"And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with Me.'" Matthew 26:37-38 ESV
We all express and share our emotions differently. Some wear their emotions on their sleeve and feel everything those around them feel. Others appear indifferent and have built a wall within
themselves, rarely, if ever, sharing their emotions with others.
Jesus definitely expressed His emotions. Though He could have kept them at bay, He shared them. He didn't hesitate to shed tears of anguish or flip tables in frustration. He is known for His
compassion toward the lost and His indignation toward the spiritually self-righteous. For Jesus, showing emotions was not a sign of weakness, but a bridge to those around Him.
When someone is vulnerable with us, our bond immediately deepens and we feel safe sharing more with them. Jesus knew this, and therefore, didn't suppress His emotions, when appropriate. He desired a deeper connection with His followers. He also wanted to show them what it looked like to properly express their emotions. We are made in God's image after all, and our emotions are not inherently bad. It's what brings them about and how we express them that often gets us in hot water.
Let's take a moment and think about this: God in the flesh allowed Himself to be so vulnerable with His sinful followers, they saw Him cry, yell and sweat drops of blood. He easily could have held His emotions in check, but He knew by showing them His followers would trust Him more and feel safe to be themselves around Him. He also knew how they misused their emotions and wanted to show them a better way.
Today, just like in Jesus' day, we have a spectrum when it comes to how people express their emotions. This is especially clear when we compare generations. Older adults are more reserved, keeping back their emotions and intimate thoughts. Younger people, on the other hand, are in general more open to sharing what they care about and how.
Now, this is not a blanket statement; we're all unique. Unlike many of my peers, I tend to avoid being vulnerable with people. Yet, the more I talk with my peers, the more they encourage me to give more of myself to them. Not in a naive way where I share everything with everyone, but I'm allowing more people behind my walls. This benefits our relationship because it intensifies our trust, and it helps me personally; I process my emotions better and see them not as things to hide but gifts to feel and share.
For Jesus, showing emotions was not a sign of weakness, but a bridge to those around Him.
What about you? Are you forthcoming with your thoughts, emotions and experiences, especially with those younger than you? Why? I ask this not out of judgment, but curiosity. No, we don't need to share our deepest thoughts with strangers, but what if we miss opportunities for deeper relationships because we hold back the fuel which makes them possible?
Young people value transparency and authenticity, and sharing our emotions is part of that. It's also what Jesus did with His disciples. So rather than hold them back, what if you opened yourself up, perhaps even to a younger person? I think it would make the Father smile as He watched you follow in His Son's footsteps and connected with another one of His children.
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.