s up to you to figure that out but I had this moment said like what was that it and for the next however long I lay there processing exactly this question my amygdala telling me danger is here and and then my brain the rest of my brain processing is it really what should we do is there an action we should take it turns out and I know that I have a habit of leaving you hanging with stories and not completing them I will complete this one it turns out that simply it was the chef for the conference we were holding for all the local pastors who had chosen 11 o’clock in the evening to use a machete to chop up a cow something that you rarely say in america and and that was what the sound was it was nothing to worry about actually my prefrontal cortex could have safely said there is no danger here you are fine we have this brain process that works when we encounter something that we might be fearful of occasionally you meet people that you’re like do you actually have this process this is my son jude he loves to climb stuff and and he was told by his sister just the other day uh don’t climb this it’s scary and jude turned around and said it’s not scary for me he’s got this sense of no I’m going to be fine this picture will cause anxiety for some of you this is alex hanold free solo climbing el capitan uh he has no ropes he’s just there thousands of feet above the ground just doing his thing and making it happen his brain is fascinating he goes all over the world and does these things so on one level people don’t understand why he does this and how he does this his traveling companion jimmy chin says that there are villages in parts of the world that are not regularly visited that actually believe alex is a witch of some kind because they’re like why how can you do this this is not possible nobody does these things but scientists have looked at him and said I don’t think your amygdala is functioning at all I question if you have one because this isn’t how somebody should operate so they put him in a machine to scan his brain and what they discovered was fascinating he does have an amygdala and it works great but his prefrontal cortex works great as well so when he experiences something that he might be fearful of he asks a couple of questions and this is a picture of him just staring out fear in the face it’s a verb that is known as hanolding now because he’s the only person crazy enough to do it he asks these questions is it true is the fear true the situation how I’m understanding it that anxiety is it true and then is it helpful he knows that when he’s climbing something like this anxiety is not his friend fear is not his friend it will make him worse what he’s trying to do and the chances of him falling become greater his companion I just mentioned jimmy chin says this fear is always there it’s a survival instinct you just need to know how to manage it when we talk about fear we are talking about a response to events around us something happens a bear wanders into the scene and sits in a chair and we have to decide is there a response to this or am I over reacting oh that it were that simple right we just know that it isn’t one psychologist said this about fear as an emotion elizabeth kubler-ross said deep down at our cause there are only two emotions love and fear all positive emotions come from love or negative or difficult emotions they come from fear doesn’t that tap into the story we began all this with this garden story this adam and eve story we watch as eve encounters and converses with this serpent with no obvious sign of fear fear is an after woods response and afterwards emotion what we see is this fall we have emotions before it but the fall introduces what you might call emotional suffering and c.s lewis once said fear of all emotions is is the worst in terms of the experience it is painful to anticipate painful to experience and painful to remember it is all negative part of the reason we’re tapping into this series on emotions and just a couple of weeks left before we get to easter is there’s this idea that feelings bring us new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted I would suggest to you this understanding our emotions is part of the work of formation one psychologist looked at Jesus life and said there are 39 distinct emotions in Jesus life and he was incredibly emotionally healthy when we work hard to become emotionally healthy people we actually become more like Jesus we are more shaped in his way and more suited to live in the world around us so as we process this emotion of fear one of the things I think you’ll see is this there are loads of emotions we experience that we may struggle to identify really fear is what we’re experiencing sometimes you might be sad but really what you’re experiencing is fear you might be angry but really what you’re experiencing is fear somewhere it seems like fear is the cause of so many of the negative and difficult emotions that we struggle with and I would suggest while there’s that brain response fear often leads to another emotion that just statistically I would say 40 percent of us would admit to struggling with regularly so let’s jump into this story about a guy called abraham and see how fear relates to this secondary emotion that I’ll unveil in a second genesis chapter 20 verse one to two now abraham moved on from there into the region of the negev and lived between kadesh and sher if you don’t know who abraham is that’s absolutely fine I find abraham is really the first person that the jewish story is heavily based on it’s regularly described as abraham’s family God calls him and has him move very rare for the time from one geographical location to another and he now finds himself living amongst a group of people that he does not know this is a fairly new thing for this biblical story there’s the beginning when everyone lives in the same area and now we’re further on in the journey and lots of people live in lots of different spaces different languages now different religions and abraham encounters this new group of people for a while he stayed in guerrera and there abraham said of his wife sarah she is my sister then abimelech king of guerra sent for sarah and took her now this I’ve got to admit if you’re new to the bible is weird language this doesn’t fit in our current understanding of what societies look like a man comes into a city he has a beautiful woman with him and he says she’s my sister because he’s worried that people will kill him so they can take his wife they take her anyway but he feels like his life is going to be preserved and that for him he describes as a win that had been like king of grier sent for sarah and he took her what happens next in the story God came to abimelech in a dream one night and said to him you are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken she is a married woman where does the story go from here now abimelech had not gone near us so he said lord will you destroy an innocent nation did he not say to me she is my sister and didn’t she also say he is my brother I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands I’ve been like he’s kind of saying in terms of the customs of the day everything I did is above board I have operated in good faith there shouldn’t be any punishment here and interestingly God seems to agree with him then God said to him in the dream yes I know you did this with a clear conscience and so I have kept you from sinning against me that is why I did not let you touch her now return the man’s wife for he is a prophet and he will pray for you and you will live but if you do not return you may be sure that all who belong to you will die it’s a fascinating story in which the person who is purported to be this word prophet this man of God acts in a way that is out of keeping with God’s character and the other guy acts more according with God’s character it doesn’t fit all of our expectations of what a story in the bible should look like early the next morning abimelech summoned all his officials and when he told them all that had happened they were very much afraid then abimelech called abraham and said what have you done to us how have I wronged you that you brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom you have done things to me that should never be done literally it could be summed up in one world of one sentence like what the heck what are you doing this isn’t fair this isn’t right you shouldn’t have done these things and I’ve been like asked abraham what was your reason for doing this and abraham is going to give a reason but I think his reason needs a little bit of unpacking abraham replied I said to myself there is surely no fear of God in this place and they will kill me because of my wife abraham essentially says I was afraid I was fearful I had a moment where a bear came out of the woods and I just responded accordingly see this as an act of self-preservation I was just doing what needed to be done you might argue abraham experiences circumstances to which fear is a natural response he doesn’t know these people they don’t speak the same language they don’t have the same religion he is fearful for his life so he takes steps to make sure he gets to keep on living the most basic instinct of all human beings throughout the old testament it’s probably important to note this word fear is kind of up for grabs because it can be one of two words we would translate it fear but both of them fear but they are two separate words one is the word yura which means the fear of God respect and or this idea that God is above and beyond us the other one is the word yare which is the fear of white what might happen terror of the moment and you see both of them in this passage there is a moment where abraham says you guys don’t fear God you don’t respect him you don’t obey him ironically it’s abraham that’s kind of treading some weird lines with God right there and so because of who you are because I don’t trust you I became fearful I acted out of fear I acted as you would expect someone to act when there is a bear in the room it is terrifying you go into self-preservation mood fight or flight you just do what you have to do to survive except abraham’s lying this isn’t a fear thing this isn’t a reaction thing he planned this all along I would suggest abraham isn’t acting out of fear certainly not fear in the sense of his amygdala is firing and he has to figure out what to do instantly look at this part of the story he does come clean a little bit later when God made me wander from my father’s household I said to her this is how you can show your love to me everywhere we go say of me he is my brother this isn’t even the first time abraham has tried this trick he tried it when they were egypt and it worked badly then as well he’s now in this repeated pattern where he has made this decision no I’m going to lie he’s in this repeated pattern where he has an imagination of just how bad the story can get he expects it to go badly so he acts accordingly he’s not operating out of fear I would suggest abraham is operating where so many of us and me and myself operate he’s operating out of anxiety abraham experiences circumstances that make fear a natural response but it is anxiety that leads him to act as he does he has a pre-recording of just where this is going to go I’m going to get to this town they’re going to look at my wife they’re going to realize she’s attractive and realize that if they kill me they can take her again completely far into our culture but for that time absolutely considered normal behavior he has this understanding of just where the story will go and he plays it over and over again in his mind and haven’t we been where abraham is okay you probably haven’t had the exact scenario you probably haven’t wandered into a town and met a load of people and been concerned that they might think that they can take your wife from you or your husband from you you haven’t gone through that exact thing but haven’t you and I done the thing where we have like a pre-recording or an imagination of just what’s going to happen in a certain scenario we almost expect it before it happens isn’t that the difference between like anxiety and fear it’s that feeling that you get when there’s like a job interview coming up there’s just a lurking feeling in the pit of your stomach if I had to describe somewhat the difference between fear and anxiety fear is the moment you’re walking through a forest or a piece of woodland and a bear jumps out of you and everything responds in your brain anxiety is the feeling of starting the walk and spending the whole of the time just wondering when is this bear going to appear and what am I going to do when it gets there it’s the expectation that there’s something just around the corner that we we just don’t know how to deal with it’s the expectation that the story won’t be good the story won’t be what we hoped it will be it’s the expectation that we just aren’t sure that God really cares about our personal story he’s really interested in us we fear the story won’t be good and there’s that lurking suspicion even when there is no bear that one is just just around the corner what do we do with that what do we do with our anxiety what do we do with that constant sense that waking up in the middle of the night trying to figure out every situation that you can with a relationship every situation you can in family life every situation with your business with your work life every situation that you have with the broken car or the car that you’re sure is going to break at any moment and cost you an absolute fortune it can be all sorts of things but anxiety I would suggest is everywhere now may be helpful at this point to define it maybe just a little bit more and firstly to say anxiety is incredibly complex I can speak into the spiritual component of it but I’m not a psychologist or I’m not a counselor there’s loads of people that have more wisdom on how this works physiologically and everything but how do we deal with this especially and as a spiritual component so a couple of things so someone wise person said this anxiety is a once a function of biology and philosophy body and mind instinct and and reason personality and culture it is so broad has so many different dynamics but maybe this helps you narrow it down a little bit this helped me figure it out a bit in my mind it’s a psychological phenomenon and a sociological phenomenon it’s going on in your brain and it’s all around you and so to think in computer terms it’s both a hardware problem we have this wiring that is somewhat prone to go bad this sudden imagination that there’s fear around the corner and a software problem I run faulty logic programs that make me think anxious thoughts if you think about it if you struggle with anxiety you may be honest and say I see a pattern in myself there’s that moment where my body doesn’t do quite what I think it should feel maybe like something that could feel like a lump or something and I start to imagine just what that could mean and before I know it I’m really far down the road of I’ve got this thing and it’s probably life threatening and I can probably see that there’s this scenario where just a few months it’s going to get really bad and we start to play that tape over and over again maybe it’s a relationship I’m in this relationship and I can start to see the same patterns I’ve experienced before and just like everybody else has done this person in a while is going to leave me because they always do we start to see the same pattern really quickly maybe it’s in society I’ve got to meet some new people and they probably won’t get me they probably won’t like me and so you start to imagine really quickly the scenarios and how they’ll play out it’s not abraham it’s not his exact story but it is his response we already know where this is going we already have this sense that the worst will happen so many of us have those cycles that if we’re honest we play over and over again in 2019 the number of people that expressed having regular feelings of anxiety was 15 in 2020 40 of adults experienced anxiety can you think of anything that may have happened to get us to that point in actual fact there’s a number of things right there’s traveling through a pandemic together that’s traveling through huge national questions elections race all of those different things all of those different tensions there’s now a war going on although there’s been multiple wars going on multiple fronts sometimes we just let those bypass us but now there’s one that has grabbed our attention can you see why we have so many anxious thoughts only to add those to the personal experiences that each and every one of us have anxiety is an epidemic in our country and some people would say this one of the worst things about anxiety is this it makes us narcissistically preoccupied with ourselves if we’re honest in moments of anxiety everything is centered around what will happen to me and people I care about just psychologically this to me was fascinating if I was to tell you tomorrow there will be an earthquake that will kill 500 000 people and I was to tell you that tomorrow I’m going to cut off the end of one of your fingers you will lose more sleep over the second one than you will over the first one just by nature of who we are as people when pee when things affect us we are far more concerned about them even if the other event is huge and massive and affects everybody in the world we are wired it seems or preoccupied on some level with ourselves c.s lewis said this there is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against God he wants men to be concerned with what they do how they act in the world around them anxiety wants them thinking about what will happen to them when we move from fear there is a bear to anxiety what’s going to happen to me we tend to become so preoccupied with ourselves it’s almost impossible for us to engage with the God of the universe on any real level we spend all of our time thinking about this our worth our health our safety our future and we even begin to question God’s love does he even care is he even watching what is going on in this story why isn’t he acting in a way that I think he should act this isn’t an abraham story this isn’t an alex story this is this is a human story this is most of us at different points in our life part of the reason I would suggest it’s so hard to engage with God when we are in moments of anxiety is this I would suggest that fear and trust are pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our relationship with God we can either fear or we can trust we can’t do both in our relationships with each other we can either fear or we can trust we can’t do both now you may be in a relationship that’s toxic and there is good real reason not to trust but even in good relationships we walk that spectrum do I trust this person do I read the best possible intentions into how they are acting or do I have all of these sort of reasons behind the scenes that they may be doing all of these things just to ruin my life in some particular way they seem like they are opposite ends of the spectrum fear and trust and it seems like we have to choose to make it even more complicated there’s this weird little phrase in the verse in the bible that says this do not be anxious about anything to not be anxious about anything I don’t know about you that has the temptation to make me more anxious suddenly I’m trying really hard not to be anxious maybe you’ve carried that burden maybe you’ve carried that burden that in actual fact God is displeased with you God is not happy with the amount of anxiety you carry God just wishes that you would respond in a better way to all of life’s circumstances maybe you’ve carried that in church communities and have been read by well-meaning people do not be anxious about anything and you’ve said oh but I’m trying I really am is this just a thing we’re supposed to try harder with are we supposed to take this away and say no I’m going to work really hard not to be anxious this week or is there a better way so here’s a question that I have to move us forward how does Jesus deal with anxiety and he does deal with anxiety as Jesus approaches this week that we are beginning to approach this week we call passion week this week that begins with a triumphant entry and a celebration and moves forward through struggle through emotional turmoil into death and then on to resurrection one of the constant emotions I would suggest we see in Jesus the ones that come up regularly is this emotion of anxiety in john 13 21 we’re told as he gathered with his earliest followers to gather at this table that we’ll gather at this morning Jesus was troubled in spirit in this moment Jesus begins to unpack for them again just exactly what he is about to go through in this moment he gathers and he takes bread and he breaks it and he says this is my body broken for you

in this moment he takes blood or wine and he says this is my blood shed for the sins of the world Jesus has walked them through what is coming time and time again and they never seem to get it they never quite understand that this is where the story is going and yet even though they don’t understand that this is where the story is going I would suggest that they too this themselves be the most anxiety ridden meal of all time everybody is feeling the pressure of the moment this story seems to be coming to its climax it seems like the tensions in the city are getting more and more notable Jesus is getting more and more attacks from religious leaders the romans are looking at him with suspicion and so for every single one of them there is a sense of anxiety we start to see it in Jesus and we can imagine it in his earliest followers Jesus says to them one of you will betray me and they begin to react with a sense of no it’s not going to be me but perhaps we would look at that and read it that there’s a suspicion somewhere in each of their own hearts that it might actually be them maybe really deep down each of them has that potential that tendency to be that one yes it’s judas in the end but it seems like somewhere it could have been any of them at different points they gather at this table and they sit and in the moment of anxiety in the moment of struggle about what exactly where exactly the story is going they sit and they take bread and they take wine and Jesus unpacks exactly where his story is going and then in the midst of hearing that in the midst of the struggle for these first disciples who are hearing that their their rabbi their master will die there’s this moment where they do something that I find to be so unusual except it’s just one of the passover rituals they sing a hymn before they go out to pray now for those of you that like we should only sing hymns and new songs are terrible maybe this is your like go-to verse you’re like aaron I just want you to read this just they sang hymns we should only sing hymns try and lose the new songs if you can but that isn’t what this means this is this process of them singing a specific group of psalms that have some words that are fascinating psalm 118 is probably the last one they would have sung the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone the lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes the lord has done it this very day let us rejoice today and be glad give thanks to the lord for he is good his love endures forever do they believe that in this moment they’re going out secretly into the night running away from roman soldiers from jewish leaders there seems to them hiding away from everything that is happening to them in this moment do they believe that God is good when they hear Jesus describe where the story is going do they believe that God is good can they sing this in this moment of anxiety with any legitimacy and yet they sing it anyway as they leave they take a walk out to a place that it seems they have prayed often and together and there we see Jesus at possibly his most vulnerable point he took peter james and john along with him isn’t it fascinating as a side note on anxiety that somewhere in this moment Jesus includes his friends in the so it’s delightful what was that I need to know that piece of music is it’s going to be stuck in my head all day peter james and john he takes along and he brings two friends into his anxiety he brings them into his conversation maybe as an aside that says to us that maybe we should do the same he models that for us even though his friends are awful and don’t understand him and completely missed the point he still chooses this and he reveals to them in his vulnerability he is deeply distressed and troubled the message version translates it like this he sank into a pit of suffocating darkness he told them I feel bad enough right now to die stay here and keep vigil with me that language I’ve just watched just keep me company in this lowest point another modern translation says that he fell into a sinkhole of emotion maybe you’ve seen those pictures in either newspapers or on the internet or on tv news you’ve seen what it is to see a piece of land suddenly drop away with no warning whatsoever a hole forms in the ground and suddenly the things that were on stable ground are no longer unstable ground that’s how one rider chooses to translate translate Jesus experience in this moment he was on stable ground and now he isn’t now he’s lost in this deep emotion this anxiety that seems to have the potential to consume him in my experience of churches we have these two very strange tendencies and different churches seem to fall into different patterns there are some churches that push into Jesus humanity to the point that they say he wasn’t really God and it robs the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus of all of its power and purposefulness the point of death and resurrection is that it changes everything God has staked everything on his son and what he does in the world but the other strange tendency that has just as many problems is we tend to push into this idea of divinity at the expense of humanity we sanitize everything that Jesus is going through in this moment because we say this well he was really God it can’t have affected him in quite the same way he knew where the story was going it can’t have been that hard we take some of the humanity away and yet what we see here in this moment is we see Jesus in his most vulnerable we see Jesus in this moment of suffocating darkness this moment of the sinkhole and maybe you’ve sat there too maybe you’ve been in that moment I just feel like everything the firm footing underneath me has just fallen away and I don’t know where I am or where I stand what do I do in that moment I would suggest in that moment we do what Jesus did we begin by acknowledging our fears we begin by acknowledging just how truly awful the situation seems Jesus comes to his father with everything that he is feeling every sense of this story isn’t the way that I want it to be and as he acknowledges his fears as he lands in that space of humanness he does something else that I think that we can do as well he expresses his hopes expresses his hopes that there might be a different story I’m so fascinated by this word if in the prayer that he prays because my early understanding of Jesus as a child is that there should be no if he should know that there is no other story this is the only possible outcome this is the only possible solution to the world’s problems to our problems why is he asking if there’s another story because my reading of Jesus says that he should know and yet in this moment it seems like he doesn’t know in this moment in his humanity there is a longing for a different story God is there any other way is there any other way that they can be okay is there any other way that they can be forgiven is there any other way that there can be a hope for a new world and a new story for them because if there is another way I would love to know what that is isn’t that maybe something that you and I have prayed as well we get landed in a situation a scenario we’re like God I don’t like this story I don’t want this story I want a different story I want you to create a different way of figuring all of this out why have you left me here with this burden this moment this relationship this sickness this struggle why have you left me in this moment of anxiety I want a different story Jesus does what the rest of that verse about anxiousness would ask us to do do not be anxious for anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God that’s what he does he comes to his father and he pours out his heart says I am afraid I’m afraid because this story seems awful it’s this moment where it seems like just the awfulness of crucifixion and what it entails has started to hit him the cost of what it is to bear the sins of the world has started to become more emotionally felt for him and the honest expression is one of fear of I don’t want to keep going with this I don’t want this to be the story and I hope that there is a different way that is how Jesus approaches his anxiety the writer to the hebrews this book hebrews will say this in the days of his flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his reverence how was he heard is my question in what way was he heard there is no different story when I think about a prayer for me being heard I’m like I want a response I want a specific outcome and yet for Jesus that isn’t what it means what we see after this moment of prayer this moment of supplication what we see is him walk back to his disciples ready to embrace what this story looks like then he returned to the disciples and said to them are you still sleeping and resting look the hour has come the son of man is to be delivered into the hands of sinners rise let us go here comes my betrayer Jesus takes that moment of anxiety and he does what I think most of us in this room would do most of us have done I have done he has this conversation with his father that acknowledges his fears I have done that he has this conversation with his father where he expresses his hopes I have done that but then he does something that I rarely do that I struggle to do in this moment Jesus surrenders the outcome in my prayers I still maintain this distinct sense of God I know where this story should go I think I might be wise and I think maybe I’m even wiser than you in this respect I know what the answer is you should fix the story in this way when I pray if there is another story I have another story in mind and I stay passionately connected to seeing that story happen when Jesus prays that he surrenders the potential that there is another story and he surrenders to the story that his father has for him Jesus does this incredible thing in anxiety he acknowledges fears he expresses hopes and he surrenders the outcome that is how his conversation looks and before we wrap up the service I’m going to invite you to sit and aaron’s going to play us a song that allows space for that conversation to take place and don’t rush to the table but I’m going to open this table we’re going to do this thing that Jesus commanded us to do that he did in the moment of his anxiety and the anxiety of his earliest followers they gathered and they reminded themselves that there was a new story being created he took bread and he broke it and said this is my body broken for you he took a cup of wine and said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world Jesus responded to his anxiety with creating creating a new story for us so in our moments of anxiety we can come back to this table we can bring our fears bring our hopes and maybe get to a place where we surrender the outcome we say God I’m going to trust you in the midst of this story that doesn’t make sense in this world that doesn’t make sense in my anxiety that tells me the bear is just about to appear at any moment and that’s going to be terrifying we get to come and we get to listen to these words and I’m going to invite you to come when you’re ready and take the elements back to your chair

