Recently read an article about the power of the word “AND”, how that emotions can co-exist with one another, BOTH negative and positive. This particular writer lost a child and is grieving but also has happy, joyful things going on in her family (read the article here). She writes about how addressing, allowing, and agreeing that both feelings co-exist is freeing, freeing to the person going through tough situations, and freeing to others around them.
My first thought, as a Christian involved in studies in the Scriptures, isn’t this double-mindedness discussed in the books of James and Psalms? Does a negative emotion and a positive emotion co-existing in the same person cause problems with faith, doubting, and relationship with Christ?
Double-minded man in Scriptures
James 1:8 = “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Psalms 119:113 = “I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Your law.”
So, let’s start with context – James chapter 1 discusses trials and circumstances and God’s wisdom versus worldly wisdom. The particular paragraph where the double minded man is mentioned is discussing asking God for wisdom without doubting. The greek word for doubting is the same word used later in James where he tells them not to make distinctions among themselves, because the rich were regarded more highly in the church. The word for doubting means “to separate” either within oneself, like the double minded man, or outwardly like separating how you treat the rich and the not rich. So, a person doubting within themselves, is “at variance with one’s self”, at war within the mind. So, a person double minded is at war within himself, believing two extremes about God.
James chapter 4 discusses what sin does to a person. Sin causes double mindedness, a place where a person is at war within themselves about what to believe about God and a relationship with Him, mostly because sin has blinded them to a correct belief. Verse 8 says if we draw close to God, He will draw close to us and He will fix the double mindedness.
In Psalm 119:113, the word for double-minded means “a person who is destitute of firm faith” and “driven hither and thither”. The double-minded person is not known for a strong belief in God. He is a person skeptical, uncertain, and ambivalent about God.
Negative vs Positive Emotions
So, does a person having both a negative and positive emotion about their circumstances and place in life and people around them, are they double-minded? No. They aren’t, not according to scripture. Double-mindedness is about a relationship with God, about doubt versus faith in God.
This reminds me so much of how I have had my thankfulness questioned in recent years in regards to girlie. In attempts to address issues found in caring for my daughter, in whatever setting that may be, I have been told “you just need to be thankful”.
My thankfulness for those people never left, my thankfulness for and about the organization never left. I am BOTH thankful for ANYONE who agrees to work with children like my girlie, AND concerned when best practices are left aside, including involvement of the people who know that child the very most, the parents.
Thankfulness can AND does co-exist with not being afraid to confront hard things and disagreements in care and procedures.
BOTH / AND
When girlie’s supplies show up, I am BOTH thankful for God’s provision AND overwhelmed with the organization job ahead of me.
When we have a new employee working to care for girlie, I am BOTH thankful for God’s provision AND overwhelmed with responsibility of training and being a good employer.
When the work load at home or work skyrockets, I am BOTH thankful for God’s provision AND overwhelmed with the amount of work.
Don’t be afraid to express both negative and positive emotions. We have them both, God gave us both.
Maybe God’s purpose was to keep us balanced.
Maybe God’s purpose was to keep us trusting in Him, that certainly is what it does to me. When I see and know that I am very very limited in what I can accomplish and what I can handle emotionally, my trust in Him remains firm and grounded.
Maybe God just wants us to see, we most assuredly are completely human and He is the only One that can AND should be God.
Free yourself and free others to just be. Be who they are and be who God created them to be, filled with a mixture of all kinds of emotions.