Hi, everyone. So, transparently, I am quite frustrated with some of my Christian acquaintances and friends who seem to have embraced a leg of Christian culture that treats negative feelings or talk of negative feelings as taboo. I’m talking about things like grief, loneliness, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger. While the Bible tells us not to be anxious or fearful, I don’t believe there is anyone on the face of the planet who has not experienced those, even Christians. Especially during this crisis with the virus situation, it seems that we have plenty of declarations over “Satan’s schemes” and “Repent, because God is judging us!” and “God said to be courageous and do not fear!” and yet not enough going about what we are called to do as Christians: live out the gospel by walking through this with people and rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. Don’t get me wrong, encouraging people by telling them God has not given us a spirit of fear isn’t a bad thing, but it is if we are treating a profound situation in life like all it needs is a band aid. I feel like a lot of Christendom has been made into something that wants us to deny the human parts of ourselves and our human experiences and trade our vulnerability for a facade. I know they mean well, but I see people passing out Scripture lines like they are band-aids. I used to be a nurse’s aid. There were many different types of wounds for which to care. Some of them could be treated with band aids, but others needed much more attentive, deeper, and intensive care than that. Some of those wounds, with only a band aid carelessly slapped onto them, would have killed our patients…but not before causing them considerably more pain and anguish.
God gave us our emotions and the ability to feel so that we can relate, appreciate, and process the situations we are going through. In human services, walking with a person (figuratively speaking) through all that they were feeling was an important part of helping them process whatever it was they were facing and helping them get through it and get through it in a healthy way. Many Christians don’t seem to understand this, and I’ve seen that when a person shares that they are feeling sad or lonely or depressed in isolation, that person’s trust and faith in God is questioned and judged. It seems like books like Job and the Psalms and the things like Jesus’ agony in the garden about what he was about to suffer are all but ignored in favor of those verses that seem to be more positive to people.
I feel like that sort of culture is somewhat toxic and lacks the sincerity and genuineness of the true gospel. It’s more of a positivity gospel than anything. Anyways, I guess what I am wanting to ask is how would you respond to this type of thinking–that, essentially, if you’re lonely or sad or grieving, you’re sinning and not trusting God?