Saturday, January 21, 2023

Soul Care

Self-care has been a big buzzword these days. I have done a few social media posts about it. My church even did a series on it, only we called it Soul Care to distinguish it from the often shallow and vain version that the world professes. But do we really understand the distinction as well as we should? I even tried writing a full blog about it that I ended up not posting because I felt as if I was missing something. Well, I think I have discovered what I was missing. Something that keeps us from living out proper soul care. A truth that really hits home, so I will waste no more time in sharing it.

We all have basic needs, and I dare say love is a basic need as well. Would scripture talk about it so much if it weren’t? It is such a driving force in so much of what we do, and we can end up doing some crazy things when we don’t get this need met. Even the Lord’s Prayer has a line about basic provision. So it’s important to know where to draw the line with self-care, and I’m starting to realize that even church people may have some terrible boundaries.

With that being said, let me add this. It is okay to be mindful of your basic needs. Granted, it is wrong to take it to parasitic levels where we resort to toxic behaviors to do so, using up people in our wake. I'm sure we all know a person like that. I even did a whole drawing series about such people years back called Emotional Vampires. Believe me, when I say, I would not have done that series if I hadn't suffered from their abuses myself.

This is where I get to what I have specifically learned. Often, when we have been victimized by such self-centered people. Especially as a child, and by a parent. We can often make a very conscious decision to not be like them. While going to the opposite extreme may seem like a good thing, it can lead to what I will call covert parasitic behavior. While covert parasites may not be willing to resort to the impatient, unkind, rude, critical, and other abusive tactics the person who wounded them did. It doesn't change the fact they still have basic needs. This often leads them to resort to more controlling, manipulative, or passive-aggressive methods; albeit unconsciously. This can be just as toxic as the blatant users are, they just delude themselves into thinking it's not.

Covert parasites are often people pleasers and approval addicts. They often give more of themselves than they have to give to buy your affection. While being giving and loving is a good thing. For the covert parasite, there is always a proverbial fishing line attached to their sacrificial giving. They are not doing what they are doing out of the pure goodness in their heart. Rather they are seeking some sort of acceptance, approval, inclusion, validation, praise, or love. Although they are technically draining themselves with these methods, they get just as frustrated and angry as anyone else when people don't bite at their hidden fishing line. They are just too afraid to say so. Their experience teaches them that expressing a need is a negative action, never recognizing it's the means and methods that were at fault, not necessarily the intent. Eventually, they will reach their limit and blow up on all the people they love. Granted they will feel genuinely guilty about it. Since they think they have started channeling the person they are trying to avoid being like. Only to start the same cycle yet again. 

So if any of this sounds familiar, I would suggest that you take a long hard look at yourself and your motivations. Are you really doing what you are doing for them, or are you secretly seeking reciprocation? Are you giving what you yourself need because you feel guilty about asking for it plainly? This is a classic example of what I refer to as opposite extremism. The opposite of crazy is often just insane. Choosing the way of the covert parasite is just that, insane. While the covert parasite is not willfully or intentionally trying to hurt anyone. In the end, it still happens. Can you in good conscience continue with this pattern now that you realize the truth?

Do you see now how being mindful of your basic needs, can actually be the adult and responsible thing to do? As well as be easier and less stressful for everyone involved in the long run.

Easy to define, not so easy to overcome. Covert parasites can often be chameleons, becoming what they believe will give them the love and approval that they are looking for. So they often do not have a good sense of self nor do they have a good grasp on their emotions. So they have a hard time defining or even putting their needs into words. All they have ever done is broadcast their abstract anxiety after all. Putting the burden of discernment of their emotions on the other person. It's unfair and unrealistic to expect other people to understand the incoherent feelings of the covert parasite better than they themselves do.

The thing is; we can't really serve others in a healthy way, as Christ called us to if we are covertly serving our own needs with said actions. So the irony of it all is, sometimes we got to focus on our own wholeness and spiritual well-being before we can truly be good disciples. Are you willing to consider that possibility?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. -James 1:5

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9

The Visual PARABLEist

cover parasite


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Revival?

As I said last time, many are predicting that the next big revival is coming soon. That may be more wishful thinking than prophetic though. The question is, will these wishful people remain faithful if they are wrong and it's actually an age of remnant. That the true church is but a small percentage of the mainstream church that has lost its way. With that being said, if a revival were to happen, I am of the opinion that three key things need to happen to inspire the Holy Spirit to add fuel to our dwindling fire again.