God as we bring all of our anxiety

a sense of worry sense that the story isn’t right sense that you may be not in control

we bring them to you I acknowledge my fears

acknowledge that I don’t think you’ve always got this right acknowledge that I think you should be doing something different and I get to express my hopes that you would do things the way that I think they should be done that you would fix the problems that I see that you would bring healing to the things that I need he need healing that you’ll bring answers to the things that I see needing answers

and then I surrender

surrender to the fact that I may not have all the information

so as I come to you as we come to you as a corporate group as individuals could you speak to us

amen

What to do with…Fear & Anxiety | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 6)2022-07-14T13:32:39-06:00

What to do with…Sadness | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 5)

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TRANSCRIPT

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so that was the very brilliant rem from back in the 90s those of you that are into that kind of thing it just has that feel what a great song what a great vocal and yet what I think is most poignant about it when you watch the video is this it’s the internal monologues that we get a window into those those subtitles that come up they’re not spoken words but they are the process of the people within the video and just think back some of them one of them quotes the bible the book that many of us regularly read lead me to the rock that is higher than I those that sow in tears they will reap enjoy at some point we read people talking about I just need to be seen a man who talks about 17 years that have just gone the poignant at the end like she’s gone like there is an emptiness there is so much sadness there internalized and then given to us as a monologue today in our series on emotions we get to talk about sadness and and this was not an easy one for me because by nature I don’t do sadness very well at all generally I live in this fairly upbeat place I thought should I get someone else to come and talk about sadness and and yet there’s something about having to do the work because not every single one of you finds sadness easy to process either often for me a a sermon is a little bit like a puzzle like a jigsaw uh I’ll get some pieces like lying around and occasionally I’ll move them around and eventually it feels like they’re gonna fall into place and I’m like there it is that’s the thing at one o’clock in the morning last night I had gone like full child mode on a jigsaw puzzle I was like I’m just gonna take this piece I’m gonna pound this thing in and it will fit because I say it will fit I was like it just doesn’t feel good and then I was like no I was talking about anger last week this is supposed to be about sadness this week it was just difficult though to make it make sense not every feeling is easy to process we’re in this season if you’re new to kind of a church thing in in what’s called the church calendar called lent where we begin to walk with Jesus towards death and then on to resurrection so on on april 10th we will celebrate palm sunday his entrance into jerusalem on april 17th we’ll celebrate resurrection sunday the highest and best day of a year but I have this sort of theory that you and I and as a community we get out of easter what we put into lent there is this time of processing that is important to take seriously all that Jesus is experiencing and so over the next few weeks you’ll see us dive into some of these passages that maybe we don’t go to all the time passages like the garden of gethsemane Jesus goes intentionally walks into a garden and spends time pouring out his soul asking this question if if there is a better planet it’s language that we may not be comfortable with because we say Jesus shouldn’t you know if you are who you say you are shouldn’t you know what the plan is and then here you are saying if there is another way if why if lent it seems is full of ifs and questions like why and when and how but it is this time that is important and intentional especially if you find the difficult emotions harder to process and so we have kind of like we’ve made a choice that I may be good may be bad but we’ve chosen in this season as well as doing lent to talk about this broad spectrum of painful emotions we’ve talked about anger we’ve talked about shame we will talk about fear and anxiety and why why talk about them a couple of reasons feelings emotions when we’re doing this journey of faith they bring new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted if you like information that’s good if you like to do things that’s great but there is stuff to feel as well and what happens is as we unpack some of our feelings we start to see that maybe the surface feeling maybe that’s not the real thing last week we talked about cain and abel these two famous brothers from back in genesis and we looked at kane’s initial reaction and we say looks like anger but maybe it’s sadness maybe some of you have done that you felt something and then you’ve looked under the surface and said one of that isn’t the thing perhaps I’m fearful perhaps I’m something else but slowly it allows us to unpack and maybe understand a little bit more about us and about our journey with God as well and then there’s this from the early hebrew tradition this book genesis which simply means beginnings chapters 1 through 11 uh what you might call the earliest part of the bible history and the story of the first family adam and eve was understood as fundamentally about emotions and emotional suffering now if you’re here and you’re kind of on the edge of do I do church do I believe in a God do I believe Jesus is who he said he is that’s fine you may look at me and say I’m not sure adam and eve are real people at all and I’d say I’ll go with you on that for a second the story is a myth what does that mean we take myths to mean things that aren’t true that’s not what a myth is at all a myth is often historically true but it is always always humanly true adam and eve teach us something about who we are what system we operate in how we think things through and we get to see and unpack from them just what it is to have emotions to be given these emotions and then this fall this big event that this creation of emotional suffering so many of us experience the struggle with emotions and how we process them we were made with emotion but the fall this big event this genesis event it introduces emotional suffering and not just for us as humans it’s not just humanity affected by this according to genesis it’s not just humanity that’s affected God is affected too the first time we see grief sadness in the bible it isn’t a human being that feels it it’s God that feels it that first moment of sadness is a divine thing in genesis chapter 6 verse 5 we read the lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time the lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth and his heart was deeply troubled that deeply troubled phrase there is that expression of I’m just sorrowful there’s something wrong with this this isn’t how it’s supposed to be and this pattern runs all the way through these books in the bible like a thread maybe the most poignant being this john 11 35 Jesus wept a verse of just two words as Jesus stands in front of the grave of a friend as he watches the grief and sadness of his family as he embraces the grief and sadness of those around him it seems Jesus stands unashamedly christ weeps weeps for what reason I would suggest both Jesus emotion here and the emotion that God is represented as having back in genesis uh centered around this question how did it end up like this this isn’t how it’s supposed to be it’s a mixture a weird mixture right of sadness and anger maybe you felt it too I got breakfast uh the other day with a friend who runs a charity that does an amazing job just helping people come out of the sex trafficking in the trafficking industry and work so hard to do that and as we’re talking he’s pushing me and pushing me on how we can get involved and how we can contribute and all of those different things and there’s this one moment where I said you know you’re a little bit prickly when you talk about this and that that’s a good thing that’s what he has to do to help create that to make that happen he has to push and there has to be that sense of almost anger and sadness combined that says no together together we can make a difference here maybe you feel that right now as you look in the world around you and you see conflict all over the place maybe you look at what’s going on in the ukraine maybe you look at what’s happening in myanmar maybe you look at what’s happening in ethiopia afghanistan these numerous places where there are wars and we as a group of people I think often tend to focus on one specific one and yet these things are happening all the time around us and maybe for you there’s this sadness and outrage that that’s still our story it’s the same emotion that God has here where he says how did it end up like this the language in hebrew is this word which means to be troubled to be pain to have this uncomfortable sense that everything isn’t as it’s supposed to be now here’s the thing I I struggle processing emotions a little bit especially difficult ones as I said and I’m gonna credit this a little bit to some of my upbringing there is these things in england in britain that that you’re told from early on that just can sort of get ingrained in you so I’ve got some images to show you some of you may have seen this one keep calm and carry on it’s a famous british phrase it comes from the second world war it comes from this moment where there was this assumption that eventually looked like germany would win that this was going to happen and then some good guys came in and saved the day and everything was all right again you were the good guys just you know way to go you helped us out thank you uh but there was this idea that germany will eventually win this is this is what we need to do when not if when that happens when there are german troops on the streets keep calm and carry on don’t do anything crazy there will be something working behind the scenes there will be underground movements all of those different things that will eventually shape you just keep everything calm and carry on and this has become like a whole different bunch of memes now so you have keep calm and go to starbucks if you want bad coffee go to starbucks um take that starbucks but if you want good coffee maybe go somewhere else we have keep calm and just keep swimming it’s finding nemo and if you are drowning definitely that’s a good thing to do just keep swimming excellent advice I don’t know what this one is keep calm and mustache maybe it’s like a grow your mustache in november type thing uh just yeah confused keep calm and consolidate all your debts into one easy monthly payment in that moment where you look and there’s just money on everything just find a way to to get it sorted out and then this one keep calm and stiff upper lip stiff I believe it takes one famous britishism and then adds to it another one this idea of keeping a stiff upper lip was something that we were told was inherently british don’t show emotion and now apparently if you want to show yourself to be the true anglophile you can buy stiff upper lip balm um endorsed by winston churchill himself although he may not have had any say in the decision but it can let us go forward to soothe them to suffer and stiffer bullet bomb um so there we go just in case you were wondering this culture though is is and was real this is a picture of uh the funeral of diana princess of wales in 1997 had two sons william at 15 and harry at 12 who are told to walk behind the casket of their mother after she has passed away in front of a nation and to show minimal emotion as they do it as he unpacked this years later this is what harry said my mother had just died and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television I felt if I looked at the floor and my hair came down over my face no one could see me it’s a young man who was forced to process these deep emotions in front of the world and almost told by his culture to do it in a way that doesn’t show real emotion don’t let anybody see just how sad you are just what you are experiencing as I tried to tap into some of my own earliest memories of sadness just to prepare for this in actual fact one of the things that I connected with the most was my sadness around animals now my parents had this great philosophy around dogs if you’re looking for parental advice try this on if if this works for you then then this is fine we were not allowed dogs except on vacation they would always take us to places that had dogs at the vacation place we’d go to family members that love their dogs so what would happen is over and over again I’d get deeply emotionally connected to this animal only to be torn away from it so now having had that done to me I was like I want to do this for my kids as well I want them to experience that that trauma that’s kind of what parenting is right so we we borrowed a cat a third cat from some friends who very kindly lent us their beautiful cat and I watched as within a week this cat usurped both our other cat’s place of affection within the home they became just like passionate about this cat and then of course as I planned it was taken away from them and they got to process emotion which is good for them right I think um it worked for me so so what I was intrigued by was this this is something these are some of the things that I heard them say check this out for emotion I wish he could have stayed longer the house feels emptier he made me so happy isn’t that what we often say in sadness and grief I’m not talking now about cats I’m talking about relationships I’m talking about so many other things if only the status of only it could have stayed as it was if only we could have had this for a little bit longer if only there was a little bit more time they made me so happy it could be a relationship it could be a loss of death all of those different things but it expresses that raw emotion that maybe is at the heartbeat of what sadness is maybe some of us just simply don’t know how to express it so some of us would just say why am I so sad and then what do I do with my sadness like we asked with anger what do you do with sadness so some things about sadness sadness is complex maybe for me more complex than most of the others we gave you this emotion wheel when we started this series and it looks like the idea that there’s these core emotions in the center and then there’s all of these different things and some of you guys will say no one can feel all of those things it’s impossible and yet people do and now I’m going to zoom in for a little while on the sadness and look at this range here in different apathetic isolated abandoned empty inferior vulnerable powerless victimized ignored ashamed remorseful there are so many things going on there that we might feel around sadness and we all experience it you may say by nature I don’t do sadness and yet you may not process it well but still somewhere it is there somewhere it is within you every single one of us has this but in completely different ways so for some of us we would say primarily what I experience is situational sadness something happens and I feel sad maybe for a long time maybe for a short time but I just know just from experience that for some of you in this community you would say it is not situational sadness that is my struggle some of you would say I am dispositionally sad and so often when you operate in that space most of the time in a community especially around faith around church you can feel very isolated very rejected very unaccepted by a community that can kind of say you know what come and put a smile on your face come and pretend everything is okay because that’s what we do here maybe you’ve asked questions even about how does God see you when you constantly hold that sense of sadness when that’s a thing for you regularly how does the God who comes to bring joy in the world how does the God who says one day everything will be made right how does he feel about me when I’m so often in that place of sadness there are different ways of looking at this and some of our ability to just make everything binaries in play here I read this quote that just made me chuckle a pessimist is just a word an optimist uses to name a realist and there’s some truth to those things right we see things we see the world differently and we’re not very good at connecting with someone who does operate in a different space sadness is complex we all experience sadness though in different ways and that sadness is often internal it sits there somewhere inside it’s that monologue that we saw rem bring to life so brilliantly these are all of the things that I’m processing and potentially I have nowhere to go with them so what do we do what I love about this book the bible that we’re given is that there’s so many ways it helps us when we use it properly process emotions last week we looked at the idea that this book psalms has what are called imprecatory psalms there’s psalms where you get to come to God and you get to vent you get to explode in a safe place and say God this is all the things that I’m angry about there are also psalms of lament and this one this one psalm 88 is maybe the most I don’t want to say profound I want to say the most difficult to process so if you have a text you can turn to psalm 88 I’ll pick out some key moments on the screen later lord you are the God who saves me day and night I cry out to you may my prayer come before you turn your ear to my cry so good so far I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death I am counted among those who go down to the pit I am like one without strength I am set apart with the dead like the slain who lie in the grave whom you remember no more who are cut off from your care you have put me in the lowest pit in the darkest depths your wrath lies heavily on me you have overwhelmed me me with all your waves and maybe in your text it will say the word seller next to that which really means take a moment to think about that for just a second and I want you to remember that moment you have overwhelmed me with all your waves you have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them I am confined and cannot escape my eyes are dim with grief I call to you lord every day I spread out my hands to you do you show your wonders to the dead do the spirits rise up and praise you is your love declared in the grave your faithfulness and destruction are your wonders known in the place of the darkness or are your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion but I cried to you for help lord in the morning my prayer comes before you why lord do you reject me and hide your face from me remember that word why from my youth I have suffered and been close to death I have borne your terrors and am in despair your wrath has swept over me your terrors have destroyed me all day long they surround me like a flood they have completely engulfed me you have taken from me friend and neighbor darkness is my closest friend darkness is my closest friend this psalm is almost unique in that it ends in this very negative place the only phrase that we might pull out and say that’s kind of upbeat is lord you are the God who saves me and then this psalmist this writer goes and questions it for about 14 or 15 verses you are the God who saves me but do you do I just have to sit here and then this end like darkness is my closest friend there are these complaints these words that might come up these thoughts this one here may my prayer come before you turn your ear to my cry it’s the cry of when when will you do something about this when will you do something about war when will you do something about suffering when will you do something about my suffering will you save at some point when will those things happen and then as we move on verse 10 and 11 do you show your wonders to the dead do their spirits rise up and praise you is your love declared in the grave your faithfulness and destruction are your wonders known in the place of darkness or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion they’re all questions to which the answer is no and you might say within this text is this idea of like it’s a proclamation of no this shouldn’t be this way it’s when and it’s no and then it’s why but I cry to you for help lord in the morning my prayer comes before you why lord do you reject me and hide your face from me inherent to this text to this kind of prayer are these words that come up when you are in the midst of sadness in the midst of a struggle in the midst of that place where it feels like all around you is darkness there is this cry of when and know and why our sadness longs for answers it longs for answers now this is a good place I think to be in I think by nature many of us trying to avoid this kind of place and yet when we are experiencing sadness when we are experiencing grief this is perhaps exactly where we need to be the writer pete zazara says this running away from our sorrows and pain does not heal our pain it only makes the pain worse we must walk through the valley of the shadow I by nature avoid this place and yet there’s something that says no you need to go to this place you need to go to this place because this writer went to this place I would suggest you need to go to this place because Jesus went to this place he sat in the space of sorrow and pain and experienced it but I wonder whether some of the questions we ask at this time I wonder if they’re helpful I wonder if we ask them in the right way and I’m specifically thinking about that question why what do we mean when we say why a bunch of years ago a frenchman called philippe petit did this thing where he put a wire in between the twin towers in new york and he walked across it back and forth for an hour there is a movie about it if you uh one who struggles with that kind of tension don’t watch this movie it’s not a good choice for you but as he walks back and forth he does all of these different things and then when he comes down a bunch of reporters gather around him and they’re like philippe why why why why did you do this and he looks at them with this confused expression on his face and he says why only an american would ask why there is no why there is only because now I wonder whether he tapped into something about our psyche that when we ask the question why we want some kind of big reason behind it we want to see cause and effect when we are in sadness when we say why we want to ask questions like what did I do to get here what was the reason for it have I done something has somebody else done something how can I give it an explanation that makes sense I think we want this for ourselves and I think we want it for the other people that we experience in sadness I think we want to give people answers when we experience a human being a fellow human being in sadness and suffering we want to move them on their journey as quickly as possible to tell them everything is going to be okay I think when we sit with those in sadness we long to have answers and I don’t think we always need them there was a brilliant little video put together some years ago I didn’t have time to show it but in the video the the lady in the conversation has a nail stuck in her forehead and you can only see it from one perspective and as she’s trying to explain everything she’s feeling she’s talking about how there’s this pressure that sits right here and the guy in the conversation is like yeah there’s a nail let me take that out and she’s like no it’s not the nail it’s like this thing this sharp stabbing pain is like yeah the nail let me take the nail out we very quickly believe we perceive the struggling others and we very quickly think we can bring an answer and I’m not sure that’s what we’re called to do as challenging as is maybe our call is to recognize that in that moment that person who’s experiencing that sense of I sit in the darkness my closest friend is the darkness maybe what they need most is for you to sit with them in that space by nature what I do is this metaphorically for that person I like to come in and switch on all the lights so that it’s bright so that they know everything is okay I do this in real life as well every morning I wake up and I turn every light I can possibly find and in the house and my oldest child is very much like me so we would do that together as she was waking up we would go and we would turn all the lights on and everything was fine until gigi came along and gigi is just wired differently she’s just she’s she’s gigi and so she in this moment would come down into the light of everything and she would have this grumpy look on her face and her eyes were still half closed and she would look at me and she would say this daddy it’s too bright in here turn down the lights it was her own way of operating in the world and yet isn’t that true like there is this sense we we see people in sorrow and we just think the answer is we’re going to turn on every single light and when you sit in this place of darkness in this sorrow is that what’s needed sometimes space is needed just to sit and be there it’s too bright in this house we want answers for those that we see in sadness and maybe when we sit there eventually we want answers for ourselves as we sit in a place where we would say darkness is my closest friend we long to hear answers and don’t always get them the famous character job in the bible and his moment of sadness says if only I knew where I could find God I would ask him questions and he would answer me and then he does find God and he does ask him questions and God doesn’t answer him doesn’t give him the explanation we ask why because we want an explanation for why we sit where we are and we don’t always get it I wonder if our challenge is this and I think we’ll see this in a minute in Jesus life maybe a good challenge for us as people is this for those of us in sadness we are invited to join in gladness for those in gladness we are invited to sit in sadness it takes courage to believe you can hold those two things together that you can hold gladness and sadness at the same time we want to make everything binary it’s opposites and yet I wonder if that’s true at all the question in the movie perks of a warfare is this I’m both happy and sad at the same time and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be and yet constantly in the new testament writings especially is this message even to people are in the midst of trauma struggle trial to choose joy or rejoicing paul writes to this church in a town called phillip a church that’s experiencing political upheaval is experiencing conflict is experiencing poverty does that sound familiar to anyone at the moment all of the things that we might be experiencing all of these existential tensions and he says to them three times in the space of a couple of chapters rejoice choose to practice joy because even in your sadness it is good for you I learned this from my friends in haiti I used to go visit regularly uh a church in haiti and and I watched as as they experienced just this incredibly intense trauma in 2010 this earthquake came through and pastor timothy the pastor of this church came to the church building the next morning and found 15 kids sat on the doorstep all of whose parents had died that night in the earthquake so he instantly had what he would call an orphanage but really trying to provide a home and I would watch as these people who did experience this intense sorrow gathered together and dressed better than any of us for sunday morning and then sang for 20 minutes one song over and over again with two words messi jizu thank you Jesus thank you Jesus thank you over and over again these people in this deep sadness know what it is to carry joy and to carry sadness at the same time they have the courage to do that

