“Emotions help us to enter into the lives of and connect with others.”
Winston Smith presented on the topic of emotions and relationships. He explained that emotions are like a passport into the lives of others. “Emotions help us to enter into the lives of and connect with others.” So we don’t just know about them, but we know them. We touch their hearts and know their souls. “It is an act of love to enter into experience with one another through emotions.”
The Bible actually tell us that it’s the very nature of love to enter into one another’s experience this way, through our emotions. calls us to mourn with those who mourn. It is calling us to enter into that experience. There is a big difference between knowing about someone’s experience and entering into that experience. “Emotions are the difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone.”
How do we get better at entering someone’s world? How do we begin to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? At the danger of oversimplification, here are some tips Winston offered so that we can grow in this area:
- Enter in – hearing.“Love enters the world of the other.” We should try to understand what their experience is like for them, and listen to their emotions. “Entering in means inviting them to share with you what it’s like for them to be them.” This is how we are going to get their experience. A common mistake of a listener is to assume the speaker would feel the same feelings we would if we had been placed in the same scenario. We explore our own hearts and assume their hearts are just like ours.
- Connect – let them know that you’ve heard and understand what they shared about themselves. We should demonstrate that we’ve heard. “I understand that you feel ashamed.” The mistake we often make is called “fixing.” We may quote at them, which may be Biblical truth, but if spoken before we’ve connected, it can actually seem like we are stepping away from them. “Before you dispense one piece of advice, enter in, understand, care.” Enter in, don’t just be dispensers of advice.
- Care – You want them to know that you genuinely care. Allow their story to impact you and allow yourself to feel it. Keep it simple. We can say things like: “I’m sorry that this is so hard for you. It makes me sad to see you hurting so badly.” Or, “I’ve never been betrayed that way. I’m so sorry.” Or “I hate that you feel like you need to hide. I’m not ashamed of you. I’m glad to be your friend.” Sometimes the mistake we can make at the caring level is we get caught up in the difference between entering in and caring verses agreeing. There is a time to communicate truth after entering in and loving genuinely. It’s about timing and sequence.
To love requires vulnerability. We need to let go of ourselves to enter into someone else’s experience. Let us be motivated us by Jesus who is our example.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. –
Winston reminded us that in “Every moment we have an opportunity to make Christ more visible in this world.” Jesus moves toward the heartache. God doesn’t speak and act from afar. He draws near. He becomes like us.
We need to first know Christ’s cleaning love. We need to know His grace and how He’s entered into us. He carries us. He enables us to enter into the experience of others in His name. We are not Jesus substitutes. Because He lives and lives in us, we can bring His love to others and bring others to Him. In some mysterious way, God becomes more fully manifest in our lives and in our relationships when we live and walk in His love. In one sense you can’t see God, but in another way, you can, if you love one another well by His grace and Spirit.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (ESV)