Get back to the Heart of Worship: As I said in my Heart of Worship video, the bare bones purposes of worship are devotion, gratitude, and righteousness. Yet that is seldom what the conflict about worship centers around. Instead, we are fixated on surface issues like music and style. When you get down to it, for an omniscient God who can look right into our hearts, it's ultimately about our sincerity. (Isaiah 29:13) Granted it may be easier to be sincere when church services revolve around our preferences. Then again, it's also easier to make it more about self as well. I'm sure God is more pleased with a pop song sung with sincere devotion or gratitude, than a traditional hymn sung for mere comfort or sentimental reasons. Worship is not about us, and we need to stop making it so.

Take a less linear approach to holiness: Much like the ancient Pharisees, many current teachers make religion just about righteousness. So all they do is define a moral standard, then hoist these burdensome loads upon the backs of the people. Never helping them address the issues that will prevent progress. (Matthew 23) As I said in my Wholeness of Heart video, righteousness is and always has been a goal of the faith. Not the goal, but a goal. Yet, the wholeness of heart was, and always will be the means of fulfilling said goal. Neglect of this simple truth of wholeness has sabotaged our outreach efforts more than anything else these days.

Adopt a healthier attitude towards emotions: Cults tend to go to extremes on this issue. Making it about following feelings blindly, or denying them entirely. Indicating to me that it is just human nature to go to these extremes. But, if our own nature had any merit, we wouldn't need religion. Considering that the Bible never uses the word emotion at all, we definitely shouldn't be going to either extreme of human nature ourselves. If feelings were absolute truth, or inherently false scripture would say so. But it doesn't, and we should stop pretending that it does.
    As Christians, we often feel guilty for having negative emotions and feel compelled to suppress them. Yet, king David set just the opposite example in his Psalms. Think about it, we can't let go or move past the things we suppress. That is not the way to wholeness, so that can't be the way to righteousness either. Yet, scripture does address specific emotions, and with negative emotions like anger and sadness we are invited to ponder and consider them; not deny them. (See my videos on Anger and Sadness for more on this.) We need to start treating emotions for what they are, mere reactions. We can just as easily react to false or misleading information as facts. So it's important to look closer at what we are reacting to before we act. Doing the opposite is likely the source of many of your regrets. As well as lead the church down a very shallow whitewashed path.

With That being said, let me formally announce that I will be scaling back my online presence come 2023. The internet, especially social media, has become a source of mass manipulation. So I see little value in it right now. For how long is hard to say. All I know for certain is that I need to be more available on a local level. If a revival happens that is where it will be found.


Jesus passing the Holy spirit to a man, and the man offering the Spirit to another


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Anti-Social Media

Social media has become a sketchy place to be these days. Cyberbullying, collecting and selling of user data, polarized censorship, phony bot accounts, manipulative algorithms, and diminished reach for commercial pages to compel them to buy more ads to name but a few of the issues we have to deal with. With that being said, it has people wondering if we should give up on it. Yet, it seems many of us have a hard time doing so. Even with alternatives popping up and promising to deal with some of these issues, few are seeing the same amount of traffic as the established sites. So many of us are just running back to where the people already are, despite the pitfalls.

Let’s consider a few things concerning the church and the trappings of social media.

Online church. With the shutdown, many churches adopted streaming church services. Facebook proved to be a convenient way to do that without a huge investment. However, some are enjoying the convenience a bit too much, and the community of the church is suffering from it on many levels. So I would urge you to only utilize said services when absolutely necessary. (Matthew 18:20)

“We don't need members, we need participants.” - Ricardo Gomez, missionary

Reckless tongues. You can't truly stand up for a truth by violating another. That's why certain people like to purposely provoke their enemies just so they can point a finger at their hostility. A very old but effective tactic. We need to be wiser than that. Plus, the disconnect of social media makes it so easy to indulge our frustrations without thinking. (James 3:1-12, Matthew 10:16)

