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Published Date: January 8, 2012

Published Date: January 8, 2012

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Thick Skinned?

Women, are often told that emotions are invalid, or that feelings are a sign of weakness. I have heard time and time again the statement against women in leadership, on the basis of protecting the “weaker sex,” that leadership is reserved for individuals (presumably men) who possess a thicker skin.

At a conference a couple weeks ago, I came across a booth selling a series of paintings depicting Christ. This artist portrayed Christ as a good-looking tanned gentleman who glowed in oil pastels. His white robes were unsullied by the dust and the movement of the crowds around him. His smile was practically an advertisement for White Strips. The paintings didn’t jive at all with my mind’s picture of the person of Christ. If we cannot portray Christ realistically—as someone whose clothes were dusty, whose teeth and skin were imperfect— it is no wonder we cannot accept a range of emotions from women and men.

God tells us that when we want an accurate picture of himself, we should look at his Son whom he sent as a tangible representation of Divinity; transcendence made flesh; God made human. In Scripture, I find that Christ was moved deeply by feeling. He was filled with compassion, love, loyalty, hope, and sometimes even righteous anger. Christ’s emotions moved him to be surrounded by the sick, the dirty, and the poor. His emotions led him to wash his friends’ feet, and weep when his friend Lazarus died. He told us to love one another, act with compassion, to be merciful. Christ was anything but a numb, distant, and “thick skinned” leader. Christ felt things, and he felt them deeply.

If Christ was the perfect leader, we need not be ashamed of the emotion that moves us, of the tears that sometimes flow, of the passion to help others. Rather than feel embarrassed by God-given feelings, we can recognize that their presence can draw us to God.

Has anyone been criticised for showing emotions? (female or male)