Many of us are taught to suppress negative emotions, such as anger and frustration. But this has really negatively affected our relationships because it is the sharing of our emotions that build intimate relationships. Especially in Asian cultures, voicing out or expressing one’s emotions are not promoted but rather discouraged.
It is because people think that certain emotions are morally “bad” and should be avoided. But many people don’t know that emotion is actually “amoral”, which means that it is neither morally good nor bad. Acting on your negative emotion is bad but having negative emotions such as anger is amoral. Even in the Bible, Jesus time to time got angry and frustrated by Pharisees, yet without sinning. In the book of Hebrews, it also says that Jesus sympathizes with all our emotions. If certain emotions we feel are morally “bad”, then we are saying Jesus did something wrong, which is not true.
Bible actually says “in your anger do not sin”. Having the emotion of anger is not sin but acting on your anger, by punching someone or saying something harsh is. However, children are usually taught to suppress their anger and consequently they fail to learn how to express their anger in a healthy way. Being mature does not mean you never get angry, which is impossible but means expressing your anger in a healthy and undestructive way. And the best way to express anger is by “saying” it.
If anger is always suppressed, a child may develop “Passive-Aggressive” behavior, which is considered the worst way to express anger. Also known as “PA behavior”, in it anger is never expressed in a direct manner since it is suppressed, but expressed in many indirect ways, such as procrastination, hostile jokes, stubbornness, deliberate failure to accomplish requested tasks. According to many psychologists, this is the hardest behavior to correct.
Healing happens when you honestly share what you feel and there are people willing to listen to you without judging. In that sense, the house church is a great place where everyone gets a chance to share how they “feel”, without worrying about getting their emotions judged. To create that atmosphere, after someone’s sharing, try not to give advice or what you think. Instead, look them in the eyes and nod your head. This simple gesture gives a sense of affirmation to the person who just shared. I’m sure this is something you wished your parents did more often when you were young, after sharing about how you were feeling.