Friday, November 12, 2010

The Redemption of My Humanity

From Shaowei's blog:
I realized how much God has redeemed my emotions over the years. I used to be disconnected from my emotions, because I thought they were unproductive, but probably more because I was afraid of being hurt. Then, He reconnected my feelings, like plugging a device into the USB port of a computer. I started to feel extreme sadness, happiness, anger, frustration, excitement and love. I experienced the world around me in new colors. I experienced Him like never before. But emotions can be more powerful than thoughts. I sometimes found myself in depression, and I had to learn to overcome the depression while honoring the validity of my emotions. This is when my spirit, through the strength of God, commanded my emotions to be still.

The same thing happened with my mind. I depended on my mind, then became afraid of it, then was reconnected to it, and finally my mind agreed to be subject to my spirit.

The same was true of my relationships: my friends, my family, my loved ones. My identity used to be built on what others thought of me, then I separated myself from others, then I reconnected and came to honor and enjoy people as creatures of glory. My identity in God is most seen through the way I connect with others around me, because God created us for relationship.

I love how this brother describes so well. I can identify with what he says.

God also redeemed my emotions. I'm not sure if many people know, but when I was a young child, during primary school days, I actually was a very self-absorbed person. I didn't have much compassion for anyone, not even my own parents. I remember I was in Primary Three, and one day, while reading a book, my dad came back home very sick. He was so sick that his colleagues had to bring him back home, supporting him on both sides.

And... my response was: I looked up at him, and then went back to reading my book.

Gosh. To think I was so heartless. :(

Now after growing... yup, thank God that He has changed me so much.

Same with my emotions. When I was in secondary school, I remember I didn't care much about others' feelings. The feelings that I cared for were mostly for myself and myself alone. And I was NOT sensitive to people's feelings. I could just butt into a conversation and start talking about my own pet topics, completely oblivious to the annoyed glares of the people I was interrupting. No wonder very few people could stand me when I was in the Scouts. And I didn't respect the people I was with very much. Ask any of my old RI friends and they can tell you what a ... character I was.

But after coming to church, people told me that I needed to be more sensitive to others. It was a slow process, but over time, God helped me grow and learn to empathize, think about how others would feel, read their faces, anticipate social situations and so on...

Thing is, I started swinging to the other extreme. I experienced the joy of empathy, and feeling for others. And I learned to start reading people's facial expressions. However, I became very worried a lot of times what people would think of me, and fret constantly over what their facial expressions and body language might mean. It could take me hours or even days to get over perceived worries.

And... I started getting depressed about my lack of close friends too. Formerly, I didn't really see the value of making close friends... but after I became a Christian, I discovered a deep pain - the pain of loneliness and inadequacy. I didn't care much last time, preferring to spend time playing computer games the whole day.

But it was a good pain, because it helped me realize how little I cared for others, and how self-absorbed and socially immature I was. Only when I had experienced pain, did I start seeing the value of growing. It was like a healed leper feeling pain for the first time in many decades. God took away the leprosy of my heart, so that I might learn to feel again, even pain... and in so doing, He helped me become human again. =)

Now, I think the past two years were God correcting my extremes in sensitivity. Like a powerful radar dish made more effective through better training, God has helped me grow. He redeemed my emotions, and my sensitivity.

I guess one of the sweetest things was having sisters tell me that I'm tender, thoughtful, caring, empathetic and sensitive. :) Haha... but seriously, they really told me that. So thank God for what He has done in me... not I, but Christ who lives in me! :D

And took the Caliper test... was so surprised to find that empathy is one of my greatest strengths. Totally amazing for someone who was so heartless as a kid that he couldn't care less about whether his dad was suffering or not. :(

*sigh* Redemption.

Jesus, God's righteousness revealed,
The Son of Man, the Son of God,
His Kingdom come
Jesus, redemption's sacrifice,
Now glorified, now testified
His Kingdom come

Such is the depth and measure of my redemption... and how it cost God so much to restore humanity's humanity. That God is not so much making me a better person as He is redeeming my humanity. That He, the Son of Man, is making me a man once again.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see..."

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