coming out of the emotional closet
Do pastors have real emotions or are they only limited to the emotions that are found on the â€œemotional expectations checklistâ€ of those whom they serve? Arenâ€™t pastors superhuman anyway? Arenâ€™t they called to be seminary-trained stoics?
As a pastor, it saddens me to witness the real disconnect between pastors and their emotions. I believe we are in a personal struggle – stuck betwixt juggling and determining the difference between â€œpositiveâ€ and â€œnegativeâ€ emotions. Coupled with this struggle is the difficult challenge of finding a safe place, adequate time and personal permission to express and process emotions – whether in the publicâ€™s eye or in the privacy of our own hearts.
Have we knowingly or unknowingly made a mistake of negating the breadth of emotions that are available for us to express, process or discuss? Is it permissible for pastors to express righteous indignation, gratitude, joy, love, boldness, hope, courage, happiness or patience? What about confusion, hopelessness, wonder, timidity, discouragement, repentance, unhappiness or fear?
Scripture teaches us in Genesis 1:27 that we have been created in the image and likeness of God. God has given ALL mankind the ability to think intelligently, feel passionately and choose audaciously. Dialoguing about emotions biblically could stimulate opportunities for many pastors to begin processing, managing, understanding, and healing emotionally.
Despite popular opinion, itâ€™s manly, macho, healthy and courageous for pastors to risk demonstrating that they too are created in the image and likeness of God as opposed to a dispassionate image that is void of emotions. May pastors be inspired to â€œcome out of the closetâ€ and begin processing and discussing their emotions.