False accounts. With social media put under the microscope, it has brought about many realizations. One is that many "Christian" sites are fake. This explains why most "faith" based posts are either warm and fuzzy fluff or just critical. While there is a time and place for that we need in-depth teaching that focuses more on what is truth, more than what is not. While we need to hold each other accountable, a public forum is not the place for it. This strips the good news from the gospel and casts the church in a judgmental; head in the clouds light. I am sure that is exactly what the illegitimate gospel sites want. (Hebrews 5:11-14, Galatians 6:1-6)


Numbers. (1st Chronicle2 21:1-17) King David was once rebuked for taking a census for his glory, instead of God’s. It seems we still struggle with this. Or as a minister once told me "the reason that I focus on numbers is that the church members do." Social media has exaggerated this tendency threefold. It has everyone chasing likes and followers, so much so that people are utilizing "marketers" that artificially drive up your numbers with bot accounts. I try to remind myself, I don't need to reach a Million people, just the handful that is ready to hear what it is said through me.

Revival? While many are hoping for the next big revival, I’m doubtful that social media will be a major part of it. At least not directly. Too many terrible people are filtering the information. All those terrible people are leaving a trail of broken people in their wake though. This leaves the church with a choice, are we going to kick those broken people while they are down in judgment? Or are we going to offer wholeness to those in need? Which will require more face-to-face than Facebook.

The great Christian revolutions came not by the discovery of something that was not known before. They happen when someone takes radically something that was always there. -H. Richard Niebuhr

In the end, the question we must ask ourselves is this. Are we strong enough to endure the toxicity of social media without adding to it, or succumbing to it? While I want to make sure there are still a few rays of light within the darkness of social media if it ever came to the point that it did me more harm than I was doing it good. I would definitely wash my hands of it. How about you?


a man being attacked by toxicity via his computer


Saturday, September 3, 2022

Are All Apostles?

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? -1st Corinthians 12:27-30

I want to build off of what I started in my May12th post about church structure by addressing just one of the questions posed by Paul above. Are all apostles? While all are valid questions, I think I can make my point with just one. The question in context implies an answer of no. Yet, is the current church actually trying to make us all apostles in some respect? If so, why? When the passage tells us the church needs a wide variety of skills, talents, and gifts.

But what does Paul even mean by Apostle? While some use the word apostle interchangeably with disciple, the word disciple implies student, similar to mentorship or apprenticeship. One can argue that we are all students and that discipleship is a lifelong journey. Even for the highest ranking church leader. So you can’t really substitute the word disciple in the above passage when it is telling us we are not all apostles. Since we are in some respect all disciples. So we need to stop using the word disciple and apostle interchangeably.

This brings us to the actual meaning of apostle, of which there is some debate. That in itself is a problem, an indicator that we got off our scriptural track at some point. While most insist it means missionary, others say it means church leader. While all the founding church members did indeed utilize missionary work. As I said last time, I’m convinced it’s incidental, for the simple fact that it was the dawn of the creation of the church. They had a whole planet to cover, so that had to involve an emphasis on missions. So naturally, Christ would seek outreach gifting in his chosen founders. The reason I tend to favor the church leader definition is that on a few occasions, Paul seems to indicate that some took issue with him being called an apostle. (1st Corinthians 9:1-2, 2nd Corinthians 11:5-6) If apostle only meant missionary, I don’t think this would have been an issue. However, it definitely could have been an issue if the title truly meant leader in their eyes.

Yet my assertion that the church is following human nature's tendency towards uniformity works either way. So I will address it both ways, as well as the problems these non-Biblical approaches create.

Let’s face it, claiming we are all ministers has become a common mantra within the current church. Muddy terminology aside, I believe the sentiment is on outreach, missions, and evangelism. This may be an act of desperation for the current American church. We are often too focused on filling seats and offering plates at the moment. Mainly for the needs of the institution of church. Survival mode is not something meant to be sustained indefinitely, we need to find our thrive mode eventually. Yet, we are not nurturing, healing, or educating said converts well enough once we do get them in the door. So we shouldn’t be too surprised when they don’t stick, and the church fails to thrive as a result.

Of those that do stay, they can be left feeling like since I’m not a hand to knock on doors, I’m not needed. So many parts of the body of Christ are effectively paralyzed due to our singular approach. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are calling in sick to serve. If this doesn’t illustrate why we need more than just missionaries to make a balanced and efficient church; I don’t know what will.