maybe as we process sadness one of the questions that comes to mind is what does Jesus do with our sadness is there ever register a remedy is there ever a next thing and I’m intrigued by Jesus journey in to sadness in hebrews chapter 12 verse 2 we’re told this we fix our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith the one who did faith well for the joy set before him he endured the cross for the joy set before him he endured the cross for the joy those two things don’t seem like they belong together and yet it seems like for Jesus they did exist together as he’s crucified he prays this prayer which again is just intriguing in the questions that it answers or asks matthew 27 verse 46 about three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice which means my God my God why have you forsaken me Jesus takes the my of ownership isn’t there some sense of ownership still in the word my this is my God and the why of abandonment and he holds them together in the place of death and crucifixion both of those things are in play there is my there is still this connection to the God of the story and there is why there is abandonment and I don’t like him asking that question because I want to know Jesus what do you mean by why don’t you know the reason it seems in this moment Jesus embraces the fullness of what it is to be human to have that sense of God where are you in the darkness when will you act and I don’t want to be here and why is this even happening he enters into our experience our experience of the waves covering me I don’t know when there’s going to be a break this one time when I was surfing I got caught in a wave cycle I was down for one wave and just as I got back to the surface the next wave came across and pulled me back under and you can get into this cycle for maybe seven waves and each time you’re just gasping for a breath and then just trying to just survive and that’s the picture image that we get of why the psalmist talks about the waves have crushed me and Jesus in this moment feels like that’s where he is and yet still he holds this my of ownership he’s able to hold the joy of relationship with God even in the midst of feeling abandoned and then where does his story go incredibly in the end of the psalm Jesus quotes it ends far more positively than psalm 88 it says this they will proclaim his righteousness declaring to a people yet unborn he has done it he has done it that’s what we’re told at resurrection Jesus has done this he has redeemed he has made a way where there was no way he has changed the world as we get to experience and yet he does it by experiencing the same kind of suffering that you and I will experience the same kind of sadness and asking some of the same questions that we will ask Jesus experiences joy and agony and suffering and shame all at the same time all of those different things Jesus is able to bring us to a point where we don’t necessarily get an answer to our question why at least in terms of an explanation we may not get a reason why we are where we are but we may get an answer to the question why in terms of purpose and what it might do in the future the number of times I’ve been in relationships with people as a pastor in a church community and I’ve seen someone go through a journey and there have been so many wise and yet the journey has come to some sense of feeling like it’s it’s been redeemed and then the joy for me as I take that person and place them alongside another person not just to turn on lights not just to say we’re going to make this as bright as possible but to sit with them in the darkness and say there is a possibility that this will lead to a place of purpose one day do you need to believe that now does it need to feel like everything is okay now no it doesn’t but there is a possibility that this God who excels in creating new stories might create a new story for you at his lowest point in Jesus midst of his question why there is this future promise of purpose he has done it that is the message that these new testament writers long to bring us I’m going to invite aaron to come and lead us in a song and we’re going to read one quote that I think will just wrap this up this is ruth haley barton experiencing struggle experiencing sadness the trauma that we’ve talked about and the waves of pain did wash over me with rhythmic quality ebbing and flowing I felt like I needed to lie completely still so as not to be swept away it is hard to describe what happened after that I felt empty and spent but comforted by God’s loving presence I had not been swept away you have put me in the lowest pit in the darkest depths your wrath lies heavily on me you have overwhelmed me with all your waves that’s the message of psalm 88 it seems like in Jesus care for us what is possible that we might end up saying is this I have not been swept away I am still here comforted by God’s loving presence with the possibility of new stories ahead aaron’s going to lead us in a song which shapes the possibility that for you if you find yourself sitting in a place of darkness we don’t want to just say we’re going to turn on all the lights and that will make everything all right but we do want to capture and create the possibility that there may be a new story ready to emerge and that when you are ready to step towards it the God of the universe is ready to take you exactly as you are with all of the rawness of your emotions he’s ready to lead you into new things God wherever we find ourselves however sadness finds us where the sadness feels like it covers most of our story our disposition sadness is hard to process

with whatever emotion we’re struggling with this week

thank you that you meet us exactly as we are you tell us it’s okay to be us that we are loved cherished

would you speak to our hearts through the sun amen

What to do with…Sadness | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 5)2022-07-14T13:30:43-06:00

What to do with…Anger | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 4)

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paul good morning friends how you doing today great to see you if you’re visiting my name’s alex I’m one of the pastors here we’re in a series on emotions and so to help us talk about that a little bit I’ve got a question for you do you know the difference statistically between how many men are colorblind and women are colorblind super surprising one in 12 men are color blind one in 200 women are color blind or maybe not surprising if you’re married in a relationship maybe like the girl just turns to the guy and she’s like that’s why you think you can wear those pants with that shirt and you’re 100 wrong like finally I have an answer for my life I’m just like there is a difference in the way that men and women see color generally men see things a little bit differently and so to quiz you I would ask you this what color is this because you might say blue or you might say it’s cerulean but I can predict with like fair certainty that that if you’re a guy you didn’t say cerulean because your range of colors is probably not that broad there’s going to be some guy that comes and complains to me like no no I definitely knew it was cerulean let me just say this I’m going to generalize massively today and I get to do that because I’m stood here and you’re not there is blue and then there is cerulean guys see things differently we have a not less of a range of colors necessarily but more but less details around colors so there’s these helpful diagrams to talk through like all the different colors that apparently women can see and all the ones that men can see so if you can’t read those from where you are did you know there was a color called spin drift spindrift is apparently a color I thought that was what you did when you were driving in the snow and you try and drift around the corner and your car goes into a spin or something like that or does this like the difference between clover and fern and mars and all of these different things men and women see colors differently it’s not that the range is less the details are less here’s a question though what if men do emotions like they do colors what if there’s a sense that when we have some of those conversations in relationships why is the guy in my life not able to express himself emotionally why is it just oh I’m happy oh I’m sad I’m just like there somewhere in that range maybe men do emotions in the same way that they do colors it’s not that the range is less it’s just that the details are less when we started this series on emotions a few weeks ago we gave you all an emotion wheel that starts with some of those core emotions starts with some of those things like happy uh and sad and disgust and anger and fear and surprise but then it makes its way out into these emotions that maybe most guys in the room would say I have never felt or think I would ever feel that particular emotion worthlessness insignificant inadequate alienated this there are so many of them and I probably couldn’t narrow down to like no that’s the exact thing I’m feeling where I can live is happy sad disgust surprised some of those core emotions maybe we just see emotions just a little bit differently but for some of you especially if you’re new to the series the question might be why are we talking about emotions at all is that something that we need to have conversations about in church like is that something that God has a value on what I would say is is this feelings emotions bring new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted when you just live in your head just live on information I would suggest you’re not living into the wholeness of a human being and as a community I would say that can be true as well I’ve been with you guys at south here for about a year and a half and I love this community but what I would say is we tend by nature to be something of a a hands and a head community what do I mean by that we like new information we deal with that very well we process things on a sort of fairly deep level and then also we like to go and do things we like to be practically involved in our community but we would I might say we would struggle a little bit when it comes to processing feelings and the heart and those emotions were maybe a little bit more hesitant in some of those areas it is good to feel that you are loved by the God of the universe it is good to be in this community and say I had an experience where I just knew and just processed yes in my heart I feel that God loves me and values me there is nothing wrong with those kind of experiences and when as we as a community become heart as well as hands and head we are more whole God is shaping us in good ways from the earliest part of the bible what we see is emotion is a huge part of it from the early hebrew tradition on the story of the first family adam and eve for those of you that are new to this bible thing was understood as fundamentally about emotions and emotional suffering in this place called eden human beings had emotion and then there was this event called the fall and in that process suddenly emotions are not just good or pleasant perhaps is a better word they suddenly become more difficult to handle we were made with emotion but the fall introduces emotional suffering so last week we had kevin come teach us on the idea of dealing with shame and I just loved hearing him process just his experience dealing with that and so many of you I know you came up to me afterwards and said it was just a revelation for you one person said I finally have a word to sort of help me unpack my whole life which just how incredible is that and because I love music I think often in music terms and and in the 90s this band called nine inch nails did this song called hurt and and it’s all about just that processing of just emotional pain and suicidal ideation and then johnny cash comes along and sings it at 85 and it just gives it a completely different tone suddenly you’re hearing a guy in his 80s unpacking that now kevin’s here so I’m not suggesting for a second he’s in his 80s but he is a little bit older than me and what I got to hear was just the experience of someone just having processed this over a whole life and it was just life-giving to hear that shame is something that comes out of eden and something that can lead us to so many other emotions it’s something that fundamentally we have to learn to be able to deal with and today we get to move on to this emotion anger an emotion that it seems is often described as something that men struggle with and not women and yet as I got to do some research as I got to ask some questions around this the reality is that that’s not true at all what we see is that men and women both struggle with anger but we deal with it differently it often outworks itself differently and one of the things that was intriguing to me was as I listened to different female podcasters talk about their struggle with anger one of the things they said over and over again was I see it like this men are allowed to show anger it almost has a value in society and when I show anger it’s not valued it’s not allowed it’s not safe there is no permission for women to show anger so we’re gonna spend just the morning unpacking that where does anger come from what is the deal with that and to do that we’re gonna look at this old story genesis chapter four if you have a text many of you will be familiar with the story of cain and abel so here we go verse one of chapter four adam made love to his wife eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to cain she said with the help of the lord I have brought forth a man later she gave birth to his brother abel so from the beginning the names are really interesting cain has this connotation to it I’ve created and so some of eve’s language in the light of the fall is this with God’s help admittedly I have created if you remember the genesis 3 story had that language of they will become like God when they eat this fruit and so still in eve’s language we heard we hear that language I am now the creator of someone look what I have done and then abel’s name is heartbreaking for its foreshadowing habel as it would be pronounced simply means breath or breeze like it’s there in a moment and it’s gone it’s the language of vapor it doesn’t last it’s a voice into the whole of humanity because most of us know right where abel’s story is going to go now abel kept flocks and cain worked the soil some would suggest that somewhere the bible is saying that being nomadic keeping sheep and moving them around is better than being a tender of crops but adam and eve were tenders of crops I don’t see any reason to read that into it in the course of time cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the lord and abel also brought an offering fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock somewhere in their wiring these two men know that their relationship with God has to be crafted and curated with a gift that know instinctively that that’s something they must do there’s no written command at the moment that says they must do this but somewhere internally something says to them no bring something and they take what they are doing in this world and bring the first part of that to God but what we see is this that is now work it’s no no longer like eden where they were simply tending something naturally there is now a process they have to go through the eden the post-eden world it’s different this world is now against them eden was for them that place was for them it was on their side now the world is in opposition to them and in eden they were for each other they were supportive of each other they worked in this perfect unity now that has changed in the posted world the world is against them and they are now against each other ridden into this early part of the human story is this opposition and don’t we see that today don’t we see that sense of competition from our earliest moments don’t we see that sense of having to earn our place whether that’s as a nation whether that’s as an individual broadly speaking we get that sense of competition there is this old arabic proverb that goes something like this me against my brothers me and my brothers against my cousins me and my cousins against the world there is unity at times but it’s always crafted at its heart be in opposition to each other we are constantly warring to find some space they bring their offerings and we’re told this the lord looked with favor unable and his offering but uncain and his offering he did not look with favor so cain was very angry and his face was downcast there’s no reason given for abel’s offering being accepted and cain’s not at this point anyway in the new testament gets unpacked a little bit more but the best we could say is it seems like cain brings just what he has what’s left and maybe abel brings it says the fat portions the good stuff he brings the best of what he has maybe the language we might use in church is the first fruits and so cain when he’s rejected becomes angry and his face is downcast the first motion in the story is anger except well at least that’s what the english version of the bible you have in front of you will say because the reality is it’s a little bit more complicated than that the word that we’re reading there in hebrew is this word hara it means to burn with anger yes at times but depending on the context it’s in it’s also distress it’s also sadness it’s also depression cain’s emotion might be anger right now but it also could be sadness and in the actual fact in the ancient near east that idea of having a face that was down cass spoke of sadness and de depression the first emotion in the story could be anger it could be sadness doesn’t that tap back into our emotions conversation the first human male to express emotion in the bible doesn’t really know how he’s feeling doesn’t know how to articulate exactly what is going on there is sadness yes there is depression yes and then we know where it goes it turns to anger turns to rage eugene peterson in the message simply says this cain lost his temper and went into a sock kane is described like a five-year-old child it’s like that that tantrum he throws himself on the ground somebody else was treated or rewarded well and he doesn’t like it so he sulks and God in his goodness will unpack that with cain and for cain then the lord said to cain why are you angry again or sad or depressed why is your face down cast if you do what is right will you not be accepted if you do not do what is right sin is crouching at your door it desires to have you you must rule over it God’s language for kenny’s kane you will always struggle with these things your emotions will war against you and they will potentially lead to actions that are bad you are going to have to master this you’re going to have to deal with this to live well before me and then the story moves on in this fascinating way because it just so succinctly just trots into the next part of the story now kane said to his brother abel let’s go out to the field the language could be let’s take a walk together let’s go for an afternoon stroll we’ve got nothing to do let’s just go and just enjoy each other’s company let’s go and see the sights let’s go into the mountains and have a look and see what creation looks like and then while they were in the field kane attacked his brother abel and killed him the first death of a person within scripture is at the hands of another human being it’s not natural it’s not in the normal course of things the first death is because one human attacked another somewhere we see ridden into who we are as people in this fallen world is that we have this tendency towards self-destruction by nature we don’t make things good by nature our fallen nature we make things worse we break and we destroy regardless of the first emotion whether it’s sadness or whether it’s anger cain’s anger is what it is eventually and it leads it leads to murder so it’s not surprising I would guess that when Jesus comes along and brings his brilliance to these thoughts he ties murder and anger together this is matthew chapter 5 verse 21. you have heard that it was said to the people long ago you shall not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment I was once asked to do a sermon by a lead pastor on it was the ten commandments and he said would you do you shall not murder and I’m like what am I supposed to say to people it’s just like point one don’t kill each other okay I’m done everyone go home early grab lunch get brunch with someone but Jesus will push us further right he won’t let it sit at just you shall not murder but I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment Jesus sees the connection between anger where it can go and what it can result in he sees what is in the human heart and that in itself is a challenge to us right we know our own hearts a lot of the time I know the revenge fantasies I know the moments where someone has upset me and I think about all the ways that I could get back at them I know where it can go and Jesus does too Jesus will also I think pick up on this other element of this cane and able story perhaps maybe the most heartbreaking part of it look how cain unpacks what he has done the lord said to cain where is your brother abel I don’t know he replied am I my brother’s keeper it’s not the anger that’s the worst part of the story it’s the contempt the anger we can kind of understand the desire for revenge or the desire at least for to be aggressive to someone who’s getting in your way but what we see with cain is just this I don’t know it’s not he’s dead it’s not he’s alive it’s just it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter whether he’s dead or alive right now it’s simply contempt I don’t know he replied am I my brother’s keeper and Jesus unpacks this tendency in us as well again anyone who says to a brother or sister wracker is answerable to the court it’s a term of insult like you idiot you nerd you whatever I don’t know whatever insults we’re using today and anyone who says you fool this term of contempt this worthless person you’ll be in danger of the fires of hell Jesus sees contempt he sees anger and he sees murderers all interrelated and he sees the possibility of the human heart and where it can go and maybe the most heartbreaking part of the story in itself is God’s response genesis chapter 4 verse 10 the lord said what have you done listen your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground now you are under a curse and driven from the ground which opened his mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand I used to read God here as angry now again I see sadness I see grief I see the same voice as we saw in genesis chapter three this moment where adam and eve are for the first time hidden from God I see the language of God there is just where are you you used to live before me and with me and now you’re distant and I see here that what have you done how has it ended like this how have you become this unhuman thing you were made in my image and this isn’t what an image of bearer of God does do you see your own story here because I see mine I see my tendency towards anger no matter how I am on the surface I see what it is to be like kane the language hurrah that we talked about earlier what it means at its root its most primitive language root is this it is a burning in the chest it’s a somewhere there is a fire in here it is almost inhuman it is the language of what it is to to move from humanity to become to become almost a dragon to become the thing that we we talk about in fairy tales the thing that has fire within it that that can that can go anywhere that can attack anyone at any moment there is an inhumanness to the way that anger is described to where the way that kane’s actions are described though sing a songwriter paul simon said this anger is an addiction we like it the brain likes it and now you’ve got a country full of addicts and the media and certain politicians are the dealers so everybody’s angry all the time I’m not saying there’s nothing to be angry about what I’m saying is you can’t make a calm decision when somebody’s got you in a rage that’s really perceptive language from someone who’s just supposed to write songs for a living the the truth is that anger isn’t always bad anger when it’s based on injustice can be a good thing where would we be without martin luther king’s sense of anger and injustice where would we be without gandhi’s sense of injustice where would we be without the injustice of anyone who has done anything to shape the world in good and new ways but what we see from them is this we see action and not reaction we see a decision to do something in the face of the way that the world looks we don’t just see unsort of conscious rage and somewhere anger has become an addiction perhaps for many of us in kane’s story anger builds and builds till it leads to murder while they were in the field kane attacked his brother abel and killed him have you felt that burning in the heart that sense of rage that almost uncontrollable sense I felt it just a couple of weeks ago with this company um

now now let me say this I like to tell people I was an apple early adopter I was on their team when none of you guys were on their team you know back before their iphones and stuff and so I I went to them because they have great customer service I was like you really look after your people and the other day I had to send them an ipad that I’d broken for the third time and and so I said I need a new ipad I have apple care could you send me one they said absolutely we’ll look after you we’ll send you a new ipad it will be there tomorrow and you just send us your old one when you’re ready and anytime in the next 10 days and all will be well a month later I still have not had an ipad it’s been in indianapolis for like three weeks and then it goes back to apple goes back to california and and so I call them and say guys where’s my ipad like you promised me my ipad and they the lady on the phone who did not deserve what I did said we’re really sorry you don’t have apple care and I said well I did a month ago when you said that you’d send it to me and she said well I’m ever so sorry you don’t have it now we can’t see any record of you ever having it could you give us your apple care number I said no I don’t have it I don’t know what you’re talking about just send me my ipad uh I was very much like kane in that moment I was a raging raging angry child and they said no we ultimately can’t help you and then I lost it I went on this big rant about how I’d been involved in apple before anybody else cared and I worked with this company and and we all use apple and and I said and I remember saying this in the final like defeated moment I was like I could just stop everyone using apple in our company but that wouldn’t even matter to you you’re the biggest company in the world it’s just it’s just not fair just so angry maybe you felt that sense of internal rage maybe it’s sometimes over the silliest thing maybe for some of you it’s facebook marketplace that moment you think you’ve agreed to buy something from someone and then you get a message that simply says oh sorry we sold it to somebody else and you’re like but why we had a deal did they just offer you an extra 50 for the car or something and that was worth it for you to break a social contract that we made it’s that rage of like that helplessness it’s the moment some of you had when you drove here this morning who are my road rage people in the house I know there’s some of you there’s some honesty I love it more finger-pointing than honesty um I love some of you are very happy to call out your your spouse or your friend or whoever on road rage but road rage is a thing right we we have this experience of trying to get somewhere and somebody else either through incompetence or malevolence is in our way they are stopping our progress and we suddenly find ourselves to become inhuman monsters we become the dragon in those moments this person is going to get it from me I’m so mad but road rage in itself as much as it’s funny to talk about it is actually a perfect illustration of what is at the core of anger road rage offers a window into the common cause of our anger because the common cause of our anger friends is this somebody has stopped me getting where I want to be somebody has stopped me getting where I want to be in road rage that’s the physical sense of I’m late for work probably because it’s somebody else’s fault so I’m trying to drive faster than I should and this person is driving slow and they’re in the way I’m now maybe stressed because I know that I have so much to do and I’m so busy or maybe worried about how I’ll be perceived because I’ve been late or something like that practically physically in road rage somebody else is physically in our way but almost all anger starts from the fact that whether it’s physical or mental psychological somebody else is in our way somebody else’s actions are affecting us being who we want to be or where we want to be maybe it’s simply that your friend roommate husband wife whoever hasn’t done the dishes and now you have to do them and now you can’t be all the things that you want it to be maybe it’s with your kids or grandkids they act a certain way how will you be perceived when your kids are seen to be acting like that so much of our anger is built out of that sense of somebody is in my way I was listening to a podcast as I was prepping this sermon and someone said most anger comes from these four things stress injustice failure or embarrassment I am stressed because there is so much to do and so I’m angry at my kids who need my time there’s an injustice something is wrong in the world someone has bought my facebook market place thing apple won’t play by the rules of human nature there’s this sense of injustice that’s there there’s failure I tried to do something and I wasn’t successful and maybe that’s just tied to embarrassment how are you perceiving me right now it all links back to what kevin talked about last week it’s links back to shame am I am I enough somebody gets in our way and we are angry and and some of you might sit there and say you know what I can see now ways that anger has affected all of these different things it’s affected my friendships my marriage is parenting businesses careers there is a route to anger we struggle with it we become these different kinds of creatures there is a burning heart or a burning within us that can just unleash itself on almost anyone around us so what do we do with that if that’s our problem like what do we do what do I do with my anger maybe you’d sit here and say you know what Jesus may talk about anger been bad the bible may talk about anger being a problem but I disagree like maybe the best thing is just to let it go just to vent it that’s what dragons do right they have the fire inside them they let it go or well they’re not real but it seems like that might be something we can do do we let anger erupt there are some people that would say maybe yes there are these things called rage rooms where you get to go and destroy something although people that go don’t tend to feel much better they often feel more angry I picked up this picture from the awesome movie office space in the 90s this is the guys who are just so angry with this printer that is ruining their lives destroying the printer and this was the best picture I could find and I loved that it had 2016 on the printer down there and it was like ha you guys are going to love 2020 if you thought 2016 was bad it’s like another level now I’d love to go back to 2016. life was so simple in 2016 2020 2021 maybe not so much but there is this idea just let it erupt find this vent point for your anger in kane’s story we get to see where anger goes in terms of what happens to his brother but I don’t know if we get to see the full reality of what happens if we just let our anger vent God almost cuts off the story it’s really interesting let’s just look at the end of that genesis chapter four cain said to the lord my punishment is more than I can bear that language could be can I be forgiven is that even possible today you are driving me from the land I will be hidden from your presence I will be a restless wanderer on the earth and most importantly at the bottom and whoever finds me will kill me cain knows how vengeance works he has done something and somewhere that could be vengeance for what he has done and here God cuts that story short but the lord said to him not so anyone who kills cain will suffer vengeance seven times over then the lord put a mark on cain so that no one who found him would kill him so cain went out from the lord’s presence and lived in the land of nard east of eden the story ends there the violence stops there the anger stops there the vengeance stops there but in other places in the scripture in the writings it doesn’t stop there this is judges chapter 15 a story about a guy called samson known for his long hair he was very strong because of it I tried to grow my hair to become really strong it didn’t work although I did cut it all off once and no life someone at work said this to me you look worse

