Honestly I’ve never been a very emotional person and I attribute this mostly to my upbringing. I had a father who was present in body but not really present. My family never discussed the ‘mushy’ stuff, or the difficult things in life, I never even so much as shared personal things with them such as how my relationships were going with others. There was a lot of strict discipline for failures but never any outright expression of love. Not to say that they did not love me, just that it was never expressed. There was no crying for my brother and I except after being ‘disciplined’.
In addition to that, I’m more of the ‘intellectual/analytical’ type in terms of my personality and for whatever reason these type of people seem to be detached from the emotional aspects of life. This also leads to tendencies of selfishness/self-centeredness which I have to actively try to remain aware of and avoid or repent of.
I find it exceedingly difficult to actually sympathize with people who have issues or to more biblically state things to, “mourn with those who mourn.” Expressing emotion is something I have to actively work to do which feels forced and thus fake. Most troubling to me is my inability to feel genuine sorrow or love for the lost.
I have prayed on numerous occasions that God would grant me his heart for the lost, that he would help me to love others as he loves them (everyone not just the lost) but have never really felt like that prayer was answered and it bothers me.
At the end of the day I feel like this makes me a terrible witness to people, and equally bad in the setting of the church or mens groups when real people are sharing real concerns about real life. I can provide them biblical ‘answers’ all day long or help them to reason but as you all know, sometimes people need their heart impacted more than their minds and sometimes people don’t need answers at all.
This is why I feel I’m also not suited for apologetics…even though I enjoy it immensely and initially only began studying these things to appease my own mind, it is hard for me speak to people, even other Christians on these matters. Aside from the fact that it can give life to pride which I have to consciously be aware of and repent of (which is why I’d rather not engage so I don’t risk the pride to begin with), its easy for me to lose sight of the fact that like Ravi frequently states, “behind every question there is a question-er.”
I had to reflect on all of this even just yesterday in a group text with some Christian friends. I try to have conversations within this group that have substance and depth to them. I feel similar to John Lennox (and even Ravi) that too-often Christianity in North America is dumbed down and made shallow. Many people refuse to go beyond “God is love” in their theology and even words such as ‘theology’ or ‘doctrine’ are abhorrent to them. I have one friend like this who is in this group text, and he never wants to dive deeper even though the whole point of this group is for diving deeper into the things of God. He’s completely content with saying, “that’s all fine and dandy but unnecessary, God is love and that’s all I need to know” and being on his way.
I personally feel like Christ wants us to go deeper than that, the scriptures themselves go much deeper than that as the mysteries of God are expounded upon in several ways. Having said that, I had to stop and ask myself, “Do I actually care about what he believes about God? Or is this just my pride manifesting itself?” “Do I care that he very well might just be tacking on a little ‘God on the side’ of his life rather than making Jesus his Lord, or am I just looking for a debate?”
What bothers me is I don’t even know how to answer those questions correctly, I just don’t know, and it makes me not want to even engage with people at all when it comes to God, be it believer or non-believer. It makes me just want to focus on my own relationship with God 24/7 and keep it to myself. Has anyone else ever struggled with this?