This is an especially prevalent epidemic among men. Boys are often taught that real men don’t express or even feel their emotions. It starts with Big boys don’t cry and is fed by Don’t be such a sissy – you cry like a girl. It’s important to remember that our model for biblical manhood is not John Wayne, Bruce Willis, or the latest great military commander. It is Jesus Christ. The shortest verse in the Bible is Jesus wept. As men move toward spiritual maturity, they need to be able to tune into what they’re feeling, express emotion appropriately and without shame, and to more fully enter into the emotional world of the hurting people who surround us. Sadly, in our insecurity and fear of vulnerability, we can easily become pseudo-men who dissociate from our hearts and bury what we feel. This phenomenon also occurs within many women.
Still others receive training or modeling from which they conclude that embracing one’s emotional capacity is taboo, especially if you want to be a leader who is greatly used of God. The evangelical movement unwittingly slides toward a business model of leadership similar to management by objectives (MBO). MBO may be an useful tool in the corporate world, but falls far short of what God envisioned. The writer of a portion Psalm 119 lived out of his heart and wrote, My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Your law. (Psalm 119:136 NASB).
Others in the church move more toward the analytical and tactical thinking of our military academies that is often devoid of feeling. This approach is excellent for leading troops into the horror of combat, but it’s an extremely flawed model for important non-wartime tasks such as loving your wife as Christ loves the church, reaching into the lives of the broken, and multiplying laborers to reach the world for Christ. The most essential value of kingdom work is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5). Loving in this way requires that a man or woman be in touch with his or her heart, embrace the emotions, learn to express them in ways that are biblical and compassionate, and enter into the pain of others.
Are you living from the heart that Jesus gave you, or have you somehow retreated into your head?
Would you like to live more fully from your heart?