you you had this presence when you walked into room and it’s like diminished so there is a lesson once you have long hair you should never cut it and samson eventually learns this lesson as well we’re told at the time of the wee harvest samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife that may seem strange to us but often in the early part of the marriage right after the ceremony husbands and wives looked set lived separately and then the the father of the man that was married would build an addition often to his house so that they could live there we’re told here he said I am going to my wife’s room but her father would not let him go in so we start here with a marriage okay remember that we start with a marriage where does the story go I was so sure you hated her he said that I gave her to your companion isn’t her younger sister more attractive take her instead we begin with a marriage and we progress to a story where the father of the bride gives the bride away to one of the groom’s friends how will samson take this samson a man known for his anger known for his rage samson said this time I have a right to get even with the philistines I will really harm them so he went out and caught 300 foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs he then peter would hate this part of the bible he then fastened a torch to every pair of tails even worse lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the philistines he burned up the shocks and the standing grain together with the vineyards and the olives olive groves we started with a wedding we then had a moment where the bride is given to someone else now the crops are on fire and people are going to go hungry how does the story progress when the philistines asked who did this they were told samson the tim knight’s son-in-law because his wife was given to his companion so the philistines have somebody now to blame remember we started with a wedding we ended up with a different kind of wedding and now we’ve got crops on fire where will this go when the philistines asked who did this they were told samson the demonic son-in-law because his wife was given to his companion so the philistines went up and burned her and her father to death we started with a wedding we had a different wedding we had crops on fire and now we have people on fire samson said to them since you’ve acted like this I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you he attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them then he went down and stayed in the cave in the rock of a town it’s like he went on vacation I went down to stay in the cave and the rock that’s just the place that I go after I’ve killed many people apparently in samson’s mind the story is baffling where does it go from here the philistines went up and camped in judah so now the philistines are marshaling an army and a camped in judah spreading out near lahi the people of judah asked why have you come to fight against us we have come to take samson prisoner the answer to do to him as he did to us then three thousand men from judah went down to the cave in the rock of a town and said to samson don’t you realize that the philistines are rulers over us what have you done to us he answered I merely did to them what they did to me seems like we’ve heard that language somewhere before it’s becoming like the refrain of the passage they said to him we have come to tie you up and hand you over to the philistines samson said swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves agreed they answered we will only tie you up and hand you over to them we will not kill you so they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock as he approached lahi the philistines came towards him shouting the spirit of the lord came powerfully upon him the ropes and his arms became like charred flax and the bindings dropped from his hands finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men you can buy anything on the internet these days it seems this is the jawbone actually it’s a buffalo jawbone there’ll be someone who’s like that’s not a donkey jawbone couldn’t find a donkey okay it smells bad and this donkey’s teeth were this buffalo’s teeth were definitely in need of dental care um very very british teeth you might say um

we started with a wedding we had a different wedding an unplanned wedding then the crops were on fire then the people were on fire then more people died and now a thousand people are dead by a guy swinging a jawbone this is where anger goes when left unchecked this is where revenge goes when left unchecked and look how the story ends then samson said with a donkey’s jawbone I made donkeys of them with the donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men samson has killed a thousand men with a jawbone and he’s writing verse he’s writing poetry making fun of the dead men and then he drops the jawbone it’s like there it is that’s the end of the story except for those of you that have read it you know it isn’t even the end of the story this story won’t end till samson is stood in a foreign temple with thousands of philistines and in one last moment of strength puts his hand on two columns and brings the whole structure down on them and on himself this story won’t end until everybody is dead this is where anger goes when it’s left unchecked this is what anger anger goes when we live in our own humanness and and remember again I’m not talking about the sense of injustice that leads you to positive action I’m simply talking about the sense of the burning heart within me that just unleashes itself on those around me this is where it goes when we’re left to vent it this is where it goes when we become vesuvius where we simply unleash the anger but what’s the other alternative do we just hold it in is that what Jesus says when Jesus says to us don’t be angry is it simply just stuff it down and I question that and I doubt that because I’ve done that and I know it doesn’t work I used to joke with my family that my dad could wash dishes angry I could watch him at the sink we didn’t have a dishwasher and I could see him knowing that he was supposed to work and I could see that sense of injustice somebody else is getting in the way of where I’m supposed to be and now here I am stood at a sink washing dishes and he wouldn’t yell and he wouldn’t shout but he could see it in all of his body language I am mad I am angry that I am having to do this and I know it especially now because now I do it too now I become my father that’s how it works right you become one of your parents at least that’s the way it seems to work and so now I can stand at a sink washing dishes feeling somebody else should have done this not me and I don’t yell and I don’t shout but somewhere there is an internal sense of ah this isn’t fair maybe you’ve done what I have done maybe you’ve not yelled and not shouted but you can remember times where you had deep fantasies about what you would do to the person that has gotten in your way that has harmed you that has hurt you I remember once being in an argument with someone about something and driving to tennessee the next day overnight and all the way there just thinking about the ways that I would I would deal with this situation if I could thinking about the ways that I was just full of anger full of rage not yelling not shouting but somewhere just trying to stuff it deep down inside I know from good conversations that some of you would honestly say anger is a real struggle for me I struggle with rage I struggle with yelling I struggle with the dragon coming from out from within me and and just venting on whoever is around me but I know there’s others of you including myself that struggle with the opposite we believe because of Jesus words the the thing to do is to just shove it deep down inside believing that that will mean that it never ends up there it never ends up with a thousand people dead and yet what happens so much of the time is this the fire that could have consumed other people it feels like it’s consuming us inside instead like is this how I’m supposed to be is this Jesus best for me when Jesus says that no no you’re not supposed to be angry is this what he had for me I just wonder if it is I just wonder if Jesus has something better I just wonder if his death and resurrection means a different kind of life that we can actually live where it isn’t just anger deep and internal hidden away inside us and when it isn’t anger just vented on the world around us I wonder if he has a different kind of humanness for us a different way to live in what it is to be the image of God is there a third way is there a third way and I would suggest that a third way begins here it begins with honesty not necessarily with the person that has hurt us the person we’re mad with not necessarily with apple computers but maybe with God himself sigmund freud it seems saw some of this when he said that counseling was a great place to let anger out but maybe an even better place is with God himself in relationship with him there are these things in the bible within the writings called imprecatory psalms if you’ve never read them there’s some of the most fascinating language that you’ll ever come across because they really give that like human sense you might read them for the first time and say is this how God feels and the answer is no this is how humans feel this is how humans like you and I often feel this is psalm 58 maybe one of the best of them break the teeth in their mouths oh God lord tear out the fangs of those lions let them vanish like water that flows away when they draw the bow let their arrows fall short may they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along like a stillborn child that never sees the sun I love that language like a slug that melts away let the sun get so hot for them it burns them up God this is language of what it is to long for vengeance long for your enemies to be treated as you feel like they should be treated and maybe a beginning of dealing with anger for us begins with honesty the writer walter bruggeman says this imprecatory psalms are like what it is for a child who’s mad at its sibling to come before the God of the universe as a parent and complain and to ask what they feel like justice is to say you need to deal with this and his question is this what does a good parent do in that moment a good parent probably doesn’t just say oh yeah I’m gonna do all the things that you have on your list in that moment where you come and say my sibling did this I remember this one time where I was out playing in the yard with my brother and he just threw an apple at my head and I was like what is wrong with you who does something like that and I went to my parents with my complaint I’m like you’ve got to fix this guy you’ve got to give justice you need to act here in this moment and I probably had a long list of all the ways that they would act in in ways that I thought were appropriate and a good parent probably doesn’t say in that moment give me your list I’ll make it happen for you but a good parent doesn’t also say you gotta fix this yourself just just live with it it doesn’t matter it’s not important your feelings your emotions they don’t matter to me just get over it put some vaseline on it or whatever you do put some like you know clean it up somehow just get on with life a good parent does neither of those things but a good parent does bring us through this conversation of I totally understand why you are so mad can you trust me to deal with this I can handle the justice you have to let me do it it seems like for us those moments of rage those moments of anger those moments that are so often justified somebody has heard us perhaps very deeply and in those moments we come to the God of the universe as a parent and we say this is what I want you to do I’m trying not to act on it myself I’m trying not to live my own justice I’m coming to you for that justice the God of the universe walks us through this journey of hearing us in our moment of pain but perhaps as well leading us into a next step maybe he leads us into humility maybe he leads us into an honest statement maybe I don’t know the full picture maybe I don’t have all of the information there’s a fascinating character in the bible his name is absalom he’s the son of the famous king david who wrote many of the psalms and absalom was someone who was convinced he knew exactly what justice looked like if only someone would appoint me judge in the land then everyone with a grievance or dispute could come to me and I would give him justice for absalom he knows what justice looks like and he knows how to act on it but humility demands that we say this I don’t know if I do know what justice is and I may not have the answer and there may be ways that this person who hurt me has been broken and hurt themselves there may be ways that what has been done to them was also horrific this is a different picture than just what was done to me I will now do to others this requires that we say maybe I don’t have the information I need to make this judgment and then maybe the last part is this maybe when you’re ready you finish by handing over the jawbone we see what happens when anger leads to its ultimate thing a man is set free miraculously and the first thing he does in that moment is he picks up the nearest object and at the end of it a thousand people are dead somewhere it seems our conversation with God leads us through these different stages it can begin with honesty I want this this is what I want you to do make it fair but it moves us to humility to say maybe I don’t know and maybe I’m not the best person to decide and maybe you are and then maybe in that moment before people start dying before the dragon unleashes its flames before everything goes nuclear maybe we take the jawbone before it’s covered with the blood of other human beings made in the image of God and we hand it over and hopefully you get at this point that the jaw bone is just metaphorical I don’t believe you actually have jaw bones hidden away ready to assault other human beings but I do know from my own experience that maybe you have other weapons I told you about sitting there in that car driving eight hours overnight thinking through all the words I would use all the words that I could weaponize to make sure that the other person knew just how wrong they are we may not pick up jaw bones but we can weaponize words and say I’m going to use this because I know that this hurts the most we can weaponize old stories and situations oh I may have done this this time but remember back 10 years ago when we were on vacation together you did this thing and it was awful and I still remember there are things that we can choose to weaponize and humility the honesty and humility leads us to say in the end God I’m turning over the jawbone I’m turning over the weapon that I know that I can use in my anger to hurt the person that hurt me I’m turning over the right to say I’m only doing to them what they did to me and I’m going to trust you to bring justice let’s take a moment to pray bob is going to come and play for us and I’m just going to lead us through just a short practice based around that idea

I’m going to invite you to um for a moment to contemplate the idea of anger maybe for you it’s deeply connected to that word shame we used last week

maybe you have moments where you’re stressed you haven’t been treated fairly you’ve failed or are embarrassed and you sense that burning in your heart the thing that makes you feel almost inhuman

maybe for you there’s been moments where you’ve vented it on those around you maybe sometimes the people that didn’t deserve it

and right now the the gut of the universe comes and walks alongside you and says I know

but that isn’t the pathway for you there is a new way to be human

maybe for you you’ve taken anger and you’ve just stuffed it down so deep inside that you like in some ways like you don’t even know how to feel anymore you don’t even know what you’re feeling there’s a numbness a crust that has appeared around the edge it cannot must make it feel impossible to enter God’s presence because it’s just so much going on in there the fire may not have consumed other people but it’s definitely consuming you

in this moment what we get to do is we get to come to the God of the universe who loves us and say God I’m just so mad

look what has been done to me it’s not fair somebody else is getting in my way and I want them moved out of the way I want you to deal with them I want you to make them like the slugs that dry up in the heat I want you to break the teeth in their mouths deal with this

and maybe in that moment

the God of the universe just nudges us towards humility maybe he whispers to us a child you don’t see as completely as you think you do doesn’t minimize our pain doesn’t say that it doesn’t matter but maybe just reminds us that there are other there are other stories that we are not familiar with

and then finally there is a moment a conversation

in which he says to us would you drop the weapon would you let it go

I know it’s hard to surrender I know it’s hard to give we sang these dangerous words at the start of the service we sang about giving everything to Jesus and then sometimes he comes along and he tries to take something that we’ve held very dearly our right to vengeance our right to do to them what they did to us

you may go away to other good conversations with good counselors with wise friends with pastors you may honestly say I have internalized this for so many years now it feels like it takes more than just a sermon or a teaching to bring me through this process and that’s all good that’s fine but you can begin every one of us can begin by being honest God this is what I want

Jesus thank you for your new way to be human I think that you that in asking so much of us you don’t ask and just say now it’s on you through your death and resurrection you come alongside us you live within us and you empower us to do hard things

so for my friends my brothers and sisters for whatever they need from you in this moment would you bring it and give it and grant it

in those moments where we’re tempted this week to become less than human would you remind us that we are made in your image

and continue to shape us in your likeness amen friends have a great sunday go in peace

What to do with…Anger | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 4)2022-07-14T13:28:12-06:00

What to do with…Shame | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 3)

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TRANSCRIPT

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what’s so amazing about that video is um I lived most of those black and white videos I was kind of in them growing up and I said to the first service it’s cool but it’s also frightening I think how old I am but uh I’m up taking nourishment this morning and I’m here with you and I’m so delighted to be here with you my wife and I were lead pastors for as a couple for 35 years and this is the last church that we served for 16 years in a pretty tough neighborhood in the toughest city in my opinion in the country detroit michigan but you can see just from that um that gathering of human beings we we sometimes will come together and pray over someone or just pray together as a community at the end of the service and it’s that kind of the love of Jesus lived out in community that we were looking for when we moved to colorado just a few um well about 15 months ago to be with our our daughters uh all three of whom have landed in this area and our six grandkids and sons-in-law and whatnot and we weren’t even really trying to come to south because our oldest daughter andrea some of you know andrea she’s out at the book table with her smallest little baby girl uh or and her husband are already coming here and uh my my other one of my middle daughter and and uh her husband were thinking about coming here and we weren’t trying to be those helicopter parents that are just up in their business all the time and so we weren’t really trying to come here but we walked in to south and felt that I mean who am I to say this to you but this is just I can speak my own truth right we feel Jesus and his love here and so that on top of the fact that we have six grandkids running around and jumping into your arms and get to see my my precious girls who are still my heart um uh carl and my wife carlos sitting right here we’re here also because we feel you and your heart for Jesus so thank you so much for welcoming us so um as I share with you today um you know you don’t know me and I’m often when I when I fly places and speak I will often say this you guys hopefully will get to know us we’ll get to know you but right now most of you don’t know me I’m always thinking why would you listen to somebody you don’t know you don’t in fact with the way pastoring is going today in the country I mean what’s coming out every week about somebody that’s standing up front why would you listen to me I mean alex did vet me so if I’m not who he said I was you can blame him but let me just say this and you can see if you can believe this for me or not this morning I feel you

your hopes your dreams your disappointments your joys your sorrows the reason I feel you is because I am you

so as I share this morning hopefully you won’t take anything that I say coming from some talking head but that you’ll receive me as a brother just sharing out of my own experience with the word and also with life I’m old so I’ve got maybe something behind me to back up what I’ve studied in the scripture hopefully you receive my words as the words of a loving brother so today I’m going to talk about shame that’s our emotion of the morning love’s opposite and what I’ve come to believe is satan’s primary weapon of destruction in our lives first a little bit of my own story and how shame almost destroyed me I grew up in a christian home I trusted christ at the age of five in that christian home but how many of you know that a home can be christian you can believe in the nicene creed but it can still be really emotionally jacked up and so the way I responded to that pain was that I became the super christian youth group kid no partying in high school I was an athlete but I just didn’t go to any parties wasn’t invited because probably I was a downer because of what I wouldn’t do and wouldn’t get involved with I would get up early in the morning study the bible went to a christian university uh played football there became a a small college all-american not I in my view not because I was that great but because I had so much baggage inside

sometimes what doesn’t work well in culture will work well in sports like the anger that I carried um and I would be the guy who would lead the team out into churches and where we talked about Jesus and and young people would think it was cool because we played college ball and whatnot then I went on to seminary and and won an award there for this that and the other and then I became a pastor and that was going pretty well so the point is growing up in this performance-based life in this christian home that was so jacked up with so much baggage I had become fairly successful but I was oh so desperately empty and there were signs along the way I’m not going to give you the whole story this morning and you know we don’t have time but also just we’re new in this community so we want you just to take us to face value when we get to know you we’ll share more but for the first I don’t know how many years of my marriage I was a real bully

very misogynistic I’m ashamed to tell you that especially sisters I hope you’ll realize that God had done some healing in my life and that I so deeply respect daughters of God and my sisters in christ but back then not so much even though I was in love with my wife I did not treat her well um and then you know when we got kids I I can remember this distinctly as being one of those signs of emptiness we used to sit I come home from work we’d sit and watch mr rogers in this big um this big lazy boy chair that eventually we had to throw out not because it wore out but because there was so many skittles and cheerios and what I mean it was absolutely disgusting so and I you know I’m the kind of guy that would live in college dorm furniture forever but even that disgusted me so we had to throw it out but it was a good chair because my girls would sit there with me and drape over me we’d watch mr rogers and I would sit and cry

and I would especially cry when he sang this song it’s you I like it’s not the things you wear it’s not the way you do your hair but it’s who I like the way you are right now the way deep down inside you not the things that hide you not your awards they’re just beside you but it’s you I like every part of you and I would sit and cry but I didn’t know why I mean my my middle daughter who was out there with my oldest daughter she became a therapist I think these were some of the early moments of her therapeutic sensitivity and she would see my tears in fact one time I distinctly remember her touching them to see if they were real and then she I remember her saying to her sister daddy’s crying and then she’d say why are you crying daddy and honestly my brothers and sisters I had no idea but today I do I wanted somebody to sing those words to me I wanted God to sing those words to me

and then finally at the age of 36

pastoring a church some degree of success went north of detroit to give a talk yay on the way home I just the performance thing had empty meat out and I didn’t even think I was suicidal but came within a nat’s eyelash of driving off the freeway into the cement embankment on I-94 just a mile for my three babies and my my precious best friend were sleeping

I was full of bible by the time I graduated from seminary I was telling the early group I had six and a half years of greek two years of hebrew three years of latin I mean this bible was everywhere on me it was all over me and yet I was so empty inside with all the success with all the plaques on the wall I was so empty inside to call brennan manning an author you may have read I was like a travel agent handing out brochures to places I’d never been I could preach a fantastic sermon on love and maybe make you cry about how much God loved you but I had no idea that he loved me and what I’ve come to realize um later on in life is that what was emptying me out was not just the absence of love but the presence of this emotion called shame because where love isn’t shame moves in so that suicide started me on a healing journey out of shame and into the love of God so let’s look at there’s shame that’s the topic let’s look at a definition of shame so we can get into this first of all it’s a painful emotion most most on the at the bottom level of definition it’s a painful emotion generally described as deep humiliation and embarrassment sometimes it’s not all that negative sometimes it’s the feeling that we have when we’re just being human so I was preaching in new york city we were thinking about going from detroit there to a church there called calvary baptist right on 57th street in new york city right down from radio city music hall I mean it was unbelievable I just the most diverse community I’ve ever been in I wept in the morning service was preaching the prodigal son to them in the evening smaller crowd you know they wanted me to preach again and then they were going to take me out for coffee and see if we wanted to come and so the elders came up after the evening service and the chairman of the elders says want to take you out for coffee and pizza but we have one request I said anything he said please zip up your pants

