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PASTORAL LETTER 4TH April 2021

牧聲 二零二一年四月四日
4/4/2021
by
Rev. Andrew Choy

Ever since childhood, we may have heard advice like “do not act on your emotions”, “do not take it personally” and so on. The motives behind are all good, in order that we will do what have to be done with clear minds without bias. However, how can deep feeling and entangled relationship be easily segmented from work and lives? After all, people have “emotions”; some people even say, “people without emotions cannot be called human.”

Paradoxically, the pain brought about by the sinful world is often unbearable. How can we not have fear, sadness, sorrow when confronted by diseases, wars, natural disasters, family problems, etc.? Nonetheless, to keep life moving forward, people can only choose to avoid or ignore these negative emotions.

Last time, we have contemplated that because of emotional ignorance, we cannot grow spiritually strong simply by reading the Bible diligently, praying, worshipping, fellowshipping and serving. So, as Christians, how should we perceive emotion? Let us look at the incarnated Lord Jesus. How did He face the suffering and pain of this world?

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (Isa 53:3a)

“He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.” (Mark 3:5a)

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled … Jesus wept.” (John 11:33,35) To Jesus, there is nothing wrong with sorrow, pain, sadness, anger... these are not sins. Emotions like these arise when we face human suffering, disappointment, frustration, and injustice. It does not necessarily mean we lack faith.

The problem is we do not manage or face our emotions properly; instead, are controlled by them which even lead us into making extremely wrong choices that cause greater pain. Fortunately, we do not have to repeat the same mistakes, but we can also learn how to face and accept all kinds of rich feelings; and experience from those God's compassion and love for the world. In the next pastoral letter (last of this series), I will briefly introduce some spiritual disciplines, so that we can live out a spiritual life that is emotionally healthy.

從小到大,我們或許都會聽過「不要感情用事」、「要對事不對人」之類的提醒。背後的動機都是好的,為的是要我們頭腦清醒、不偏私地做好當做的事。然而,深層的情感與糾纏的關係,又豈能輕易地從生活和工作中分割出來呢?畢竟,人是有「情感」的;於是,有人更說:「如果人沒有情感,就稱不上是人了。」

弔詭的是,罪惡的世界所帶來的痛苦,往往叫我們無法承受。疾病、戰爭、自然災害、家庭問題等,怎能不叫我們生發懼怕、憂傷、悲哀等情感呢?但為了讓生活繼續向前,人唯有選擇逃避或忽略這些負面的情感。

上回,我們思想到,因為對「情感」的忽略,單靠努力讀經、禱告、敬拜、團契和事奉等,我們的靈命還是不能健壯地成長。那麼,作為基督徒,我們應該怎樣看待情感這回事?讓我們看看在世為人的主耶穌,祂是如何面對這個世界的苦與痛呢?

他被藐視,被人厭棄,多受痛苦,常經憂患。」(賽53:3上) 「耶穌怒目周圍看他們,憂愁他們的心剛硬。」(可3:5上)「耶穌看見她哭,並看見與她同來的猶太人也哭,就心裏悲歎,又甚憂愁 … 耶穌哭了。」(約11:33,35)。對耶穌來說,悲哀、痛苦、憂傷、憤怒……這些都沒有錯,這些都不是犯罪。當我們面對人間的疾苦、失望、挫折、不公,而產生這些情感時,並不一定表示我們是缺乏信心。

問題在於我們沒有好好地管理或面對自己的情感,反被它們所控制,甚至使我們做出極端錯誤的選擇,以至釀成更大的傷痛。可幸的是,我們不但不必重蹈覆轍,更可學習如何面對及接納各樣豐富的情感,並從中體會神對世人的憐憫及關愛。在下次 (這系列最後一篇) 的文章,我會簡介一些屬靈操練,好使我們活出高EQ(高情商) 的靈命。

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