“Hate, rage, wrath — they are not evil, but beneficial; even Godly in their ideal form.”
“Pride is an exemplary example of the inadequacy of the English language, as well as the word ‘love’, or when a woman says ‘yes’.”
The views I am writing on in this article are written from a Christian standpoint, to warn the atheist and agnostic, and conversely, draw in the Christian theologian.
Mainstream Christianity. That is all that needs to be said to describe the reason for the lack in this particular area. If I were to tell you that I am a prideful, jealous, and at times, full of rage and hate, would you be more likely to commend me or refer me to a psychologist?
For most Christians, the choice would almost inevitably fall to the latter. This is to be expected, after all, what have we been taught all of our lives? That jealousy is a virtue? That rage is a beneficial emotional outlet? How about pride – how many sermons or teachings have you heard that encourage pride?
The point that I am driving towards is this: The emotions that I have listed above; pride, jealousy, hate, rage, wrath – these were, are, and will always be Godly attributes. So what possesses us to teach that these traits are evil, shallow and dangerous human emotions to be avoided at all cost?
Maybe it’s because they are dangerous, and they certainly are. But what tool isn’t? Diligence; the protestant work ethic, can result in workaholic behavior, alienation from family and friends, and heaps of pent up stress. Love itself drives men and women alike into a state of manic, suicidal, and sometimes murderous depression! The point is not that these character traits and emotions are inherently evil, but that all it takes is a subtle twist, and a pure, Godly trait becomes evil. And it should be noted that hate, anger, rage, and jealousy are all Godly traits in their pure and ideal form. Hating sin is Godly. Hating evil in general is good. God Himself hates many things, more things than we give Him credit for. The Bible says time after time that God is a jealous God. This does not mean envious or controlling. Jealousy in its ideal form is a protective characteristic. When I become jealous when a stranger puts his arm around my wife, this emotional response is natural and beneficial in that this emotion will spur me into protection mode – protection of my spouse, her faithfulness, and the sanctity of our marriage covenant.
Ecclesiastes teaches the value of satisfaction in your work. Our English word for this is pride, sadly, the same word that we use to describe an arrogant or boastful nature. I suppose all of our problems in this area are rooted in semantics. I think the moral of the story is fairly clear. We have steered away from traits and emotions that God created to be used for good.
I am curious to explore how this has effected us, and how we can remedy the lack.