Read: Matthew 26:36-39
As a pastor’s kid, I have grown up going to church and have quite literally attended thousands of services over my brief years on this earth. Having this experience, I can map out a basic church service in the evangelical world pretty well. People stumble into church a few minutes late after rushing through the doors. They smile at each other and exchange the standard “How are you doing? Good? Oh, I’m doing great too” game. Then they sing a series of songs about God’s awesome power that they may or may not feel, listen to a preacher teach on something they should be doing that they are probably failing at, drink some juice and bread, and stumble back out the door. There seems to be in this system a strong detachment from emotions. And if there are emotions, they should only be happy because since God died for us, why should we be sad right?
I find the passage for today to be extremely challenging to the way that the church deals with “negative” emotions. In verse 38, Jesus shows stunning vulnerability. He tells his disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” Jesus, fully God and fully man, on the eve of his death, turns to the people He is leading and pours out the deep sorrow seeded in His soul. When is the last time you heard a Christian leader express something like that?
Yet so often today, we attempt to bury our sorrow behind filters and clever comments. Let me get something straight right now: it’s okay to feel sad and to express that to others. Not only is it okay, but it is good, especially to those who truly care for you. We need others in our life to keep watch over us.
Sometimes I think we get this idea that we serve a stoic God who just wants us to get rid of all negative emotions and slap on joy and happiness. This isn’t the example that Jesus shows us though. In being sorrowful, Christ can enter into our sorrow with us. He is a God who knows deep sadness and who is not afraid of yours.
Express your sorrow to the Lord right now. Don’t hold back. Yell. Cry. Scream. He can handle it. Find someone you trust today and mourn. Ask them to keep watch over you as you do.