While you may think no church seeks to make everyone a leader. There is a specific denominational polity (religious rule of order) that gives its congregation equal authority to the ordained ministers. Without pointing fingers, my experience in said denominations tells me that the bullies rule said churches. I dare say, those that who resort to said tactics can’t be that spiritually mature. When the immature rule, sentiment supersedes spirit, tradition trumps truth, and preferences prevail over principles. According to a reverend in said denomination, most new ministers only last about 5 years before they give up. I dare say these churches are unteachable, unchangeable, and just cannot be led by young and idealistic people that want to challenge their members to grow beyond themselves.

Leadership is more than just a privilege, it’s a great responsibility. By giving every member that privilege, there is no way to keep people from shirking their responsibilities. We need people with established maturity to take on the responsibility of speaking for the head of the church, which is Christ. We need responsible leaders to direct the rest of the body. So I say, not all are meant to be leaders.

Either way, these trends violate the Biblical model of the church known as the body of Christ. Why should we expect God to bless our neglect of the truth? So it’s no wonder that many of the churches that follow these human nature based models are in big trouble right now. Even with the threat of closing, people are not willing to sacrifice the comfort of uniformity. But as I’ve already indicated, it’s in our nature to value the like-minded. One does not need any commands to do so. Yet it takes being very deliberate to emulate the body of Christ. One must follow and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do so, instead of our own deceitful hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9)

If we are all apostles, no matter how you define it, then we are an unbalanced body of Christ.

a torso with three arms trying to knock on a door he cannot walk close enough to.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Unbalanced Truth

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. -Matthew 23:23-24

This passage says much about human nature. An aspect of our nature that the disciple should seek to overcome, but frequently we do not even stop to consider it. Our tendency to over-emphasize one area that inadvertently leads to neglect of another. When you get down to it, Christianity is not a salad bar where you just take the parts you want and leave the rest behind. So it's no wonder that the people who approach it this way end up with an unbalanced spiritual diet, with far too much junk food on their plate.

I just spent all last year pointing out one of these imbalances. Specifically the most neglected dimension of holiness. Yet, I tried to frequently remind everyone that wholeness is but one dimension that is tied to the other two. We seek wholeness not just for the sake of self, but so that we can be better equipped to live a more righteous life. As well as discover what we are set apart for in God's kingdom so that we can touch the lives of others. Far too often we try to skip to the end or get stuck in the middle of the process.

One could probably write a thousand-page book on all the ways we neglect one truth for the sake of another, but for this blog let's just address this one example subject that seems to be in my face a lot lately, service. When we get down to it, we can serve self, serve God, or serve others. It can be really easy to convince ourselves that one of these is more important than the others. Even if it is, that does not necessarily mean the others are completely irrelevant. So getting them out of balance can actually impede what it is that we are trying to emphasize. While it may seem rather vain to serve self, and it often is. But, we got to remember Jesus himself took time to eat, sleep, as well as go to isolated places to pray. So obviously denying self does not go that far. Jesus set an example of being a good steward of self. To remind us that if we allow ourselves to get drained to the point that we can't serve God or others very efficiently, then our overemphasis has indeed become counter-productive.

There are three dimensions to serving self as well, physical, emotional, and spiritual. While they are separate and distinct, they are interconnected as well. Suffering a debilitating physical illness can take an emotional and spiritual toll on us. Just as emotional stress can bleed into our physical well-being. So we can't treat any of these as completely unimportant either.

There is nothing noble about stuffing our faces with junk food and letting our health suffer for it, even if on some immature level it is a form of serving self. Just as there is nothing noble about over-emphasizing our physical health out of pure vanity. That is only serving self for the sake of admiration and praise. Self for self's sake, if you will. Somewhere in the middle of all this extremism, there is a proper balance that allows us to better serve God and others without wearing ourselves down.

Our emotional needs are a bit more complicated. Yet, we often see one of two extremes. Following feelings blindly, or denying them entirely. Treating our emotions as absolute truth often just leads us to provoke feelings we want, and cover up feelings we don't. This approach can lead to a lot of sinful actions as a quick and easy pain killer to our broken hearts. Never truly facing or dealing with the emotional wounds that are holding us back spiritually. While we often deny emotions to avoid the pain of our scars as well. However, you can't contain feelings forever, they will rear their ugly head, eventually. Somewhere in the middle, we find healing and ultimately wholeness. This is the first step to true holiness. Yet I repeat, not the only step.

