—An Article Showing That We Have A Direct Well Defined Call Against Emotionalism and Sentimentalism—
“Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)
The story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is well known, and this calling of our Lord to remember the wife of Lot is of great importance to us especially today. It points out to us the need to war against emotionalism and sentimentalism. Both emotions and sentiments are diametrically opposed to reason. And reason is one of the key things that ought to guide a Christian after the Bible which of course is the final authority. That these two things are so opposed to reason, as important as it is to we Christians, shows how dangerous they are should we allow them to influence us.
Now, about Lot’s wife. Many things has been unfairly and baselessly said about that woman in respect to her looking back when the commandment was clearly not to look back. Some say she loved the sinful life of Sodom and Gomorrah, and for this love she looked back. Others say she had a lot of wealth that she had left behind in the rush, and for this reason she looked back. Other things are said about the woman which are both unfair and baseless.
All that the Bible says about her is this, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26). There was no explanation as to why she did so. It may have been simple curiosity, or anything else. All those assumptions were probably made to form a beautiful sermon. That practice of twisting and turning scriptures and adding spices to it to make a sermon sweet must stop.
From the Book of Jasher we can however get a convincing reason why she looked back and derive evidence of it from scriptures. It is written in the book of Jasher this way:
“…and Ado the wife of Lot looked back to see the destruction of the cities, for her compassion was moved on account of her daughters who remained in Sodom, for they did not go with her. And when she looked back she became a pillar of salt, and it is yet in that place unto this day.” So it was compassion for her daughters that made her look back.
When the angels brought the news of the plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah to Lot, the Bible says,
“And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.” (Genesis 19:12 – 15).
So we see here that the husbands of the daughters of Lot who were married thought he was joking, so they ignored and refused to go with him. So the angels in the morning hastened him and said he should take the two that were with him and leave. So for the sakes of the compassion Lot’s wife had for those other of her daughters who were left behind, she looked back.
It is the same way that many today, on the basis of emotions and sentiments, disobey God’s direct command. Lot’s wife was very justifiable compared to the nonsense emotionalists and sentimentalists we have today. She had a reason to be emotional and be moved by her compassion for it was the thought of her very daughters that made her look back, but today people get emotional over nothing and disobey God’s command.
People hardly try to convince one another in anything at all without trying to stir the emotions of those they’re trying to convince. And on the basis of nonsense emotions draw stupid conclusions. As I’ve said before that emotionalism and sentimentalism are diametrically opposed to reason. Using them in trying to arrive at logical conclusions is futile. It is completely irrational to appeal, in the course of discussions, to sentiments instead of reason. It is this blunder of attributing so much to emotions and sentiments that many stupid arguments and ways of life seem justifiable. For once the emotions are stirred, the brain switches off or stops working partially.
I once heard a sermon in which the preacher was clearly trying to show how tenderhearted he was. The preacher spoke of a man who’s brother wanted to travel, so while he was away, he told his wife to stay with this man (for reasons I’m yet to understand). In the course of time, this man started sleeping with his brother’s wife and ended up impregnating her. He knew he couldn’t hide his folly any more, so he went secretly to our tenderhearted preacher man and told him all that he did. The man said, he doesn’t want to open up to the church and he’s leaving the church because they’d expose him to shame, rebuke him openly, and suspend him for a period. He said he couldn’t stand that so he said he was going to his tribal chiefs who were into diabolical practices to resolve the matter, for this would not expose him to shame. So our tenderhearted preacher told us that he was confused about what to do. He said he didn’t want the man to go to Hell. He said that rather than allowing the man go to his tribal chiefs and get involved in diabolic practices, he had to beg the man not to go, but return to the church and that he would not be openly rebuked, neither would he be suspended, he’d just continue with life as if nothing happened. Does anyone realise how very stupid this is? As if that were not enough, he tried to liken his actions to that of Jesus going after Peter to restore him. When I heard his nonsense sermon I laughed at such a glorious show of sentimental folly. Did not the Bible clearly command us saying, “Them that sin rebuke BEFORE ALL, that others also may fear.” (1 Timothy 5:20). Did Paul not in the fifth chapter of 1st Corinthians, with the leading of the Spirit, ask the Corinthian church to expell the man that acted with a wickedness as grievous as this asking them to hand him over to the very Satan? So what is so great to hand over such a man over to Satan whether it be through his going to his tribal chiefs or not. Discipline is an integral part of the church. But this man, on the basis of the emotions and sentiments he tried stirring in the hearts of his hearers, sought to justify his disobedience, refusing to rebuke such wickedness openly and suspending such a wicked fellow from the fellowship. Arrant nonsense.