I some of you don’t get it I had preached that entire sermon and by the way it was a sermon on shame I had preached that entire sermon you can’t make this up I preached that entire sermon with my zipper down what did I feel that day I felt like the innocuous version of shame and I can guarantee you I zipped up my pants I checked them several times before I came into this service this morning the second one but the shape that we’re talking about that sucks the life out of us and is there when the love of God isn’t is defined like this it’s an irrational sense of defectiveness not just feeling human you’re not even you’re less than human it’s the pathological belief that one is at the core a deformed being fundamentally unlovable and unworthy of membership in the human community it is the don’t miss this the self regarding the self with the withering unforgiving eye of contempt sandra wilson a christian psychologist wrote a beautiful book that’s been revised on shame and it’s really really good she said shame is when it feels like you’re standing alone on one side of a broken bridge while the whole world stares at you from the other side I think it’s really really important that we differentiate between guilt and shame guilt is about what I do shame is about who I am guilt when we feel guilty it’s appropriate to feel true guilt when we have literally aired when we’ve sinned when we’ve we’ve the word hamartia means to miss the mark when God says this is a life-giving pathway and we choose another pathway well if God loves us he’s going to speak to us through his holy spirit and say that’s not for you daughter hey son you’re off in the far country you need to come home that’s appropriate what the father a good father will never do is say this to you you loser you will never get your act together when you hear that voice it’s never the voice of God the father it’s always the voice of the enemy from hell secondly guilt tells me I made a mistake shame shouts I am a mistake guilt is about activity our actions don’t tell us who we are it’s something we did it’s not who we are but with shame we were born wrong you can correct a mistake what do you do when you’re born defective and there’s nothing that can be done about it it’s a difference between dealing with activity and identity and then thirdly guilt can be forgiven shame requires me to cease to exist many of us know that famous passage out of 1st john if we confess our sins he’s faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness what a wonderful truth that if we screw up today can the word confession uh I think it’s homolog oh it just means to tell God you agree you you screwed up and he says forgiveness through the blood of my son right now like that it’s a wonderful promise what we feel after we’ve confessed sin when we still feel like we want to crawl into a hole that’s opening up in the ground around us and disappear that’s called shame

the truth is shame is absolutely everywhere shame according to the atlantic monthly who did a whole spread on this back in 1992 shame is the number one negative emotion in the west and that seems like quite a few years ago but I can promise you scholars and uh theoreticians will say the same thing today shame in fact dr brene brown you might have listened to this podcast just recently 2012 shame is an unspoken epidemic the secret between behind many forms of broken behavior the um she talks about this I think in one of her books after she gave that ted talk on shame it went viral it put her really on the map she went home and didn’t come out of the house for three days you know why because of shame just because you can control the data intellectually doesn’t mean it still doesn’t impact your heart and then this is from dr uh kurt thompson who’s written several books one amazing book on shame itself he says

shame is everywhere and there’s virtually nothing left untainted by it it is ubiquitous seeping into every nook and cranny of life infecting not just our thoughts but our sensations images feelings and I want we’re going to come back to this phrase in a little bit ultimately even our behavior some of us have been fed this bill of goods that contributes to our shame that the reason that we sin primarily is because we’re a piece of shameful sinful dirt

but what if we don’t sin in a vacuum what if we sin in soil that is tainted by this diabolical emotion that comes from our enemy called shame and then thompson closes by saying it just doesn’t seem to go away well I’ve already said it but let’s dive in a little deeper where does shame come from from hell of course where does it first appear in the scripture genesis chapter 2 verse 25 and alex did such an amazing job of unpacking this text uh talking about our co-creativity with with our father it was really well done son in my in my humble opinion but um this is just a little bit of a different slant let’s look at 225 I want to look at at what what this text says at the apex of creation it says the man and his wife were both naked which was maybe physically naked probably physically naked but representative of an emotional safety that brought them their hearts to the surface but they were absolutely not ashamed there’s no shame 225 the apex of creation all is well God created man or eat adam and eve out of love gave them to each other to love and surrounded them with his love so that adam and eve in 225 don’t miss this they knew nothing about good and evil those words were not a part of their vocabulary they knew nothing about performance failure fear of rejection all of those are shame by products here’s the deal I’ve come to believe that their life there in 225 where they had safety and freedom because they were immersed in love is the intention of God for all of human beings to live for all eternity it was never supposed to be different than genesis 2 25

because to live surrounded by his love is the way he made us

if if we could take a poll this morning when you get up in the morning do you first see in some form the ten commandments on the wall you wake up and you go there’s what I got to get done today I mean you have your own version of the commandments I need to be this good person I need to be that need to be a better need to be and so you wake up and you start feeling shame already because you don’t you’re like the law the law just jumps at you and says get it done

but what if we were intended to get up in the morning and the first thing we see is our heavenly father the way adam and eve woke up every day good morning lord man so good to see you as they embraced and however that worked in the cosmology of his person in theirs we were created to respond not first and foremost to the rules even God’s rules because those are always good we were created to first respond to rules we were created to respond to love in fact I think the quote is there I can’t see yeah I think it is this is what kurt thompson I’m a groupie this is what he said uh as well he says in fact I heard him say this live we all come out of the womb looking for someone looking for us with love and delight

so when that baby um is born and they start doing this and they begin to open their eyes they immediately this is the way their brains are created by God to look for love to tell them who they are if they get love neurobiologists tell us we know this much about the brain if they get love the brain begins to flourish if that baby and they know this as early as the third trimester in the womb they can tell if the baby the baby can tell and they can tell by hooking the baby’s brain up to whatever neurobiologists hook it up to when they hook it up to the child they can tell whether that baby is feeling loved or shamed wanted or unwanted third trimester in the womb and they tell us that what happens is shame if they don’t receive love even in that last trimester the brain begins to shrink it begins to become dysfunctional by the way neurobiologists also tell us the only way that shame can be mitigated is by love it’s in the scriptures we’ll see in a moment that is a neurobiological reality so here’s a couple pictures um this is on the left and some of you remember the day when you didn’t just go into a delivery room you had to go into an operating room and you had to wear all the scrubs and there were bright lights and whatever well this is me with that ridiculous mustache

when I eventually shaved that my six-year-old I came out of the bathroom we were in a hotel my six or seven-year-old I think she was about that age carla she came out and she saw me she wept and she went into the bathroom to look for it and it was obviously it was down the drain I’ll never forget that this is my baby girl andrea who’s sitting at the book table outside her husband is one of our elders and uh I’m looking at her and she’s you can’t see it her eyes were just you know beginning to open they just put that um I forget what they put silver nitrate or something on the eyes and but can I tell you

to this day starting here when I look at that girl I want her to feel me looking at her with love and delight because that’s the way she’s made and I want her to be able to feel that for me and then her next thought I want her to be able to say my dad loves me well but he’s just pointing the way to the God who loves me perfectly as my heavenly father and and here we are 38 years later and here I am um I know I look pretty much the same but that’s still me it’s still me and I’m looking into my baby’s baby’s eyes and look at her you say what’s she thinking she’s not consciously thinking in the way that you and I would you know put words onto our thoughts but I can promise you because she’s been made as gert thompson said in the image of a God who is love she is looking for me to look at her with love and delight when I used to do baby dedications back in our 35 years of pastoring especially the more I understood about the love of God I would take a baby like that and I know some of these parents were freaked out they were like he’s going to drop my kid he’s going to drop my kid he’s going to drop my kid but never dropped one never dropped the lawn I would hold that child up like this and I’d walk around in the audience and I would say what would it be like today if you envisioned for a moment that this is you and I know it’s a stretch but if you could envision your pastor as being the father God the father who loves you and then you could tell they were going somewhere in their minds and then I would just take that baby and I would just

I love you sweetie

I love you so much and you would look out tears running down the faces of folks you know why like kurt thompson said the day that I heard him say this quote he said today I’m still looking for that very same thing folks who will look at me with love and delight

if I could I would just leave this picture up for the rest of the time so instead of looking at quotes and notes I would just want you to take in what this represents it represents my brothers and sisters what we’re all made to long for

and the enemy knows that when we get this we live powerfully we live freely into the specific gifting and the niche that God has given us on this planet there’s no two of you anywhere in time and space in history or on this planet right now you have your own unique niche when we when we’re full of shame we’re shut down when we receive love we live free we take God’s redemptive love into the broken world who by the way isn’t looking for our doctrinal statement they are looking for someone looking for them with love and delight I’m convinced that this is the reason that Jesus at the end of his almost at the end of his speech to his disciples before he left the planet when he was saying I’m leaving you’re staying this is what I want you to be about this is what he comes up with he says as the father has loved me this is the way I’ve loved you don’t forget this you’ve got to live here make your home in abide in my love I’m convinced he was simply Jesus the logos of God was simply repeating genesis 2 25. he was saying this is where we’ve always been intended to live I’ve come to bring us back home to the love of the father which will set us free so as you know satan’s not having any of that and so again not to pull up the entire text because alex did that so well last week what satan basically says in genesis 3 he shows up in the form of a serpent he says God’s love is not enough my brothers and sisters it’s the same lie he tells today it’s not enough I I spoke to a a ton of men 120 men the other night about this love a different kind of a talk and at the end one of the brothers came up and he said but tell me more about discipline and I said discipline is important a little but I said when david have you I said my I said brother don’t take me judgmentally but have you read the psalms lately david said has the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you I said does that sound like discipline to you or does it sound like a son who knows that he’s got a father who loves him and and his life is a desert he literally feels the effect of death unless he gets with that God and so

where religion takes us because satan uses religion even christianity is toward a shame-based disciplined lifestyle which will take us only so far and will never give us freedom away from the love that God says if you live here if you will abide in my love then it will be enough and in fact Jesus goes on to say in that same passage if you love me because I love you you will obey my commandments nothing about discipline lots about being saturated in his love so God says to adam and eve it’s not enough um you have to be about the tree of knowledge of good and evil which bruce walkey says in his incredible commentary on genesis he says it was an invitation into spiritual autonomy God’s good but just take a step yeah you need his love but it’s not enough it’s not holy enough take a step toward the spiritual autonomy of trying to figure out the knowledge of good and evil get involved with the rules figure it out

and so shame is born and the death that God predicted if you eat of the tree you will surely die manifest itself in a relational way and here it is adam and eve made themselves coverings they began to hide naked and not ashamed to hiding that’s the product of shame they began to hide from themselves from one another and from God in fact in this text the word hyder coverage used at least four times uh to show the impact of shame they hid themselves from the presence of the lord it hurt the relationship of God how many of us when we pray really don’t tell him everything I’m just saying I’m not judging I’m you remember I’m you it’s the product of shame how do we come close if we don’t say here I am lord he’s right there he’s not going anywhere it we feel the intimacy when we say here I am and he meets us with his love where are you adam he says God knew where adam was I think he wanted to know if adam knew where he was adam and started to run and divide from himself the woman you gave me she gave me of the tree naked and not ashamed to it’s her fault the serpent deceived me eve says the devil made me do it it divorces us from taking any true responsibility for our journey and then of course God had said you will surely die by genesis 4 somebody was dead cain rose up against his brother abel and killed him that’s the impact of shame it divides us relationally relational death relational death

don’t have time to get in this much but before we kind of begin to land the plane um I’ve given you the history and the theology a little bit of genesis where shame enters you know where shame enters us most prolifically in our personal lives through shame based family systems

I mean what if mom and dad don’t know the love of God

they’re made to know it but what if they grew up in shame so we give listen we give away what we’ve received if we’ve received 20 40 of love not that you can ever categorize that or percentage percentage it but if we’ve received 40 percent we’re giving for the rest of it is shame

and the most well-meaning parents will pass on that I was one of those well-meaning parents one time while I was trying to heal from shame we I remember we did a series on how to parent well and we didn’t talk on shane back in our church to service church back in detroit and I asked my oldest daughters andrea lane if they do a little role play with me my oldest daughter I mean she was all about it and she was like like a little actress and so I stood up there and played I wanted people to feel this and so I played the big strong tall shaming father blah blah blah I mean and I really put put it on and andrew was like oh daddy that isn’t the way to parent me or something like that in other words she just really played the role and everybody clapped and everybody got it you know parents went home and started to evaluate my parents not of love or shame second service my little leanne the therapist the sensitive one the one that would you know touch my tears in my cheek she got up there and I played the big strong shaming dad and she was about this tall and she stood there as I shamed her in a play act and she started to weep she said daddy I don’t want to do this anymore in front of 400 people and of course what I did is I got on my knees and I went like this and took her in my arms remember this sweetie and she said carla said on the front row and I just gave her two to my wife and I don’t know what happened after that quite frankly but this I can tell you in that moment a role play became a reenactment

my little girl had begun to internalize the shame of this shame-based father who loved her deeply but if what we have is shame that’s what we give I was saying the first service we’re going to do a retreat sometime and just unpack more of this as it relates to parents I think it would be really life-giving and healing and then if it’s not the family system it’s culture magazines television shows the neighbors next door it’s the way culture is pushes at us this feeling of you’ll never measure up you’ll never be good enough you’ll never make it you’re not like the rest of us we’re over here on this side of the bridge you stand alone on the other side I remember being a seventh grader we ought to be able to skip junior high all together raise your hand if you agree with that skip it skip it I might run for the school board and see if we can get that done I mean that’s it just it’s you’re so confused at that age I was seventh grade shame-based home all kinds of stuff going on along with a lot of Jesus talk and God bless my parents I don’t mean to disrespect them they did the best they could with what they had but they grew up in that mess themselves and so my mom we didn’t have much money until my dad got a little bit more successful and so she had to order my pants out of a jc penny catalog and how many of you know that back in the day the catalogs they look like this color and it turned out to be this color so she ordered these green pants and I’m telling you when I put them on you could not find this color anywhere in nature I’m telling you it it might have been on a color wheel somewhere but you you look in the closet you couldn’t find a shirt to go with these pants so I put on something and I went to school dutifully sat in the middle of my health class and the big tall former college basketball player six foot seven mr maupin that everybody just worshipped him and loved him and I was an aspiring athlete I wanted him to like me he sat down looked around the room saw me and shouted nice outfit butcher

fair enough I mean you could put it on a sitcom about you know whatever but you know what I remember that day it’s almost like it was like going to the county fair looking at one of those mirrors where the faces are all like this you know and they’re all warped I remember I’m 60 almost I would have been 13. and as I tell you that story and I and I look at you and you’re envisioning me in those green pants I’m having a visceral reaction inside my heart of all those kids turning at me and laughing

can you imagine why teen suicide is going like this these kids are just kids and they’re trying to deal with the shame of shame-based parents they’re trying to deal with the shame that pushes at them from culture many of them don’t know that there’s a God who loves him with all of his heart

so again as we turn the corner here let’s get really personal about this I’m going to ask you to have some courage as we just kind of look at a few things in the way it might have impacted us first um this is again kurt thompson shame is used to dismantle us as individuals

in communities and destroy all of God’s creation it is the primary tool that evil leverages out of which emerges anything that we would call sin isn’t it interesting we talked about shame in genesis 2. who what what’s the name assigned to the enemy the serpent in revelation 12. the accuser of the brothers and sisters accusing them day and night and then this is from my second book not because I just like quoting my books but I think it’s a good quote to back up what dr thompson says um and I referenced this earlier I said we’re going to come back to this we don’t sin in a vacuum

we don’t just wake up in the morning going gosh sin I think I’m all about it if we’re in our right minds we don’t that’s not us we choose sin under the influence of a deadly spiritual toxin called shame God loves us and created us to respond most naturally to his love and while we can foolishly choose to disobey despite his love his love never ever gives us reason to disobey only shame beckons us toward the darkness I’m not giving us a pass to sin to go it was the shame it was the serpent like even said he said I’m giving us some space to stop shaming ourselves about our sin so we can begin to heal with the love of christ so that we want to obey the one who loves us

I used to think all about the rules that was my life Jesus died to give us more rules that’s kind of how I interpret it as a kid today this is not me being spiritual if you know me I am I’m the polar opposite of that I’m just telling you because I’m old and I’ve done a little healing work I never think about the rules but every moment of every day I think about the one who calls me his beloved son and I can still choose to ignore that love and sometimes I do ridiculously so but more often than not these days I’m like thanks abba and I live out of that love never once thinking about anybody’s version of the rules

so shame destroys relationships with ourselves with others and with God check out a few of these we don’t have a lot of time um maybe someday if alex and the staff give me permission we can go deeper in some kind of a bible study about this um since I we this is our church this is uh this is our home and we want to serve we want to use our gifts and the way that God can use us what if this is one of the signs that you might be wrestling today when we don’t know who we are or secretly hate who we are we’re wrestling with shame because we don’t quite know the love of God this is hard to admit by the way you walk into a room you don’t know where to go and so you go to a crowd of somebody’s and then you find yourself start to morph into what the crowd is instead of just being yourself I’m sure you’ve done that I’ve done that could it be because we don’t really know who we are and if I ask you today who you are you might give me a version of what your mama thought you were supposed to be or what your last church tried to force you to be but who are we

and on steroids that lack of identity turns into self-hatred and you might say can a real christian hate themselves I did then I didn’t want it to die I hated myself with all the awards on the wall I hated myself it’s not easy to admit is it can you imagine coming in from the south parking lot all those smiling faces and you you said to your friend bill hey bill how you doing he was good he looks back at you he says hey kev how you doing I’m doing pretty good I hate myself but otherwise I’m fine

where is the space I can here’s what I can tell you because I’m old again and I I know people I am you remember there are some self-haters in here today and

I just want to tell you God loves you you have a father who loves you and that self-hatred that comes from shame maybe it’s the voice of your absent father I don’t know how you were hurt and how you were presently being hurt this I can tell you God loves you and he wants to heal that broken wounded place so you don’t have to go around the rest of your life thinking that you’re not wanted and you don’t even want yourself you can heal through the love of Jesus christ you can begin to get free

how about tormented by voices from childhood

how would my daughter if all I was was you need to and stop and will you ever amount to anything how would she ever be able to hear the voice of her abba saying you are my beloved daughter and whom I am well pleased

part of our healing is owning those voices and knowing that the love of Jesus can heal them what if we’re constantly looking for approval could that be a sign

it’s good to be encouraged but I can remember early on in my journey from from shame to love after I would preach I I mean my leaves are rolled up now but I literally if they weren’t I’d roll them up and I wouldn’t do this physically obviously it’d be obnoxious but I would come down and I’m telling do you think I was looking just to minister to the saints no I was like tell me something man shoot it up man I mean I’ve seen heroin addicts shoot up I wanted them to shoot me with something from out here that would make me feel for a minute that I was okay because after I got done unveiling and feeling the wounds of life that I hadn’t healed from yet I came down I just wanted to tell me I was okay when we want affection and control some of us live with that in our marriages we want our spouse to be something their affirmation of you brother or sister can never heal the wound their love can create space for that healing but at some point we’ve got to own this and begin to hear the voice of the father calling us his beloved sons and daughters how about when we’re constantly critical of others that’s usually motivated by an internal critic I can tell to this day

and carla can tell as well when I get critical of her and I’m not just saying when you share with your spouse could you do that and not this would that be okay that’s a need I have that’s fair but when you have that critical thing going you’re just picking that’s never about her that’s always about that internal critic of shame inside my heart another sign that we’re struggling what about having difficulty in relationships could it be for for about the first decade of our marriage carla could tell I was trying to you know get something from her and I remember one day her saying to me what do you want from me I didn’t know now I know I wanted to fill up the hole in my heart that only the love of God and Jesus christ could feel I wanted her love to push back the darkness she’s just a person her love has can be the icing in my journey as a human being it can never be the cake no friend can take the place with their love of the love of the father for you and for me how about never at peace constantly driven and I know sometimes we make all kinds of excuses for just being the energizer buddy we’re all always going and I know we live busy lives and all of that is fair and good I’m not judging anybody here this morning but could it be that sometimes we keep on going because if we stop the voices of shame begin to rise up in our spirit and if we pause we’ll have to listen to what that voice is saying and realize that we need to do some healing work how about addictive tendencies addictions of any kind whether they’re like off the streets of detroit um where we saw so much you know crack and heroin and alcohol I could tell you so many stories the first book is full of stories of folk who met the love of God on that porch that were totally addicted but I mean some of the other kinds of addictions you know when you’re like a little league game and some dad’s going yeah that wasn’t a strike that that brother’s addicted man do you think he’s I mean I’m not judging that brother but I just know people do you think he’s there because he just is trying to give his son a good experience

he the shame is pouring out he’s addicted to his son’s performance and that that umpire just messed it up so even some of those you know you could be addicted to church it’s where you get all your feels that make you not have to deal with the pain inside addictive tendencies always mask longing for the love to drive back to shame then of course struggling to find intimacy with God and christianity is I gotta I got an email of last year when I was writing my second book a guy said a guy was saying sign up you know give me a hundred bucks and I’ll share with you 20 prayer habits that will make you successful in your prayer life and that that thing was dripping with shame and I thought wait I’ve got a God who loves me that I want to talk to all day long and you’re trying to give me a habit and if I don’t live into the habit I feel like what and so delete God bless him or her whoever it was but we feel so much shame when we don’t get up in the morning and read this book I know some of us do I was that guy and and and caroline my youngest daughter who’s doing her master’s right now over at uc colorado or uc boulder she said to me one time why would I want to read this bible dad when I open it up what I what I feel is what I’m not doing that I’m supposed to be doing or what I’m doing that I’m not supposed to be doing

when shame is at the core of our relationship with God with his word with prayer who would want it’s not about you being more disciplined take that off your shoulders in my opinion it has much to do with healing from shame and learning to receive the voice of the father that says I love you and as we begin to know that love we will be running to this book not as a rule book for our christianity but as a handbook of love for how much he loves us in christ every moment every day of our lives so finally

how do we heal

and I think first of all

and I don’t know if I’ve done a very good job of communicating this but let me see if I can share this paradigm we on a daily basis by moment we’ll either choose to live may be somewhat in touch with the love of God like adam and eve but really about the tree of knowledge of good and evil what are the rules today how can I try harder how can I get with them how can I buckle down how can I listen to six more sermon series how can I buy that new translation of the bible that’s sure to change my spiritual journey all’s gonna be well because I got the latest transition off of amazon I need you we either live there and it sucks the life out of us made me want to die or we say that is bondage that is death and I’ve got a God who says through his son make your home and my love and my love will set you free

now for the next hour I’d like to talk to you but no I’m just he’s just easy I know I’m long this could be my last appearance at south you never know um I really you would not know how much I whittled this talk down but it’s still where it I’m it is what it is um the reason we know we can heal there’s lots of reasons but this is one of them look at this text out of the book of hebrews

forget christianity for a minute forget it forget it I don’t even use the word anymore people say what are you they see me studying the bible um I follow Jesus of nazareth and I love him you say christianity and it will take them places that you don’t want them to go so let’s stop looking at christianity for a moment looking unto Jesus

the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him well there’s so much there but he endured the cross despising the shame the the word despised the greek word could either mean

looking at shame with contempt and saying you’re done or it could mean conversely maybe both of these are impacted here it could mean he when shame tried to derail Jesus from going to the cross he said you are nothing to me I’m the son of God and I love my I love the folks I’m dying for you are nothing to me but he despised the shame this is a reference to genesis 3 I promise can you imagine satan entered the world with shame and the savior the deliverer is conquering shame at the cross that forgives us for all time and space and eternity he despised the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God Jesus whooped shame at the cross with his love that’s why we can defeat shame I don’t think sometimes we think of and I didn’t for years and years think of shame the cross being a shame bearing instrument it was just like it hurts if you if you’ve ever seen the pictures I mean it’s torture but for the romans it wasn’t just torture it was about putting that crucified victim crucifixion victim near a road like if this is golgotha there would be a road here he wouldn’t be crucified they wouldn’t be crucified way back here because then people would have to look from afar it would be right here so people could see the pain and say that’s what happens when you defy rome but it wasn’t just the torture it was the nakedness