Our spiritual well-being is a little more complicated than we often treat it as well. True spiritual well-being is achieved by seeking God, and his truth. Then apply that truth by seeking all three dimensions of holiness. Not by just knowing a definition of it. In embracing the full spectrum of holiness, there's spiritual prosperity and fulfillment. Many may say otherwise, but how would they know, they are only following one dimension of holiness. People like that definitely need some more fruit in their proverbial salad. For many, spirituality is just going to church to get uplifted by the music. I dare say they may be getting emotions and the spirit mixed up. I liken this to buying a Bucket of chicken and only eating the skin, that's very immature and unhealthy. That part of the chicken has its place, but only as a single part of a well-balanced spiritual diet.

While serving others often seems very noble on the surface, sometimes our motivations in doing so are less than noble. We often see approval addicts taking on a self-sacrificial mantra, but it's actually motivated by a desire for acceptance, inclusion, and validation. They are merely trying to buy loyalty, not benefit others. They are actually serving themselves in a very covert way. For the disciple, where your heart is at matters, it's not merely about surface behavior. (Mark 7:6)

Let me also remind you that Jesus told us that serving God and others is very much intertwined. (Matthew 25:40-45) So if in our attempt to emphasize serving God we end up neglecting people, or treating them with contempt, we have failed miserably at serving God as he wants us to. It's such a simple truth, but we see it being violated with such alarming frequency. All because some find that truth inconvenient, and unpleasant. So we try to skip over that in the salad bar of discipleship and try to compensate by taking a double portion of the camel, so to speak. It just doesn't work that way, because an incomplete truth can be just as bad as a falsehood. So I close by asking you this, are you practicing the whole truth, or are you neglecting something that you have a problem with or find too difficult? Or maybe you're just too fond of the sinful shortcuts to self-care that you have rationalized? If so, what are you going to do about it?


a man trying to force cylinders in to various shaped holes.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Powerless

Blasphemy of the spirit or the unforgivable sin as it is also known; is a subject that isn't talked about much. Maybe that is why so many are getting dangerously close to crossing that line these days. I think the best way to understand what Jesus meant by this is to simply read all three gospel references in context. (Matthew 12:22-37, Mark 3:20-34, Luke 12:1-12) I say that because I have read many commentaries on these passages, and many get rather absurd. Trying to interject conditions and time frames into the applicability of the passage, despite that Jesus' words are rather straightforward, and there's nothing in them to support any such variables. But, if I were to summarize it in simple terms, blasphemy of the Spirit is simply accusing the Holy Spirit of being evil. Why is this important? If one were to experience something that cannot be explained by conventional means, it would be very easy to react in fear and dub the unfamiliar as wicked. Where we should be more deliberate and cautious about the event from both ends. (1st John 4:1-3) Not just reject all spirits to avoid what may be evil, because rejecting the Holy Spirit is the greater sin.

Granted, when we read the gospels or Acts it may seem like something supernatural happens every day. In reality, these books take place over multiple years, and we are just getting the highlights. I'm sure those who say things like that don't happen anymore are not taking that into account. Then again, there may be some arrogance behind it too. Such people often think that if miracles were to happen today, they would be entitled to them. Since it hasn't happened to them, it must not happen anymore. However, it's more likely their lack of humility that keeps the Spirit from working in their life.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.-2nd Timothy 3:1-5

This passage hits the nail on the head, all the way down to denying Godly power. Many today are turning the Trinity into the Father, the Son, and the Bible. Their main argument for doing this is that if it aligns with the scripture, then what the Spirit says is redundant. My main problem with this is that the ancient Hebrews had scripture, yet Jesus had to correct their misapplication of it at times. (Matt. 5:33-48 & 23:23-24) I have no doubt that if Jesus came back today the first thing that he would do is correct the church. This is probably why many deny the Spirit, they don't want anyone disrupting their presuppositions, humbling them in their pride, questioning their traditions, or asking them to be more gracious to people they despise. Besides, sometimes we just need someone to jog our memory at the right time; the spirit is good at this.

Not that the Spirit is only about relaying information, he offers strength as well. What good is it to go to so much trouble to define a moral standard, only to deny us the very strength we need to overcome the sinful nature of the flesh that stands in the way of living up to that standard? Otherwise, you are resisting the flesh by the power of the flesh. Naturally, you shouldn't be surprised if your own strength pulls some punches in that battle.