Discipline by suspension is very scriptural. How it should be done and for what it should be done would be another days topic, but people wrestle against it, bringing up how it is incompatible with emotions and sentiments. Of course they won’t use these words, but they would cover it up with words such as love, compassion, etc. (misdefining them to mean sentiments and foolish emotions). One person when talking about suspension asked his hearers, “can love act that way?” Of course love corrects even by discipline. But sentimentalism which he’s secretly referring to can’t act that way because it is foolish. Many, with this weird style of argument, seek to convince people that the church ought not to suspend people at all. In other cases, people also on the basis of false compassion argue that the church should allow people to divorce and remarry on account of compassion. These and many others do they foolish put forward having nothing to appeal to but emotions. Very sad.
On a lighter mood, One day while commuting, a woman sat in the sit in front of me, as we drove along, she saw someone who just alighted from another vehicle having 500 Naira and was looking for a change of 100 Naira to pay his fare. Just for this, she became so emotional, you needed to see how emotional she became. She started breathing heavily almost sobbing just because she saw someone looking for change. She quickly pleaded with the driver to stop the vehicle, and calling the man over, she gave him the change he needed. The driver asked her, “I hope you have the change to pay me?” She responded, “don’t worry, let’s go.” When she got to her destination she brought out 500Naira to pay a fare of 100 Naira. We were shocked at this woman. The driver started fuming because he had no change for her and she kept us there a long while searching her bag in vain for change. She saw someone in need of change and must have thought to herself that she ought to help, but ended up being very unfair to her driver for whom she ought to have kept her change. She was also unfair to us for keeping us waiting while they went about looking for change. So emotions, when we allow it ride us, can make us be unfair, even wicked, in the very attempt of being kind.
It is on the basis of emotionalism and sentimentalism that the diabolical movement of feminism has gained so much ground. I tried to read the argument of feminists, and all they do is make a beeline for your emotions trying to switch off your brain. Once they succeed, they’d start pouring out all their silly arguments. They’d first of all tell you of how some men were brutal to their wives and use this as a basis of their arguments. Now feminism does not seem bad at surface level, but it presents gender equality to us which is completely alien to scriptures. There is no hint of gender equality both in the New and Old Testaments. Of course neither is there any hint that womankind should be intimidated or battered, or denying them what should be of benefit to them, but gender equality is purely antithetical to scriptures, and therefore clearly of the devil.
Even if these things should exist in the world created by God contrary to the standards of her creator, it is sad enough, but sadder is the fact that it is fast establishing itself in the church. People want women to act in every capacity a man can act. The Bible clearly forbids a woman to speak in the church, that is they shouldn’t even ask questions (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-12). But on the basis of emotionalism and sentimentalism of the spirit of feminism, they’re allowed to preach and teach and act in whatever capacity a man can. Views contrary to this as obedient to scriptures would be seen as injustice, unfairness, and prejudice against womankind. Take a wholistic view of the whole matter, look at its origin which is that women were being battered. Because of this battery, the foolish solution is to make her equal to a man. After that (with the brain switched off) a long chain of argument ensues. At the tail end of the nonsense process, women should be allowed to preach and speak in the church. So the summary is this, women were battered in their homes, for this reason, they should preach in the churches of Christ. But it is really on the basis of silly emotions and sentiments, because of stories (whether true or untrue) of men beating their wives, we no longer should keep the commandment of God that forbids a woman from speaking in church, not even to ask questions. Isn’t that silly?
