Sadly, many Christians in an attempt to provide “perspective” when it comes to our problems end up invalidating the very emotions causing the pain in the first place. While I understand the desire and heart behind this gesture, I don’t believe God calls us to this type of emotional management. Let’s be careful that we aren’t portraying Jesus in a light of invalidation.
It’s a guilt-inducing lie to say that Jesus looks at us when we’re in trouble or pain and says things like: “get over it” or “you don’t even know what real pain is”. The Bible says Jesus sympathizes with us in our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15) It does not say he sits in judgment on our fatigue. Psalm 103:14 in fact says the opposite:
“He knows our frame, that we are made of dust.”
The disconnected relationship emotional health and Christian theology has been at odds for a very long time. The common Christian response to uncomfortable emotions is phrases like “You just need to pray more” and “trust the Lord in all circumstances,” which falsely makes the claim that adversity and pain reveals spiritual immaturity. I whole-heartedly believe that the spiritual disciplines found in Scripture were never meant to invalidate our pain and problems, but rather invite us into expressing our feelings openly and freely to a loving and caring God.
Never in Scripture do we see Jesus dismiss the feelings of others or invalidate those in distress. On the contrary, God’s Word reiterates the safety found in seeking God as our refuge when we are weak (Psalm 46:1–3), and as a shelter when we are suffering (Psalm 62:8).
In fact, in Psalm 34:18-19, David speaks of how God is attentive in our distress saying:
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
God does not leave us in our distress or dismiss the weight of our worries, but graciously comes near us as a father comforts his dear child. His awareness is active. The passage states that God saves the crushed in spirit, delivering them out of pain.
What would the world look like if we began to value the emotions we experience and own the freedom to express them? We know from His Word that God is near and desires to comfort us with His compassion.
If you remember anything today, know this: Jesus will never invalidate your pain. He isn’t in competition with you to see whose pain is worse. That’s not who he is at all. He is God in the flesh so we can take God’s first description of Himself in the Old Testament to the bank when he said:
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6)
Whatever you may be feeling, just remember that God is near and desires to be involved in the fears and failures, the loss and laughter. His Word reminds us to feel and to be free from the false kind of faith that negates the weight of raw emotions. Let us continue to seek after God, training our hearts to find rest in the truth, and knowing that God does care about our feelings.