I don’t want to offend any of our sensibilities and I understand why the medieval painters the masters painted Jesus with a loincloth but the romans never crucified anyone with a loincloth

the son of God bled naked on a roman cross he told shame to go back to hell where it came from because he loved us david crowder has that song it’s a long road of gog of a hill but there ain’t no stopping love

and then the jewish community they wagged their heads the old king james says they looked at him and said yeah you called yourself the messiah because they knew that anybody who got crucified remember in galatians anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed so roman shame jewish shame and then the shame of bearing the sins of the world my God my God even you have left me

this is what empty wright says he said love took Jesus to the cross despising that shame all the way along love kept Jesus on the cross when shame tried to rip him down

and love when Jesus said it is finished love crushed shame embedded in the powers of darkness so that today shame has no power except the power that we give it

and so not trying to be cur not trying to be simplistic I hate simple answers you know here’s the list read this list change your life no no no but try this on for size if we’re looking for a healing pathway vulnerability the vulnerability that our savior led us with

met by his love pushes back shame

and the reason vulnerability is so important is because

like if I’m saying to my my brother alex that I love him and by the way I love you I really do I’ve grown to love you in the few short months we’ve been together if I say to him I love you alex and alex knows yeah but kevin doesn’t know me because I’ve kept my mask on that he will intuitively know that I’m not loving him I’m loving a caricature of him so for love to have its full power we’ve got to take off our mask which is why paul says in ephesians 4 stop lying to one another

because we’re members of one another so when alex takes off his mask and he says this is what I didn’t want you to know kev but this is part of what’s real and the love of God through me hits him he begins to heal

so here’s the question are we so done with shame that we’re ready to gulp get vulnerable a sister asked me this morning where do I start I said why not start with why not start with your heavenly father

paul says God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear into bondage again but he’s given us the holy spirit of adoption it causes our hearts to cry out abba father when I come home from church my little girl andrea would run to the window and cry out daddy’s home daddy’s home that’s romans 8 15. paul is saying yes he’s the creator he is the sovereign he is the lord he’s the king but he’s inviting you to know him as a son or a daughter as your abba so that when you think about him you can’t help but cry out to him sometimes in joy sometimes in great sorrow

and then he meets you there because he’s your abba he’s your father he loves you I said this to your precious sister what would it be like if today as you just went out the door is you just began to take off your mask with God that you might have thought he’s going to be so mad if he knows by the way he already knows

I often think of parents of two-year-olds the two-year-olds are out there they don’t think you ever watch a two-year-old they’re out there they don’t think their parent sees them and they’re going

the parent knows but when that two-year-old gets in trouble what does the parent say come to me sweetie and I can help you they already knew but they wanted the the child to turn there’s something magical that happens when we turn toward the one we know who loves us and we we get honest and then healing occurs what if we started by just getting maybe more vulnerable than we’ve ever been with the God who says I’m your father I’m your abba father that term that if you’re on the streets of jerusalem today you’ll hear little kids running around going abba abba he is that to you and to me when my girls were little they would get in pain run up climb up into my chest they would sob out their mess their pain their darkness and then at about 10 minutes without so much as a thank you they’d push me away and go play what happened they gave me their ashes and I gave them my beauty they gave me their fear and I gave them my courage they gave me their shame and I gave them my love and sometimes without saying a word they felt the healing to the point that they could go live what about starting with him

but then finally and this really is finally usually when I’m preaching I’m going along I’ll say finally about six times but this is the real I do have one story after this but this is finally before the final story shame on me right um can you imagine this verse written by peter who was there when Jesus said abide in my love that’s it peter who in shame denied christ and came back and Jesus said do you love me are we doing because that’s it it’s that relationship you’re good he says to the early church in asia minor above all things

and you know what above all things means in greek it means above all things it’s very very sophisticated have fervent love for one another for that love will cover a multitude of sins I think what it’s saying is that the body of christ is intended to be the healing community where out there we don’t feel very safe so we we might be more judicious about opening up and saying this is who I really am depending on the scenario what love calls for in here where christ dwells with his people the one whose love took him to the cross kept him on the cross crushed the powers on the cross for us here we can come in and take our masks off and so when our mess hits the love that is received in the body of christ we begin to heal

I want to tell you this final story

I met in my second church in detroit we pastored two churches in detroit the last one deep in the hood the other one in on the edge of detroit and

one sunday morning I was a young pastor I had just come off of that near suicide attempt I had just read the ragamuffin gospel by brennan manning just begun to experience the love of God in a new way so I was a real baby in terms of the love of Jesus but she said well you go see my ex-husband in in the macomb county jail he was waiting to get sentenced to prison

and I said what’s he in for and she goes sexual assault

and as dan told me his story later this is one of the most broken shame-based human beings that I’ve ever met his dad came back from vietnam a wreck addicted as many of our good brothers and sisters who fought there came back and the war what they saw I mean he was just a mess

and so he used to just beat dan this little kid when he was a little boy the shame was just downloaded his daddy’s shame God love him was just downloaded into him so by the age of eight he was breaking and entering in the neighborhood and then he started using drugs he finally got the heroin and he told me about several times when he woke up with a needle in his arm and he was blue he almost died

and then he started acting out toward women in abusive and abusive ways I can’t even I wouldn’t say it makes companies so much of what I knew about his brokenness in that area

so that’s the guy I met that day when I when I went out with my bible had no I I skipped the class in seminary about going to visit folks in prison so I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I had a contact visit sat down they brought den in he was he was all you know musk just a big guy shaved head and he looked meaner than a snake man wounded he came in he was all manacled so he shuffled over to the table sat down put his arms there looked at me and if looks could have killed I didn’t know what to do so I opened up the bible started reading something out of the gospel of john about the love of Jesus and I could tell after about three minutes he wasn’t having any of it

so I closed the bible and I’m not kidding you I did not know what to do but I can tell you what happened the tears started as I was looking down because I didn’t know what to do the tears started coming down in my out of my eyes remember I was a rookie with the love of God but I’m convinced I am convinced that those were the tears of christ and his love being being cried through me for this broken son it’s what happens when you begin to experience that love you can’t not I wasn’t trying I didn’t have a plan I didn’t press my tear ducts it just happened

I pushed my bible aside I got up went around the table dan stood up he knew the visit was over and so did I the guard was standing there and I took spontaneously I took dan in my arms

and I kissed him if you know anything about prison ministry you know you’re not you’re not supposed to be kissing the inmates

I kissed him on his cheek had him like this lean over this way and then I whispered not just wish but I whispered in his ear

I look back today even alex on my walk but that’s what came out of me I think it was the love of God that came up I think Jesus was whispering in his ear I said I love you man and I’m with you all the way home

and then I left I went out in the parking lot and I literally I beat the living tire out of myself what did I do why didn’t I just say see you in court I’ll send you a card

shame dan went back into his cubicle and he told me this later he said to himself what just happened to me don’t miss this whatever that was I’ve got to have more inside that broken man was a heart created by the God of love that was looking for someone looking for him with love and delight and when his pain met the love of Jesus and broken down me he began his healing journey on the spot that day the powers of darkness could not withstand the power of the love of christ that love followed him through the next eight years of prison he didn’t trust christ for eight years but he knew he’d tell stories God’s after me God’s after me man finally a little southern baptist preacher came into the prison preached a sermon he trusted christ did the last eight years of his sentence he did ended up doing 18 years without one major ticket with this which is a miracle came out and when he was released from confinement after he got out of prison he came to our church and that first sunday or second sunday we had him serve communion

and here’s shame-based broken dan schoenfeld with the body and the blood representing the love of the cross healing from that shame knowing that love to the point that he gave me one of his his bibles from prison marked up everywhere favorite passage isaiah 53 which was triple marked up and at the top of that great passage which describes the love of Jesus for us on the cross he had written in bold letters and outlined I love you Jesus and he stood

What to do with…Shame | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 3)2022-07-14T13:19:45-06:00

What to do with… Discontent | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 2)

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so so that’s a somewhat old video of my kids that I put together just just because it’s got this poignant question right like what do you want to be like what what’s the future hold for you she’s wrestling already and the fun part is now we get to go back and and wrestle we we spoke about this the other day and I said well does that still work and she’s like no I I don’t know I want to be famous anymore that seems like really hard work and and our lives maybe I spent asking this question maybe what do we want to be maybe just simply what do I want we’re in this series where we’re talking about emotions and we’ll get to that in a second let me just make sure for those of you who weren’t here last week we’re up to speed we’re in this series on the church calendar that we would call lent through to easter it’s this idea that God is for us that Jesus came into this world to to rescue us to do something specific for us now we don’t go like full send on lent uh we we sang a song with a thousand hallelujahs in it so let me just say we protect you from some of the that we I’ve got some friends who pastor a church down the road and and I was chatting to them the other day and they said you know we fast the word hallelujah for like the the season of lent I’m like well we’re just gonna take all your hallelujahs and we’ll use all of them because we’re going to sing a thousand hallelujahs and and now when I do that usually aaron takes that as this moment where he’s now going to put together this really melancholy feely set next week and just to warn you that’s probably coming lent is the season where we generally think more about the the more difficult things and that’s helpful for me because I tend to be upbeat almost all the time and so for me just being me you wouldn’t get much of that this calendar sort of protects you from that and we make this movement through easter this celebration of resurrection on resurrection sunday all the way through to pentecost where we celebrate the idea that if you are a follower of Jesus the promise is that God’s spirit dwells within you that this is a new thing and you get to partner with him in the world around you and so we pick the season to talk about some emotions and emotions any time you start to unpack them this could be a hard conversation some of us would say I don’t want to do that some of you have already said to me if I did that my wife wouldn’t know me anymore it’s probably not a good idea to open that pandora’s box sort of 30 40 years into a marriage but the truth is like we we tend to go one of two ways we tend to either just not talk about them at all maybe we talk about them a little bit too much one of the things that helped me understand this a little bit was was the idea of family road trips and I picked the great bluey cartoon there’s a lot of cartoon in here today I don’t have a reason for that some of you could probably find a reason but but you think about going on a road trip with your kids it’s chaos it’s it’s noisy there’s some fun to it the truth is when you go on that kind of trip there’s two things you can’t do you can’t just shove your kids in the trunk of the car you can’t do so some of you are like there’s one parent in every family that’s like you’re the one that would put them in the trunk of the car you also can’t let them drive the car like you can’t have them in charge and there’s probably one parent that’s like you’re the one that would let them drive and you can figure out who is who there’s those two tendencies emotions can’t drive everything about your life they can’t control everything but if you just shut them in a trunk you’re kind of missing some of the purpose I think we tend to talk about emotions as good versus bad maybe better language languages is this maybe easy and difficult emotions there’s some emotions that are really easy to feel happiness is really easy to feel and yet we handed out an emotions wheel last week and talked about this all this big spectrum of 72 different emotions and and a chunk of them right a negative or difficult chunk of them aren’t easy to feel necessarily and yet why is this important work a couple of things on a practical level this is john gottman from the one of the big marriage institutes in america emotionally intelligent husbands are key to a lasting marriage so if you’re a guy here who’s married or would like to be married and you’re saying I don’t want to do emotional work the truth is you being emotionally healthy is one of the biggest predictors as to whether you’ll have a healthy marriage that’s a big deal right secondly does this idea that following Jesus some of us we treat that as just about thinking or thoughts we have information about God and yet I would suggest these feelings bring new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted genuinely meeting God in love not simply in thoughts will therefore always be deeply growth producing somewhere my hope for us as individuals in a community is we don’t just have information that says God loves us but the somewhere where that drops from just a cerebral thing into some of the feelings into some of the emotional core does that mean you always have to feel that way it doesn’t but does it mean that actually sometimes you should and you should have this awareness that God loves you that he likes you that’s an important thing and then the truth is just from the beginning it seems that God thinks emotions are important from the early hebrew tradition on the story of the first family this ad these adam and eve characters I’m going to introduce you to if you’re unfamiliar with them they were understood as fundamentally about emotions and emotional suffering as central to God’s oracle to the first couple what does that mean that could probably use a little bit of unpacking the truth is we were made with emotion but the four introduces emotional suffering from the beginning there is emotion in this genesis story that will unpack God creates and he is happy in his creation he says it is good he enjoys it there is emotion there it seems that for the first couple there is emotional tranquility for the most part to start with there are good emotions and yet this fall creates this idea of emotional suffering everything changes in that moment so for this emotion today we’re gonna track back to this story this not the first story of the first human couple maybe the second story the first different story we’re told quite simply God makes adam and eve now some of you in the room would say I’m very much an evolutionist we’re just gonna leave you with that for a second some of you would say I’m very much a six day creationist and and some of you would say I don’t know what either of those two things are and that’s fine as well we’re just gonna start with the story as we’re given it within the text and we’re told in genesis chapter 3 if you have a text that this is what happened now the serpent again no information about who the serpent is no information about where he came from no information about the origin of evil in the universe just simply a garden with adam and eve and a new character enters everything is good in the garden this serpent character enters the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the lord God had made he said to the woman did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden now the woman said to the serpent we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden but God did say you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it or you will die you will not certainly die the serpent said to the woman for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil when the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom she took some and ate it she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it this is the story we are presented with in genesis chapter 3 a man and a woman occupy this garden it is good this character comes in who convinces them to make a decision that will lead to a story that is not good what what happens what my question would be this what emotion is here what causes them to make this decision yes the answer might be like we know maybe our bible history maybe it’s just that word is temptation but but okay but what emotion caused that temptation why make this decision what is the motivation if that’s important for this decision so let’s go back a little bit further we started in genesis chapter 3. let’s go back to genesis chapter 2 and see if that helps us at all so in genesis chapter 2 verse 7 we’re told the lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being verse 8 and 9 now the lord God had planted a garden in the east in eden and there he put the man he had formed the lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food in the middle of the garden there was a tree the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the lord God took the man and put him in the garden and eden of eden to work it and to take care of it and the lord God commanded the man you are free to eat from any tree in the garden but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat from it you will certainly die and this is just an important little thing for next week adam and eve and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame the story we read in genesis chapter three will cause shame but right now shame is not an emotion that they feel and next week kevin butcher will come and he’ll teach us on shame it’s going to be fantastic he was a pastor in detroit for many years and has written a ton on this so I’m really excited to hear what he shares with us but right now before all of this their stories they don’t feel shame there is no emotional suffering at this point what causes them what does this serpent character do to move them from a story that is good to a story that will be bad how does he play on their emotions to say no no we’re gonna we’re gonna move you into this new story I would suggest the central emotion of this story is discontent they believe that God is holding out on them they have one story that is good and this serpent convinced them it convinces them there is another story that is even better if you make this decision if you do this thing the new story will be even better than the current story and and the interesting part perhaps is this it says that they will die and yet when they do it they don’t die initially it seems that the serpent is the one that has told the truth he said that you won’t die and they don’t but they do begin to die something has happened that has fundamentally changed the story that they will live and a james a new testament writer will say this then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and sin when it is foreground gives birth to death somewhere this decision changes fundamentally their story it was a good story and now it is a bad story it was a story with no shame and it’s now a story with shame and all of that centers around discontent and again so another question why how does this character that come in convince them that the story will be better if they follow his narrative or his idea of what comes next what causes the discontent what causes it let’s go back a little bit further we did genesis chapter three we did genesis chapter two now let’s go back to genesis one genesis chapter 1 gives us maybe what you might call the initial story like the first story who are you and I made to be so let’s go back and look at that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth now the earth was formless and empty darkness was over the face of the deep this writer isn’t concerned by the fact that God might make a world that was broken and needed fixing he just says that’s what happened that’s no more problematic to him than God creating a world in six days when he could have done it like that the spirit of God was hovering over the waters we skip down to verse 11 and see how this creation shapes then God said let the land produce vegetation seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to their various kinds and it was so the land produced vegetation plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds and guards saw that it was good and there was evening and there was mourning the third day God doesn’t just make trees and then make another tree and then make another tree he makes trees that make other trees he makes a creation that’s continually producing there’s a couple of words there that become important there’s this word dasha which means to sprout bring forth and produce you guys experience this or will experience in a couple of weeks you know when you go to the cracks in your driveway and things are growing out of them that isn’t because you planted something there unless you’re doing gardening completely wrong there is some life in creation that just springs out and continues to produce this word zera seed or offspring trees that produce other trees through their seeds it’s almost the same language as children this creation that God makes is vibrant and continuing and growing it doesn’t just stay as it is maybe some of you guys that have been in church for a long time if you’ve heard words like eden is perfect the answer is well yes depending on what you mean by perfect if by perfect do you mean it was this place that was just supposed to stay exactly as it was forever and ever then no genesis this writer does not understand that kind of perfect he understands a kind of perfect that is growing and expanding it’s perfect in its intent or its origin but it doesn’t just stay there static and and like it was for all time it has this purpose laced into it there is dasha there is zera there are these words that are expanding and there are growing and all this is important because now you and I get introduced into the story at least in terms of our forefathers or our first couple then God said let the land produce vegetation and it was so God speaks and it happens he is creative and he puts creativity into his creation then God said let us make mankind in our image in our likeness so they may rule over the fish and the sea and the birds in the sky over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground so the word here that’s important is this word selem which is just simply meaning to resemble something not physically we don’t physically resemble this creator but somewhere we are like him somewhere in our creativity and our way of doing things we operate like he does and doesn’t that speak to some of the difference that you see between us and other parts of creation a bird doesn’t wake up one morning and say do you know I’m just a little unhappy with how my curtains match my bed sheets and how that blends with the carpet and all of those different things so I think I’ll just redecorate the whole thing to a bird and nest is functional it has a purpose to us it’s a it’s a way of endless creativity of creating new options of bringing out color palettes that ladies understand and guys don’t we’ll get to that another week because that’s an important way of thinking about emotion then God said let us make mankind in our image in our likeness so they may rule over the fish and the sea and the birds in the sky over the livestock and all the wild animals over all the creatures that move along the ground so they may rule now rulership is added into this and then be fruitful and increase in number fill the earth and subdue it rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground if you’re someone who loves hunting I’m giving you an apology for hunting right now it seems because somewhere you’re supposed to rule over this world according to this writer in genesis there’s different words that come in here this word radar which means to tread down to to give it some shape you as a person in creation are made to help shape it it seems that was your original purpose and then this word this beautiful word kabash which means to subdue this is like the verb that someone who is a radha a ruler would act upon it it reminds me do any any of you guys play that whack-a-mole game uh where you go to the arcade and these things they jump up and you have a hammer and you have to keep hitting them and it seems that’s what you and I are made to do in creation to a certain degree we’re supposed to keep it in control the things that grow the cracks that grow you have to take care of them the plants that grow up when they’re not supposed to somewhere you are made to deal with that thing you are made to have a role in that then God said I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it they will be yours for food I would suggest and I think there’s lots of other writers that would suggest that our role is to be involved with God in his creation this is what philip hefner says we are created by God to be co-creators in the creation that God has purposefully brought into being we are made to be co-creators that’s our original story we are co-creators so think about what that means when you get a little bit further along somewhere God has made a world and he has made this world and it is bro it is chaotic is the word that is used and then he plants this garden that isn’t chaotic he plants this garden that that meets all of his standards that is as he would shape the world and he puts people in it like you and I and he says now grow this thing this thing is infused with life it will continue to grow but shape it form it help it go in the right direction you might say that discontent is embedded in the story I I said that discontent was what caused adam and eve to make this decision that changed everything for everyone but but somewhere if we believe eden is supposed to grow and supposed to be shaped by people like you and I discontent is supposed to be there think about that moment that maybe you’ve had I have my two my 0.25 acres my little highlands ranch plot and I have these moments where it starts to get dark and I’m out there working and I’m like I just I just wish it would stay light for another hour I have so much that I want to do I I want to do all of these different things to make it as I’ve imagined it and somewhere that pictures or mirrors their story they were made to shape the creation God had infused with life they were co-creators and maybe that tells us something about where the story is going I have this suspicion that for many of us if we’re honest even if we’ve sat in church for many years when people mention heaven secretly there’s this thing inside us that’s like sounds kind of boring I I don’t actually know if I want to go there I was told heaven was an endless worship service and there was part of me that was like what is that it because every one of us have had these moments where we stand singing songs and we’ve been standing for 20 minutes and aaron has this beautiful delightful voice and yet we’re like I’m ready to do something different I can’t just keep singing forever and I always pictured this this idea that it was just this endless worship service and then I read genesis and I was like wait work was there in the beginning involvement in the story and shaping it was there from the beginning I was made to co-create with God and that’s got some different elements than just singing now I’m not saying that there won’t be lots of singing in heaven it seems to be in the text it seems to be this idea that we will sing praises to God and yet there seems to be still this sense that we will be involved in something that is bigger than just singing songs if that’s your picture of heaven maybe there is an element in your honest moments like I don’t know if I want to do that or don’t know if that feels like like like what heaven is or what God has planned it seems like we’ve lost some picture of just where the story is going discontent is embedded into the story it was supposed to guide their stewardship of the earth as we partner with God in more creativity you are creative because your creator is creative when you are creating you are partnering with him when you operate in this world you are stewarding with him and yet even in the midst of that good story that exciting story somehow this character comes in this serpent and he’s able to sow some scent of some sense of different discontent yes there was discontent this should be growing this needs to expand God has more work to do and we get to partner with him and now this serpent comes in and he brings in a different narrative a different kind of discontent you will not certainly die if you eat this fruit the serpent said to the woman for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil somewhere this serpent’s idea is that there might be a better story maybe God is holding out on you right now as a co-creator he’s still the centerpiece of the story but what if you were the center of the story what if it was about you what if you were like him what what if you were God the serpent’s discontent is about is not about the story it’s about their role in the story it suggests that there may be something else for them the cause of this new discontent is the serpent’s idea that there might be a more advantageous story what if there could be more what if I could have everything I ever wanted what if there’s something else the writer of this book ecclesiastes this mysterious book that has no known author says this and I saw that all toil and achievements spring from one person’s envy of another this too is meaningless and are chasing after the wind this writer suggests that each one of us is chasing after something or has the temptation at least to chase after something believing it will give us everything we ever wanted the indie band mgmt talk about this in their song uh time to pretend I’m feeling rough I’m feeling raw I mean the prime of my life let’s make some music make some money find some models for wives the models will have children we’ll get a divorce we’ll find some more models everything must run its course it’s this picture of just there’s got to be more there’s got to be more and I am the center of this story I am always looking for the next thing it is a picture of this almost eternal state of discontent that we can land in as human beings it seems the serpent’s first story his first lie was there may be more for you there may be a better story and perhaps for us the constant idea is that there might be a better story there might be something different what if you could have everything you ever wanted it’s a question that I think is raised by another wonderful cartoon these guys the very great wily coyote I’m gonna fix my laces bugging me I’m sure it’s bugging some of you will now if it wasn’t before