I once told someone about this issue of women speaking in the church, and he turned on his emotional side on me and asked me, “how would you feel if you were the one that was denied from speaking in the church? Would you be happy?” I was amazed at such a question. So is it now a matter of feelings and not of obedience and doing that which is right to do? I think of two people chattering while the preacher is preaching and distracting everybody else, and an usher came to them and saying, “shhh, stop talking.” Then they turn to the usher and ask him, “how would you feel if you were the one that was denied from speaking while the preacher is preaching? Would you be happy? He’s talking, even loudly, why shouldn’t we talk?” I’m sure he’d be puzzled and dumbfounded. Same way I get so puzzled by the way people reason on these matters.
God demands many things from me and other men too, how do we feel? He says that we mustn’t lie even for advantage, how do I feel when I hear that? He said I shouldn’t steal even if I’m sure I won’t get caught. How do I feel about that? He asked me not to fornicate even when it hurts no one, how does that make me feel? Of course it is obvious that when God commands, what you feel is insignificant. We are not a law to ourselves but God is the giver of the commands we obey if we truly love Jesus. Does our feelings change his commands? Does not the heart that love him gladly obey it? Does such a heart seek to change his commands. Should not a Christian woman gladly obey this command? Should not a sensible man encourage them to do so? But we find sentimentalists pouring out vain arguments that makes the commandments of God, as good as they are, seem unfair or prejudicial to womankind.
But let us step out of the world of emotionalists and think in a rational way, would such people who have been so rebuked to keep quiet while the preacher is preaching not feel ashamed and keep quiet seeing that they were doing what ought not to be done or inappropriate for the time and place they found themselves? So also, should a woman not feel ashamed to speak in the church? Should they not on that account keep quiet? For indeed the Bible clearly states that it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). But all these are ignored by people who allow their emotions ride them about like mules.
In my part of the world, people engage themselves so much in festivities. whether they’re marriages, wedding anniversaries, etc. and even burials. These things are good but the work of the Lord requires urgency. The Bible clearly tells us that the times are evil. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16). This is especially true of our time above all other times because there’s so much to be done for God seeing the immense privileges technological advancement has brought us. Just look at the crowd we could reach through social media. Ought we not to spend our time preparing impactful messages that could change these crowd? Just visit Project Gutenberg website and see millions of useful books that are out there for free. Ought we not to withdraw ourselves from these mundane things to afford ourselves more time to study? Look at the increasing depravity of the societies all round the world. Ought we not suppose to withdraw ourselves to prayer faith and back up that faith with the good works of Christian activism (which of course has nothing to do with resisting authorities or being violent)? Look at the church and the poor state she is in. Ought we not by prayer and persistent good works seek for change and reformation that would bring revival to us? The list goes on.
These things we ought to do for God because this is what his will is for us at the present time. How shall we then, take of our time which belongs to God and spend it on things that are of little benefit to anyone, all in the name of showing love to celebrants and not wanting them to feel bad that you absented yourself from their occasion? It is not good for a Christian to spend his time in these things.
Even marriage was permitted on the basis of our weaknesses and not because of its expediency all because we need our time for the things of God. Paul advised that where possible it is better to be single. How much less important should we see festivities. In this case also, the sentiments of showing love to people by attending their occasions causes a lot of people to displease God, spending their time on things of little importance while there’s a raging fire calling for our attention. In warning about the end times, Jesus was particular about festivities when he said, “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26 – 27). Let us not displease God forsaking his work to please men by attending all their occasions.
