Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Realism - Emotionalism - and Halloween

Realism – Emotionalism – and Halloween
Barbara Henderson

If I were describing my paintings to you I would call myself a realistic impressionist.  That means I paint realistic paintings with an impressionist influence.  But, you can always tell what I am painting.  That is the way the life of a realist is.  We have goals we are working toward, or boundaries we work to live within.  It may not always be clear what we are doing to observers, but it is clear what we are doing if you step back and look at the big picture.

An abstract painter just flings stuff on the canvas, and something turns out that may – occasionally – have a sort of color mix and an ‘almost’ design that is sort of appealing.  But there is nothing real in the painting.  Some people live their lives like that.  Everything is based on their emotions.  If they feel like it today then that is what they do.  If they don’t feel like it tomorrow then they don’t do it. Emotionalists have nothing real in their lives because every action is based on shifting sand.

Obviously, realists have emotions.  However, they do not base their decisions on their emotions.  Good decisions give a realist joy. Hard decisions may give sadness or even a broken heart.  But when these decisions are based on right and wrong they are going to ultimately work for good.  Letting emotions rule one’s life ultimately leads to sorrow and disaster. 

From an emotional point of view the Bible can’t mean it when it says those who reject Christ are choosing to go to hell.  Those souls must get a second chance.  From there you have reincarnation, purgatory, and eventual nothingness.  But if you are a realist, you read the Bible, and you don’t try to change it.  You either believe God or you don’t. 

A realist learns early on not to lie.  The most important person to hear the truth is the realist him/herself.  The realist doesn’t make matters worse or better than they really are. 
An emotionalist looks at things differently.  If he/she feels like the world is coming to an end today then they live today as though the world were coming to an end.  If he/she feels on top of the world today then that is how they live.  If they feel like something is right – even murder of unborn children – then that is a cause they support.  If they feel like it is a woman’s turn in the Whitehouse then they support a woman candidate.  If they feel like someone other than their spouse will make him/her happier then they switch spouses or partners.  Their loyalty is subject to their emotions.  Their work ethic is subject to their emotions.

From an emotional viewpoint the entire world is sitting on shifting sand.  Nothing is secure or good.  Good today is evil tomorrow.  Evil today is good tomorrow. 

And the world today is clearly confused regarding what is right and what is wrong.  The Bible has something to say about those who call good evil and evil good.  Isaiah 5:20-24 says,
     ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Their end is not pretty is it?  Honestly, you cannot be an emotionalist and fully accept the word of the Lord.  Emotions don’t like the harsh reality that the wages of sin is death.  Emotions, instead of going to work to tell people there is one way into heaven, set out mentally to find a way around God’s finished work.  You hear them say things like, ‘The God I know wouldn’t send anyone to hell.’  In one sense they are correct because God doesn’t send people to hell.  People reject Gods offer of salvation, and in effect choose anyplace but heaven with God.  Anyplace without God is hell.

Realistically, they are a lot of things I could point out that are done by emotions instead of by a realistic evaluation of the situation.  But Instead let me point out a few things that are done through a realistic evaluation of a situation.  If you see your brother in need, and you have the means to fill that need, then realistically it is your Christian duty to fill that need.  You may also have the emotion of compassion that helps you give your brother what he needs.  OR, your brother may keep getting himself into a needy place through poor choices, and you may feel somewhat miffed that you are bailing him out again.  But realistically, if you can help him you do it.  Help can take many different ways.  It doesn’t always mean financial help.  It often means  prayer for sinners (such as I am) who really don’t deserve your time or effort.  But, if financial help is what is needed then don’t shirk your duty.

Realistically what some people need is going to be an encouraging word, an acknowledgment of hard work (although hard work not acknowledged is no excuse to stop working hard).

Realistically, children and adults who have no way to church may need your help in getting there.  Do your duty and a then even more. 

A lot of things are done for the joy of doing it, but realistically these things are also right to do. 

There is joy found in doing many things that are right to do.  Being a realist doesn’t mean you have given up joy.  It just means you put right decisions ahead of emotions.

There is joy in holidays spent with loved ones.  Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine.  In anticipation of Thanksgiving I recently opened a can of black olives and ate the entire contents of the can.  (I have cancer – so if I feel like eating something I eat it.  Right now my weight is stable, but I am on a new anti-cancer pill that causes weight loss, so in anticipation of losing weight I am already eating anything I want – including a can of olives.)

Thanksgiving celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November has no Biblical basis, although thanksgiving is commanded throughout the Bible.  I really try to make October, November, and December a time of Thanksgiving.  It sets a good tone for the new year.

Celebrating Christmas doesn’t really have a Biblical basis either.  In other words, the Bible doesn’t say Christ was born on this day and you need a big celebration on that day where you give gifts to everyone.  Honestly, I think just about anyone would admit that Christmas has gotten a little out of hand.  A TV news reporter was doing some street reporting, going from person to person asking about the controversy of saying happy holiday or Merry Christmas. I actually saw someone give an answer something like this. 
     ‘Why can’t those Christians get out of our holiday and leave us alone?  Do they have to stick their nose in everything?’

Realistically, we have an occasion that deserves celebrating!  God came to earth as a baby.  To not celebrate His birth is ungrateful. Celebrate every day!  Do celebrate on December 25th.  Setting aside a day to celebrate is a good thing if we keep the focus on Christ.  Also, we shouldn’t forget that Baby Jesus did not say a baby.  He grew into a man who is the Savior of the world.  Some people stay focused on that baby because the rest of the story, while filled with the overwhelming love of God, is also filled with the harsh reality of the crucifixion, suffering, and that little phrase ‘take up your cross and follow me’.

Then there is Easter or Resurrection Sunday as we Baptists call it.  Obviously, there are pagan elements thrown in to confuse the celebration.  Every good thing on this earth is tainted by sin.  Once again, don’ get caught up in the worldly part of the celebration.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His power over death is the high point of history.  Because Jesus Christ lives, His followers will also live again by His power.  We don’t have to do anything.  Jesus did it all at Calvary.  He will do all the work when he descends from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first….   We should celebrate Christ’s resurrection every day.  We should celebrate that He will raise the dead at the appointed time.  But don’t get caught in the worldly aspects of Easter.

We also celebrate man made holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, birthdays, and some families have special days they celebrate.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I think it is good if the celebrations are God honoring, and not used as an excuse to get drunk.

But…..there is one holiday that gains more importance every year. That holiday has no good beginning.  It is Halloween.  Without going into the details of Halloween, we can say it is entirely pagan.  It IS the actual devil’s holiday.  Please don’t make light of its background.  It stems from pure evil.  How can you take something so evil and dress it up as good clean fun?  I understand that while we are not of this world we are still in it.  We pass out candy with Bible tracts when little beggars come to our door on Halloween.  We don’t go out and lecture their parents. 

What I protest is Christians decorating for Halloween, adults dressing as evil beings or women dressing as sluts.  They need to remember that Halloween IS the devil’s holiday from its very beginning.  I don’t see how it can be dressed up enough to take the evil out of it.
Trying to make Halloween into good clean fun is something an emotionalist would do.
Admitting its evil beginning and avoiding it is something a realist would do.

Are you a Realist or an Emotionalist?

Barbara Henderson

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