the very great road runner and wylie coyote what happens in road runner uh he’s constantly chased by this coyote now you may or may not know this but this cartoon comes with some rules the guy that created it created a set of rules to help all of the writers shape the cartoon the one rule is that the road runner cannot hurt the coyote except by saying beep beep like that’s his only thing that he can do there is no dialogue other than beep beep and roadrunner has to stay on the road uh because if he’s not on the road then he’s a roadrunner it’s a whole philosophical problem if you go down that avenue you’re like I don’t know what to do with the world anymore so these guys have this back and forth battle the coyote constantly chasing the road runner constantly wanting to catch him to him as we’re left to imagine to eat him or something like that what are the possibilities for kayak for coyote in his state of discontent the possibility right number one is this he doesn’t catch roadrunner possibilities he doesn’t catch roadrunner never gets the thing he believes is going to make his life what he wants it to be it’s going to give him everything he wants and he doesn’t get it so he just keeps going and going and going until he possibly forgets why he even began the writer george santayana said this fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts even when you’ve forgotten your aim and you’re sometimes left wondering is that where coyote is he’s just disbelieved he wants roadrunner for so long he just keeps on going what if he never catches him well then he’s never fulfilled he’s never happy but there’s an equally pressing problem what if he does catch him what if he does catch roadrunner where does the story go then because he’s believed that catching this bird will give him everything he wants and then he does what happens next fortunately because of how much content there is in the world we don’t even have to wonder about this the very brilliant people that family guy actually created a scenario where wiley catches roadrunner he does the thing where he has a rock a boulder set up to land on the road and road runner runs through and this time he pulls the cord and instead of road runner sneaking through in the the boulder somehow in some weird way landing on wiley coyote it hits roadrunner he squashed that pesky bird he takes him home back to the female version of wiley coyote and they sit together and they eat road runner and he’s got everything he ever wanted it’s like joy like they celebrate they have a big party and he’s so happy and then someone asks him a question they said what are you going to do now

and he looks at the camera and he’s like I don’t know I didn’t really go to school to be honest like I I’ve been chasing this bird as long as I can remember I don’t have another purpose there’s nothing else I’m interested in this is consumed night and day for me I’ve constantly gone back after this but even when disaster has fallen even when cliffs have mysteriously disappeared from under my feet even when boulders that are supposed to land on a bird have landed on me I have still gone back time and time again looking for this thing that I believe will bring me happiness and now I’ve got it and so in in this episode he ends up sitting watching daytime tv drinking tequila he ends up flipping burgers in wendy’s just trying to find something that brings him life and he ends up really depressed he’s actually just like I don’t know what to do with myself anymore he is a picture of ecclesiastes what happens when you think this thing will bring you what you want and it doesn’t he’s a picture of genesis what happens when you think this thing will give you what you want and it doesn’t it’s the oldest trick in the book and if we’re honest it’s one we fall for time and time again we’ll get on to more difficult emotions like anger and shame and fear but the truth is for so many of us this is where we live in chunk of our time discontent if only I could have this thing where does discontent take you where does that road runner scenario take you it seems that somewhere we go a couple of different ways the writer of ecclesiastes goes on to say fools fold their hands and ruin themselves that doesn’t seem in his mind just doing nothing isn’t the answer better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind his recommendation is this one handful it is this picture of learning to be content it’s language that paul the new testament writer will use when he says I’ve learned to be content in everything but so many much of the time don’t you and I don’t we land in that second part two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind I think the guys that wrote that song mgmt they they would get that two hands chasing after the wind they would get I’m always looking for something else and we see this in our language about so many different things we see this in our language about money you may have heard the the line what’s a rich person’s favorite million and the answer is the next one it’s the next one it’s the one that I don’t have yet the oligarch or the the octogenarian from the simpsons mr burns he has millions and millions of dollars in one episode I told you there was a lot of cartoon today I have no explanation for it whatsoever it’s simply chance but there’s this moment where where homer simpson says to him mr burns you’re so rich the richest person I know way richer than anybody else and mr burns looks at him and says so poignantly yep it’s true I am rich but I’d give it all up for a little more I’d give it all up for a little more like I’d surrender it so long as more comes back the other way we see that with with wealth and the truth is I said a rich person’s favorite million but that wealth question isn’t about rich versus poor that’s every single one of us if I just had this I would be content that would be enough and yet just like wiley coyote we get the thing and there’s another thing how about in relationships now we have south I love the fact we have people from all sorts of different backgrounds and so people have been through loads of different relational relational struggles and I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about a past relationship but think about into the future one of the things that people say causes people to have affairs is this they have a partner a spouse with 90 percent of what they long for in a relationship and then they meet somebody else and that person has the 10 percent that the other person doesn’t have it’s not that they have everything it’s not the it’s just the complete person but that 10 is so intriguing and the question becomes what if I was with that person wouldn’t that give me everything that I wanted no one stops to question whether just having 10 or even 25 will really be satisfactory but just like chasing road runner there is the idea that oh if only that was the case if only that was the scenario if only that was the story and again behind it whether it’s money it’s sex or power the suspicion is think God the universe whoever think they’re holding out on me there’s a better story for me if only I could have that next thing

interestingly Jesus asks this super poignant question to two of his future disciples that I think maybe helps us navigate some of this a little bit this is john chapter 1 verse 36 the next day john was there again this is john the baptist with two of his disciples when they saw Jesus passing by he said look the lamb of God when the two disciples heard him say this they followed Jesus turning around Jesus saw them following and asked what do you want what do you want on the surface maybe the question is just simply like what do you want do you want to follow me or something like that but but but thinking about that that question like in all different circumstances it just can get very profound taps back into me asking my daughter at five years old what do you want to be at a start to her starting to create this potential future for herself and I would suggest that for you and I when we land in those moments of discontent when we land in those moments we’re like I believe there might be a better story I believe that someone is holding out on me maybe the question we get to ask ourselves is the same question that Jesus asked his disciples what do you want what do you want because I would suggest the thing that we really want deep down in the core of ourselves is that first thing that adam and eve had I think you and I are made to be co-creators with God and I think somewhere the story we’ve been given is this you were born bad and Jesus came and he saved you from your badness and that’s not the full story is it because the heartbreaking story is you were born great or you were made to be great that’s always the truth like that when you look at literature that’s always the tragedy of different characters the tragedy of macbeth that we talked about the other week isn’t that he was bad it’s that he could have been great and the tragedy of humanity is that we were made to be green made to be co-creators made to partner with God in this world and the story we’ve been told is no you were born bad and Jesus saved you from your badness and that actually is part of the story we did become bad there is brokenness there is sin there is tragedy in the story Jesus does fix that problem but maybe it’s more maybe along with fixing that problem maybe along with this idea of forgiveness maybe the uh be beyond the idea that the cross brings forgiveness of sin maybe there is also this beautiful truth that that genesis story that we begin with maybe he begins to restore that for us as well I would suggest we’ve been told that the bible starts in genesis chapter 3 and finishes somewhere around the end of the gospel narratives and yet the truth is the full thing starts in genesis 1 made to be co-creators fallen broken yes but now restored by this incredible Jesus who who of paul of whom paul says this for God was pleased to have all of his fullness dwell in him and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood shed on the cross we come to this table today and we celebrate the idea of death and resurrection we recognize that Jesus gave his body and his blood but the truth is the big picture of this is that it isn’t just about forgiveness of sins this is about God not giving up on this world reconciling it restoring it bringing about this old story and creating it as a news story that’s the full picture of everything that we’re seeing happen and maybe when they ask the question what do you want maybe the answer is I long because it’s in my nature to be a co-creator and perhaps you’ve been told somewhere that the valuable people and the valuable jobs are people that work in church and if you do something outside of that your job is to make as much money as you can and contribute money to the church and that’s your function and yet when you think about this genesis picture it feels like there’s almost nothing that you can’t do and partner well with God in it and bring life to this creation it seems like in this story it is so much less about what you do and so much more about how you do it it seems there are so many things that you could partner with God in as a co-creator and bring stewardship and life to this world that seems to be our story and it brings us back to that question what do I want what do I want when you when discontent starts to circle when the roadrunner coyote scenario starts to sort of raise itself in your mind when you start to ask yourself questions about is there a better story some questions we can ask ourselves might be these what do I want what do I want for those around me where do I experience discontent what need or suspicion is behind that and then this question I love whose story is central in my preferred future when you imagine what this other story might look like when you imagine where it might go when you like my five-year-old at the time daughter begin to sketch out your life plan the question I might ask is who stays central in that story because for adam and eve the suggestion was you can be the center you can be the you can be the thing that matters and that was never ever a place you were made to be a co-creator in God’s great story and when you do that there is almost again nothing that you can’t do well any business any way that you operate in the world any way of living can bring life to this world whether you are staying at home with kids homeschooling whether you are doing something with employees and building a company there are so many things that it seems like we can participate in well just let your imagination go and you can create with the God of the universe as a co-creator and on the downside there’s almost nothing that we can’t do badly if we make ourselves the center saint augustine this writer from the fourth century said this a heart is restless until it rests in you I wish you’d continued that just a little bit because I feel like this is what I would have said our heart is restless until it rests in you and your story God has made himself almost inseparable from his great story he has created this world and he has incredibly entered into the story himself as a character within it in the midst of a world that became broken he says I am not giving up on this thing how easy to say I’m just going to create something new but how much more life given to say I’m going to take the thing that was broken and I I will reconcile all things you were made to be a co-creator with the God of the universe and the incredible message of Jesus is you still you still can you still can so when we come to this table we come with a few different things in mind we come remembering that Jesus invited to do it as to do it in remembrance of him he invited us to come and take bread and remember his body broken for us he invited us to take wine grape juice and remember his blood shed for the sins of the world he also invited us to repeatedly re-enter his great story to come and remind ourselves that this is about the reconciliation of all things and that is a great story to be a part of so when you come you come and you consume a story when you come and you take these elements you consume the story that God has in the world and I would hope this as well I would hope that that story consumes you I would hope that for you and I it takes every part of us everything that we do and it gives it this incredible nobility it says that when you go out into the world whatever that looks like for you this week whenever there is this discontent that arises what you get to say is no I am co-creating with the God of the universe we are partnering together making a new world whatever your world looks like you can do that with the God of the universe this week let’s pray

God as we come to your table would you guide our emotions some of us come feeling fearful scared

angry some of us come feeling discontented feeling like the world is holding out on us that you are holding out on

you restored us to our original purpose

then for a second I’d like you to ask yourself is it real will it really do what I think

maybe the answer is I don’t know then I’d like you to just take that preferred future that thing you’re moving towards and ask yourself who is the center of that story

because there’s one thing that seems consistent across all of scripture all of these books within this bible that we hold and read the God of the universe will take second place to no one else in the story this is his story you’re invited into partner to create but you can never be the center of this story

God I thank you that you gave us a story that began with goodness of creation you made us with purpose in your image

and even in that broken story you come and you bring new life forgiveness reconciliation of all things and so today as you follow us two thousand years later we gather and we remember Jesus we remember his body broken for us as we take the bread

remember his blood shared for the sins of the world thank you that you are reconciling all things through that we take the black together

Jesus thank you for your great story may consume us this week as we live our story in the world with you go in peace friends have a great sunday

What to do with… Discontent | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 2)2022-07-14T13:25:53-06:00

Emotions and Christianity | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 1)

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that’s a rather simplified process but you get the idea you guys just ignored the whole of our bumper video now you’re not gonna know what we’re talking about and it’s all your fault for chatting too much great to see you if you’re visiting my name’s alex I’m one of the pastors here and yeah well greg glad you and you chose to join us on this week where we get to talk about emotions and we’re going to be doing this for the next few weeks but before we get there that’s like the immediate sort of next few weeks but we’re going to talk for a second about like the the bigger macro picture which is this uh we’re in this season of what’s called the church calendar now if you’re new to church and you’re like you’re throwing a words like church calendar at me I have no clue what that means for a couple of thousand years now the church worldwide has thought about the way that we talk about this great story of Jesus as being like a calendar it begins in december with this moment of advent it’s this idea that God is present in the world through Jesus and then it continues through to this season we’re about to enter into called lent and lent is this thing that’s going to move us all the way through easter this moment of death and resurrection to this moment for us called pentecost the idea that we go from the fact that it’s God with us in the world it’s God for us dying for us coming back to life for us and then incredibly this moment God in us if you are a follower of Jesus the idea behind this is that God dwells in you that you are a spirit person now that doesn’t mean you have to do slightly weird or slightly unusual things it just means that somewhere God is working in you to shape you so this is the season we’re in right now and we begin this moment of lent and why is that important why do we need lent lent is the season of preparation it’s the season of building towards easter it’s this season of preparing for what’s coming why do you need that why do you need a season where really we focus a little bit on where God isn’t rather than where God is we focus on the fact there’s times in life that it seems like he’s not present there’s times where even for Jesus he looked up and it felt like his father wasn’t there in matthew chapter 26 we read Jesus went with his disciples to a place called gethsemane and he said to them sit here while I go over there and pray he took peter and the two sons of zebedee along with him and he began to be sorrowful and troubled then he said to them my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death stay here and keep watch with me even Jesus living on earth as God in human flesh had moments where he looked up to the sky and it felt like he was empty felt like it was stone felt like there was no way of getting through whatever was above his head even he had moments like that and every single one of us in this room have probably had and will certainly in the future have moments like that too lent protects you from your overly upbeat teaching pastor here because I am upbeat almost all of the time and it’s really irritating to lots of people in the first service of a staff people like yeah it is annoying I I was playing a game with aaron our worship pastor the other day and and I was in the moment I was serious and he looked across and he was like I don’t like game alex he’s like not normal usually you’re bouncing off walls like tigger or something and now you’re you’re like serious and you’re in the moment len provides a serious and in the moment moment for us that deeply needed because it is not constantly or good and easy and fun I grew up in a church tradition that implied that following Jesus was like a constant rocket ship up to the sky you should always be feeling good everything should always be fine and then I met reality and found that just wasn’t the case some of the time lent is the season of preparation this thing before the joy and the wonder of easter it’s the season where we reflect just like Jesus there are moments where it feels like God isn’t present so in this season of struggle this season of preparation this season where we talk a little bit about the dark rather than the light a little bit about the at least the sense of God’s absent even if he’s not really absent rather than his presence in this moment why why would we choose to talk about emotion and I think that’s a great question one that I’m still asking because a few weeks ago talking about emotions sounded like a really great idea and as we got closer and closer to it I looked at aaron and yvonne and some of the other stuff I’m like why are we doing this again no I genuinely want to know why are we doing this because talking about emotion is difficult there are huge challenges that go with that one of those challenges is I’m simply not a psychologist or a psychiatrist or a counselor I did two credit hours of psychology when I was in seminary there’s lots of people in this room that do this for a living so there’s just the potential that I can make a fool of myself which is just good clean fun on a sunday morning for you guys but a little embarrassing for me what are the challenges beyond that of talking about emotion the challenges are these what are emotions what what they’re kind of nebulous right how many of them are there I was somewhat relieved to find in some of my research that there were only five core emotions now I was told that they get complex but there’s only five of them maybe this idea came from this very wonderful movie here we go all right this looks new

okay there is a dangerous smell people hold on what is that this is disgust she basically keeps riley from being poisoned physically and socially that is not brightly colored or she’s like a dinosaur hold on guys it’s broccoli

well I just saved our lives yeah you’re welcome riley if you don’t eat your dinner you’re not gonna get any dessert wait did he just say we couldn’t have dessert that’s anger he cares very deeply about things being fake so that’s how you want to play it old man no dessert oh sure we’ll eat our dinner