Let me offer one last observation, in most passages where the Holy Spirit shows up, apart from prayer, it tends to be rather unexpected. Nobody is invoking him like magic or bending him to fulfill their will. He just shows up to empower us when we need more than our own strength to fulfill God's will. This may be another aversion many have to the spirit. We want a say in which way that wind blows, so he won't take us to uncomfortable waters. That is more about faith in self than God. So it's no wonder the church universal has become so powerless; we don't really know the advocate. (John 14:15-20) With the state of the church being what it is, it will take more than man-made programs to revive us. But that won't happen if we offend our helper.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” -John 3:8

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, -1st Thessalonians 5:19-21

a man swiping at the Holy Spirit with a Bible




Monday, June 6, 2022

Between Anger and Sadness

In my Mystery of the Heart video, I pointed out how the Bible never uses the word emotions or comments on them in general. Yet, it does mention specific emotions.

With the art for suicide prevention show coming up I find myself thinking about specific feelings. I say that because the theme is always hope, which I approach very cautiously. Speaking from experience pressuring people to put on a happy face for the sake of the comfort of others can be very detrimental for the one being pressured. There is plenty of research to back up this statement as well. So the last thing I want to do is become a source of pressure for the depressed by just telling people to have hope and not showing them the way there.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that believes that examining sadness magnifies sorrow, yet indulging anger releases it. Yet, all the research on the subject says just the opposite. We see this faulty perception perpetuated in the recycled tv plot where somebody is trying to control their temper, only to blow up at the end. Then express great relief after 3 seconds. In reality, this explosion would only open a floodgate of multiple destructive waves. As well as the recurring scene where someone is trying to hit a baseball or get a strike in bowling is told to imagine the target as someone you hate. This actually blunts your edge, not sharpen it. Anger management classes wouldn't need to be a thing if the Hollywood reality were actually true.

Not to mention society routinely criticizes the melancholic. Granted there will always be those people that only want to constantly illicit sympathy, and never move forward. However, this person may actually be a narcissist who is manipulating you into treating them the way they feel entitled to. Such people actually have a high opinion of themselves and are not genuinely sorrowful at all. Some narcissists really do give the depressed a bad name. The truth is, the most effective way to overcome sadness is to face it, not deny or detour around it.

I bring this up because the Bible was way ahead of the curve when it comes to these psychological findings. Even if the church is slow to live by said truths.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. -James 1:19-20

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, -Ephesians 4:26

We are warmed to not indulge our anger blindly, or even bottle it up. Rather deal with it deliberately. This requires self-examination, instead of just blaming everyone else.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. -Psalm 126:5-6

See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. -2nd Corinthians 7:11

We are instructed to keep moving forward in our sadness, instead of coming to a standstill as the depressed tend to. As well as take direction from examining our sorrow, instead of ignoring it. Plus, so many of David’s Psalms are such honest expressions of sorrow. So why in the world are we encouraging such utter dishonesty when it comes to sadness? Why do we think we have failed as Christians when we feel sad? If anything scripture paints it as a big part of our growth as people, and ultimately disciples. So why shun a potentially transformative process?

“Boys are taught, sometimes with the best of intentions, to mutate their emotional suffering into anger.” -Andrew Reiner, Towson University

The final years before my brother had taken his own life were earmarked by much anger. Only in hindsight can we see all the sorrow behind all that anger. This worldly advice of shun your sadness, but not your anger did not serve him well at all, if anything it contributed to his death. So I would discourage you from doing the same. Yet more important, don't encourage others to take this faulty path either, no matter how uncomfortable it may make you. Believe me when I say the potential ramifications are far worse.

I myself try to live by the mantra, feelings are not necessarily true nor are they inherently false. So many go to either extreme and for those that do, they always find out the hard way when they get a particular issue backward. Easy to say, but not always easy to live out, especially when the Achilles heel of your spirit is being tripped. Yet it's important to know where they are; it reveals so much about us. It's an important part of self-examination and awareness. Speaking as an artist, it truly is the exciting part of the journey.

The pressure to be happy
Social psychologists have found that the expectation to be happy can cause great pressure (A pressure we often put on ourselves) Great enough that it can cause unhappiness Ironically enough.