I remember one of my most charged fights with my father. At its height, Dad passionately shouted, “You’re being too emotional!” That moment revealed an important truth – emotions are “catchy.”
We’re studying Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians and it’s distinguished by powerful emotions. Paul opens his letter, pouring out his heart with praise for unexpected deliverance. He then descends into darkness, describing his troubles and affliction, but quickly ascends into hope, joy and love.
Why all these emotions, with their complex highs and lows? Paul wants to “infect” his readers with that same range of emotion and ideas. Emotions flow from one person to another – and this is a positive force in argument. Facing an intractable conflict with the Corinthian Church, Paul uses one of the most successful strategies of argument – introduce complex emotions into the fight!
Complex and full-hearted feeling makes it possible to acknowledge what you don’t understand, where you might already share some agreement, where you might be willing to bend.
This week we continue our sermon series, The Good Fight, learning from Paul’s spirit and tactics. Is there a crucial conflict in your life that you’ve been avoiding? Don’t go to battle without first coming to church this Sunday!