everybody

so this is the very wonderful inside out and in that there are five of these core emotions reflected there is joy there is sadness there is disgust there is fear and there is sadness and it just they they keep it pretty simple but what if there’s not five emotions one of the six basic types of emotions what if surprise is an emotion we need to talk about or what if according to somebody else the seven universal emotions that we can express or maybe there’s eight basic emotions and the purpose of each one is to do all of these different things or there could be 14 basic emotions or there could be 21 basic emotions or there could be 27 emotions that we need to talk about or you may have picked up an emotion wheel on a sheet of paper as you walked in that says there might be 72 different emotions and if you are saying there’s no way there’s that many emotions you’re probably a guy because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon or something like that there are all of these different emotions that we experience and how do you know what’s important to talk about and and how to talk about them maybe we’ve used language like this when we think about emotions maybe we’ve said that there are good and bad emotions but that may not be particularly helpful either maybe better language is that we talk about desirable and undesirable emotions the truth is when you look at that emotion wheel that you may have picked up when you think about the emotions you express a lot of them are undesirable emotions it’s how we try and put a finger exact on exactly how we’re feeling so if it’s difficult to talk about emotions if there’s a risk that I make something of a fool of myself talking about emotions why why talk about emotions well there’s a few fairly compelling reasons I think when we ask this question I would say emotions are present in our earliest stories as we go through this series we’re going to spend a lot of time in the book genesis which simply means beginnings and when you look at some of those stories that are right at the start of this book we call the bible there are emotions all over it just in the first few chapters these are some of the emotions you might pick up there is happiness this moment it says God created the world and it was good and there is this garden that two people live in and all seems to be well there’s this emotion of joy there’s this emotion of discontent where these two characters adam and eve believe that God is holding out on them that their lives could be better if they just had the one thing that they believed that they wanted this peace the shame there’s anger sadness disappointment disgust lust love despair envy fear betrayal anxiety all over just the first few chapters of genesis it’s emotion after emotion after emotion it seems like they’re rooted in our early stories there’s almost like this primordialness to them it seems like God created emotions as a gift even if we don’t always feel like they’re a gift emotions are in our poetry it’s in the poetry of the bible when you look at this book psalms which really is like israel this nation’s song book look at some of the emotions that come out of this psalm 126 a song of ascent it’s called restore our fortunes lord like streams in the negev those who sow with tears sadness will reap with songs of joy those who go out weeping carry seeing carrying seed to soul will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with them in the midst of misfortune moving to good fortune there are different emotions that come up in the psalms and then how about this one psalm 137 verse 7 to 9 remember lord what the [ __ ] did on the day jerusalem fell tear it down they cried tear it down to its foundations daughter babylon doomed to destruction happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us happy is the one who seizes your infants and smashes them against the rocks what is this doing in a religious text what is this is this expressing how God feels no this is expressing how human beings feel this is a human being that is coming and saying God deep down in me there is a rage and an anger about what has happened I need to process that somewhere it seems like in our music our emotions come out whether it’s through poetry or something that we might listen to today think about beethoven’s sixth symphony and it’s the way it seems to soar above the clouds and then there’s other pieces of music that bring you down to that deep level of sadness maybe it’s a music that expresses a particular feeling maybe it’s the soundtrack of hamilton and how he expresses the american rage that a tiny island across the sea would control the price of tea or something like that there’s these ways that music gets to the heart of what we feel someone once said that the two musical types that are most alike in their ability to convey emotion are rap and country two musical types that are so unlike to hear and yet they both tell stories and share feelings and experiences for those of you that have never listened to eminem because you don’t like the language I understand not liking the language and yet the guy’s a storyteller almost like no other he shares compelling experiences and when you hear him you’re like wow you have felt deeply and now you’re sharing that with us the the the um writer siren kirkegaard said this what is a poet or in this case a musician or a songwriter an unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them it sounds like lovely music and people flock around the poet and say sing again soon that is may new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before for the cry would only frighten us but the music that is blissful seren kirkegaard said when a poet writes their ex they’re screaming their pain to us but the way they’re formed the way their lips are shaped it sounds beautiful may new misfortunes before you so we can experience the joy of hearing you sing again I would suggest almost every musician that you’ve heard that has moved you profoundly does this thing they have experienced deeply and are sharing that experience with you feelings emotions are written into our earliest stories they’re written into our poetry into our music but importantly they’re written into the life of Jesus when Jesus four biographers chose to put together the story of his life they often focused on emotions whether it’s just john in chapter 11 of his biography just simply saying in two words Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Jesus stood there and wept as each one of us will weep over the graves of people that we love Jesus showed different emotions 39 emotions one person counted in the life of Jesus and yet in the midst of that he demonstrates a full range of human emotions and expresses them in perfect love when you and I take a journey learning to process our emotions learning to work with them and learning to live in the world around us we are being formed in the way of Jesus Jesus who could show anger appropriately and not let it get out of control Jesus who could in a healthy way weep at the grave of a friend it seems like Jesus can take these different emotions that we wrestle with and he can process them well and when we learn to do that we are learning to be like him in the world around us we talk about emotions because we all have them this is true of you even if you have convinced your husband or wife that you don’t feel anything that silence is your spiritual language there is still emotions that you are processing and and the truth is sometimes we just don’t know how to say that as I was reading for this someone said that is an emotion because I just feel it all the time one guy said all of my emotions are just shared in one very inappropriate word set in lots of different ways that’s how I express emotion and another person said I’m so emotionally stunted the only thing only emotions I know are fear and anger we all experience emotions sometimes we just don’t know how to categorize them you can probably track back to some of the first emotions that you remember having if you grew up in the 80s this will resonate with you this is the first time I cried openly at a movie it’s this moment in the lion king where mufasa dies and you watch this great story as this character disappears and I remember the deep emotion of that story I was deeply upset maybe you remember the first time you had an attraction to someone uh in a romantic way my first kiss was after toy story weirdly I don’t know how that worked but it was like a now or never moment and after watching woody and buzz do their thing on screen apparently we just decided that was the moment you can probably track back to the the first times that you experienced particular types of emotion last week I shared with you how I have this story about how my parents they they kind of let me down in this particular way and I just felt this anger and rage at them I I used words like I’ll never forgive so upset was I that I thought I would remember it forever we think about all these different emotions you all have them even if you don’t know how to process them even if you don’t know how to put a label on them and yet many of us would admit to wrestling with our emotional health many of us walked in today with a smile on our face while also inside struggling deeply with some particular emotion some of us find ourselves in this moment deeply fearful about where the world is going and what it looks like for some of us were reading stories out of ukraine and saying I resonate or sympathize or or long in prayer for the people of ukraine but some of us have honest are just simply scared about what it might mean for us we remember drills hiding under tables during middle school because of the fear of nuclear war we think back to encounters in the cold war and think are we going that way again some of us are deeply fearful some of us are deeply sad and lonely some of us have narratives from our past and wonder if those narratives will continue indefinitely into our future will I always feel this way will I ever get the thing that I believe will lead me to happiness we walk in smiling but so many of us would say I am hurting deeply inside there are emotions I don’t know how to carry well and so often what happens those emotions when they become they get get up to pressure where do they go they land on the people that are closest to us they’re the people that feel the wrath of our emotions that we can’t process healthily laura and I have this joke about the way that we express patience she is infinitely patient with me and all of my just mean us she’s more impatient with the rest of the world whereas I have endless patience for the rest of the world and very little patience I’m sad to say for her she moves my charger and I’m like why would you why would you ruin my life what are you doing why why have you done this to me I am not great at showing patience and to the people that are closest to me while I’m wonderfully patient with all of you guys and your weirdness and all that kind of thing I can handle that I uh it just seems that when we wrestle with our emotional health it often attacks the people that are closest to us we talk about emotions because we all have them and yet so many of us would own to being emotionally unhealthy one of the values that we have at south on the wall is this it’s the value of wholeness and I’m just going to highlight a passage at the bottom this means we value being fully integrated people physical emotional mental spiritual relational vocational and financial offering all of ourselves to God and if you didn’t weren’t convinced already that we should talk about emotions here’s a line from the gottman institute john gottman does more sort of work with marriages than probably anyone in the country and what he says about the process of marriage and relationships is this emotionally intelligent husbands are key to a lasting marriage many of us as guys would say we struggle to know what we’re feeling and when we turn to the person closest to us or when they ask us what are you processing what are you feeling what kind of like I don’t I don’t know it’s not that we’re empty it’s not that we’re emotionally void it’s just that we don’t know exactly how to articulate it in one beautiful moment in the wonderful harry potter two of the characters are interacting each other and one of them female explains all of the things that someone is feeling and one of the guys looks and says nobody could feel all of those things they’d explode and she says no they can they’re just not male it’s just that we struggle to express that and becoming emotionally intelligent as guys is the key to future marriages to current marriages all of those different things are important for us as we walk in the way of Jesus one of the good outcomes of this series might be this it’s taking something as incredibly vague right now as this this this emotions wheel that talks about all of these different emotions and actually leading us on a journey where God enables us to reflect on some of the nuances of that perhaps you had a father or mother that were angry all the time that yelled and screamed and you don’t yell and scream so you’re able to say I’m not angry and yet you are it’s just it simply takes a different form your anger leads you not to yell but to withdraw there’s all of these different nuances to these different emotions that we get to unpack but maybe we haven’t answered one of the more important questions does God even care about this stuff does God care about your emotions because I was brought up to know that he didn’t I was told repeatedly either just overtly or covertly God doesn’t care about your emotions motions don’t matter is what I was told I think at different points both as a kid as a teenager and as an adult I was shown a picture that looked like this there are facts and you need to believe in those facts that is your faith and eventually your feelings they’ll follow they’ll they’ll come into line with that kind of thing and I grew up in a pentecostal environment that valued the idea of what we called repentance and this might horrify some of you but every week we would invite people to come down to the front of the church and so that they could pray and they could go through this process of repenting and I must have done that 200 times because I was deeply I had this deep sense of guilt and in this one final time as I stood down there just trying to understand how God felt about me and trying to process what was going on inside of me the pastor looked at me in a church of 2000 people and said you don’t need to be here go and sit down

it’s like wow this might be the only time that like this process someone got kicked out of it for being too good usually it’s like come whenever you want apparently not me apparently I wasn’t allowed down there in this case and people would say to me no there’s facts and you just need to believe that Jesus is and has done what he said he did and your feelings will follow but they didn’t I felt deeply guilty and nobody nobody helped me process that ever they just left me struggling in my guilt and my sense of unworthiness all of those different conundrums of emotions maybe one of the good processes that will lead us to is in there to enable you to highlight some of the ways that you feel and some of the ways that emotions get to you and maybe what happens is it doesn’t just happen in this space in actual fact regularly people come to me for counselling and quite often what they ask is do I have to pay you and what I say is no because I’m really bad at counseling I’m free because I’m not good at it and regularly what happens is I’ll say this I would love to meet with you once because I’ll meet with almost anybody once but there’s probably a process that will follow from that the process is that there might be a group for you to be part of there might be a class for you to attend or there might be someone who’s really good that you could spend time with regularly and you can unpack that with them somewhere there’s this journey of processing emotions uh figuring out how they affect us and nobody did that for me because I was told repeatedly your emotions don’t matter it’s fact then it’s faith and feelings they’re just lasting the train but maybe another struggle for us is this maybe we think emotions matter too much maybe that’s more of a modern idea we constantly have these different feelings different emotions different experiences and we believe they tell us the whole story that they give us all of the data we know that we need and and the truth is that um our emotions are also deceptive some wise person said that that they they are very useful but they make terrible masters you can’t let them rule everything about your life because there are things that we believe predicated on on untruths and and somewhere we need wise people that can help us unpack that I believe that emotions were not important at all some of us might believe that emotions are all that matter how does God feel about our emotions does he ever express sympathy ever express struggle with what we are feeling and to help us grasp that just a little bit I’d love us to look at an old story back in this book genesis this insignificant story in so many ways or certainly a story about an insignificant person her name is hagar she’s a slave woman to a person called sarai and a person called abram you may know them by their more famous names sarah and abraham as they will later become this couple sarah and abraham as I’ll just stick to because those are the names you know had borne no children in this culture this was incredibly difficult to process children were essential they were what kept the story going and for sarah at the age we believe now of at least 70 or 80 to have no children is a heartbreak it would mean she would be talked about by all of the rest of society in a place where there was no entertainment no particular culture you talked about your neighbors and maybe we still talk about our neighbors but in this time more so than ever and she would be known as the woman who couldn’t have a child and so she comes up with a plan she has an egyptian slave named hagar so she said to abraham abraham the lord has kept me from having children go sleep with my slave perhaps I can build a family through her the solution to the problem is hagar who has been taken from her own culture who has been landed in this family in a place that she doesn’t know doesn’t understand she will now become a wife she will have children she will keep the lineage going abraham agreed to what sarah said so after abraham had been living in canaan 10 years sarah took his wife sarah’s wife took her egyptian slave hagar and gave it to her husband to be his wife he slept with hagar and she conceived so on one hand the story seems like it’s going to fix or albeit in this slightly weird way there will now be a child who will be assumed to be abraham’s it will continue the lineage perhaps or will be well but of course feelings emotions are involved so it isn’t all well when she knew she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress then sarah said to abraham you are responsible for the wrong I am suffering I put my slave in your arms and now she knows she is pregnant she despises me may the lord judge between you and me in an interesting turn around sarah who came up with this whole plan now sister to abraham this is your fault you have done this this is like yours you got to fix it and if you don’t God is going to fix it for you some of you guys like I see this argument in my own life this is like maybe it’s different not exactly the same story but this is an interplay classically between couples perhaps what’s going to happen with this story how will it resolve abraham folds he gives up he says your slave is in your hands do with her whatever you think best then he sarah mistreated hagar so she fled from her as she flees away the angel of the lord which is a way that genesis will often talk about God speaking to someone at least in a fairly direct way found hagar near a spring in the desert it was the spring that is beside the road to sure and he said hagar slave of sarah where have you come from and where are you going I’m running away from my mistress sarah she answered what emotions do you see in this narrative it’s full of them right think about it from hagar’s perspective taken from a culture she knows she’s now part of another family she has no choice about who she marries she has no choice about any of this story it is simply forced upon her and now in this moment she becomes pregnant there is some joy there potentially maybe the story will resolve in a healthy way but no because of relationships because of how human beings work there is conflict again conflict now because hagar is pregnant and sarah isn’t and what does that mean for the story now juan despises the other and the way she’s treated drives out now alone again in a culture that she doesn’t know with no one to protect her she is essentially I would say a victim of this story she has had no choice and think about what her emotions might be as she flees into this wilderness with nobody around her and how does the God of the universe choose to show up in the story of this person who is the most insignificant in everything we know about this culture she is a nobody she is a bit part of the story there’s probably no good resolution for her then the angel of the lord told her go back to your mistress go back to at least somewhat of a safe place don’t stay here where there is no one to protect you go back to your mistress and submit to her the angel added I will increase your descendants so much they will be too numerous to count and then we see see hagar’s response to what she has experienced she gave this name to the lord who spoke to her you are the God who sees me for she said I have now seen the one who sees me that is why the well is called bia lahai it is still there between kadesh and beret you are the God who sees me the truth is nobody sees hagar nobody is interested in what is good for her she is a bit part of the story she is a victim of the story the only person who sees her in this story is the God who made the entire world somewhere in her moment of emotional trials some where in her moment of lost somewhere in her moment of victimhood she runs away and the only person that meets her is the God of the universe and she says this is the God who sees me it’s interesting language right and it’s language that in different ways I think we start to hear more and more in society regularly if I get to do some counseling with people after listening they’ll say thank you for seeing me or thank you for helping me be seen we hear people say things like I don’t feel seen in the environment that I mean we hear people express that emotional struggle for hagar in the moment she stops she says God has seen me in my distress in everything that I’ve been processing the God of the universe still values her a couple of chapters later the story twists again after going back and it seems like there’s peace for a while we’re told that sarah whose name has now officially been changed instead of just being changed by me said that she saw the son whom hagar the egyptian had warned abraham was mocking and she said to abraham get rid of that slave woman and her son for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance of myosin isaac sarah has now had her own child and the concern now is what happens to the money where does it go I don’t want any of it going to this person that came out of this story that I now see as negative the matter distressed abraham because it concerned his son but God said to him do not be distressed about the boy and your slave woman listen to whatever sarah tells you because it is through isaac that your offspring will be reckoned I will make the son of the slave into a great nation also because he is your offering offspring somewhere God’s dealing with this story is I brought hagar back now she’s to be let go now she’s going to go and have our own story and ishmael will be a part of that story and so hagar leaves again with just a little bit of food and a skin of water and sent off once again into the desert of beersheba early the next morning abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to hagar he set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy she went on her way and wandered in the desert of beersheba when the water in the skin was gone she put the boy under one of the bushes then she went off and sat down about a bow shut away for she thought I cannot watch the boy die and as she sat there she began to sob this is a woman who again has had no choices in this story and is now under a tree sitting waiting simply for her son to die and for her to die simply crying simply subbing again the guard of the universe will step into her story unbelievably perhaps to the people that were hearing it for the first time God heard the boy crying and the angel of the lord called to hagar from heaven and said to her what is the matter hagar do not be afraid God has heard the boy crying as he lies there lift the boy up take him by the hand for I will make him into a great nation in the first narrative this God sees her in the second narrative this God hears her somewhere he is connected to all that this insignificant character is experiencing I wonder if we think at times that God’s interest is for the great people the significant people we began with a story about Jesus in gethsemane pouring out his emotion to his father when that makes sense to us of course Jesus on earth would receive that attention from his father up in heaven but what about people like you and I what about people that aren’t significant in the story hagar’s part in the story doesn’t matter she shall become a sort of a side element of the story she’ll be a tangent in the story not part of the central story and yet still it seems that the God of the universe is deeply compassionate towards her deeply interested in what she is experiencing and I would suggest deeply interested in what she is feeling and yet her story changes her perspective changes for her when she physically stops I wonder all of the emotions she processed as she fleed away from these people as she ran perhaps in tears experiencing all of these different emotions that we could never put a finger on especially again if we’re male somewhere she gets there and suddenly she stops and it’s in that moment that God meets her and I wonder what that just might teach us about where we need to pause in our own lives and where God might help us process all of the emotions we don’t know how to feel and don’t know how to express if I was to begin with one piece of advice for us as we begin the series and over the next few weeks we’ll take genesis narratives we’ll look at things like discontent shame at anger at fear and sadness and disgust all of these different big sort of primal emotions and will wrestle with how to process them but I wonder if the lesson that I wouldn’t begin with is this to find perspective practice the pause hagar finally stops finally pauses and that’s where she experiences God that’s where her narrative begins to change and I wonder if that isn’t something that we need to do so often when I think about the big stories in genesis so many of them they go negative when nobody stops nobody pauses when things get out of hand you think about the way that the cane and abel story will unfold it’s this story of anger where everybody’s reacting and nobody pauses so many of the stories they begin in that way and and I just wonder what would happen for us in our lives if in those moments where we’re like I just don’t know what to feel or what I’m feeling at all or how to describe it and you feel like it’s about to become a pressure cooker that hits everybody who’s close to you I wonder what would change if in those moments our first practice was to pause was to just wait and say that maybe in this moment the God of the universe may encounter me in the same way he encountered insignificant hagar maybe in those moments we get to practice the pause and when you pause pray we just finished the series on the lord’s prayer and I was intrigued by how the prayer finishes for those of you that are unfamiliar with it it runs through these different big elements our father who art in heaven may your name be hallowed your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation and then it just stops yes there’s the part that we quite often say in services but most of the original texts would say we’re not sure that that was there probably wasn’t it just ends just in this big idea and it almost invites further conversation it almost invites us to to say what is it that you need to or to ask what is it that I now need to say to my father in heaven what are the other things that I need to tell him I love that that’s what it seems like Jesus practices in the garden of gethsemane in the garden of gethsemane it seems like this conversation where Jesus processes with his father everything that he is going through father if you are willing take this cup from me yet not my will but your will be done an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him and being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground I would suggest that you and I we’re invited to share all our emotions with the God who sees you and hears you the beauty of those psalms we read those psalms that have that deep sense of rage God is not afraid of your anger God is not afraid of your grief not afraid of your sadness not afraid of your disgust not afraid of all of the things that you might be feeling it seems like when Jesus was at his lowest point as he was in this lenten journey that we’ve been talking about it seems like he can be with his father and he can express everything that is happening it’s that that gives him the strength to go through the journey that becomes so important for you and I the good news is is that even when our emotions explode even when they become damaging even like in genesis when they lead to all of these stories that are negative Jesus story will fix all of those things he will be the source of forgiveness for all of our brokenness and yet it seems like what he’s willing to do is is to help us process our emotions in a way that make us more like him too his good news is not just you can be forgiven his good news is also you can be different people you and I can be shaped in the same way he was Jesus is this person who expresses all of these different emotions and he does it in this incredibly healthy fully human way it seems like you and I are invited into that story too you are invited to share all your emotions with the God who sees you and the God who hears you even when you feel insignificant in the story to find perspective practice the pause and when you pause pray I’m gonna invite aaron and the team to come and lead us as we contemplate that a little more and I’m gonna invite you to pause now maybe you came in with a particular emotion maybe you came in just uncertain about everything that’s going on around you not knowing how to feel in any particular way or at least know what you are feeling in any particular way perhaps the idea of emotion talking about emotions for six weeks is terrifying to you perhaps there’s a sense of what will that unpack in me perhaps it’s very exciting that your husband or wife might listen to us talking about emotions for six weeks as well my prayer for us is this that there are some of us in this room that need God to comfort us because we’re deeply afflicted and in this room there’s some of us that are deeply comfortable and need God to afflict us and bring us out of that place of of over comfort let’s pray God as we begin would you open us up to become more emotionally healthy people we don’t have to make emotions everything but they are important

however we need to hear from you would you speak to us thank you that you made us you made us emotional beings

and you long to help us form more in the way of Jesus and deal with those emotions well as we begin this journey to the cross unto resurrection and into this moment of pentecost

thank you that you’ll shape us through that journey amen

Emotions and Christianity | How Do You Really Feel? (Part 1)2022-07-14T13:22:54-06:00
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