Some justify their actions by saying that God said we should rejoice with those that rejoice, but you see, rejoicing with someone is quite different from going to their occasion to eat rice, dance, or show everyone how white your teeth is. Rejoicing with those that rejoice is all about inward happiness that people are doing well and have the cause to rejoice. This we ought to express in appropriate ways including sending congratulatory messages of well wishes via any convenient medium. We must therefore limit our festivities and unnecessary activities and devote our time to God.
The problem is that many people wilfully choose emotions and sentiments over scriptures because while emotions and sentiments are soft and tender, and able to accomodate and excuse all our innate avarice and fleshly lusts, the scriptures is hammer and fire (Jeremiah 23:29), unable to tolerate or excuse such. So they hypocritically lean towards emotions so as not to appear evil as they truly are.
Jesus was not an emotionalists nor was he a sentimentalist. You may see him being moved with compassion (Mark 6:32), you may see him weeping at Lazarus’ grave (John 11:35), you may see him having compassion on the widow whose only son was dead, (Luke 7:12-13), and many other cases in which he was moved with compassion, but they all led him to do God’s will and not to do otherwise. He had compassion, but it was given its rightful place as mere feelings and not as to allow it direct him even to do what is contrary to God’s will. God must be ultimate in all things.
An emotionalist of Jesus’ time, wanting to be his disciple, came to him with all that emotion and said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” (Matthew 8:21). An emotionalist would probably have asked the man whether or not he were so dumb to come ask him first of all before going to bury his own father with special emphasis on “HIS OWN.” Some may call him closer to interrogate him if he really knew who a father was. They could ask him, “do you know that your father was responsible for you being in this world? Do you know that he laboured sometimes beyond his capacity to be able to afford a good living for you? Do you know that your father was a shield around you while you grew up? Do you know he died for you? Em, sorry, I meant paid your school fees? Do you know? Do you know? Do you know? And are you first asking me before you’d go bury such a person?” Then with sobs of anguish at such disregard for emotions and sentiments, he’d shed a tear or two, one through his eye and the other through his nostril. And all that and all that. They may not go that far in ridiculousness but emotionalists make emphasis as senseless as what I portray here. But hear Jesus’ response lest you mistake him for an emotionalist, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22). Jesus was all about doing the will of God, and his compassion could never stand in the way. Jesus knew it was the father’s will that men follow him in every sense of the word “follow,” and the death of a man could not lead him to advise anything contrary to that. Jesus was a compassionate person, but never was he an emotionalist or sentimentalist. So let us be clear on that.
So are you compassionate? Let it move you to preach the Gospel to the dying world. Are you compassionate? Let it move you to give selflessly to the needy. Are you compassionate? Let it move you to fulfil the law of love especially to the household of faith. These are the ways Christian compassion ought to move us. It should move us inline with God’s will and not against it. Never should we disobey God’s command and seek to justify on the basis of sentiments and emotions. In all things, Jesus is our perfect example. Let us live like him.
Now, as our Lord asked us to remember Lot’s wife who allowed compassion for her daughters lead her to sin against God’s direct command. We would do well to bring to sober reflection the fact that though she was far better and justifiable compared to the silly emotionalists of our time, she got the judgment of God in all its severity. So also, every man, woman, boy, or girl, that on the basis of emotions or sentiments sin against God with the hope of justifying it on this account instead of repenting would get the judgment of God in all its severity. All these preachers who further compromise, all these women who mount pulpits to talk, pray, or preach, and do all the things God forbids them from doing, shall all get the judgment of God in all its severity. I therefore plead that we repent of this evil, push emotions and sentiments out of our faculty and allow only scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and reason to guide us.
May God help us all by his grace. Amen. Thank you for reading.
Prayer: Dear Jesus. Help us to be like you in every way. Help us not be emotional and sentimental in our reasoning but trust in your word and the Holy Spirit’s leading alone to guide in the way we should act. Help us not to allow the mundane and unimportant things of this world to distract us from the perfect will of the Father. Help us dear Lord. In Jesus’ name have I prayed. Amen.