II. A MODERATE EMOTION
We often say that someone has an abundance of emotions, but someone else does not have much emotion and therefore is cold, like a man of wood or stone. Brothers and sisters, we need to see that to be over-abundant in emotions is wrong, and to be too cold in emotions is also wrong. Both are immoderate. A proper person is one who is moderate in pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy. Whether he is happy or sad, there is a fixed degree. He laughs, but only to a certain extent. He weeps and is sorrowful only to a certain extent. His emotion is moderate and balanced.
Thirty years ago in a certain meeting in northern China I saw some conditions of immoderate emotions. When the brothers and sisters prayed the degree of excitement of some was beyond description. They shouted, clapped their hands, laughed, and trembled. They actually laughed to the point of going crazy. It is hard to find a word in the dictionary to describe that situation. I also saw one weeping in a way that was simply unimaginable. Even someone whose father or mother had died would not have cried with that kind of a voice. He wept with such great sorrow that it caused others to have a chilling sensation. These were displays of improper, excessive emotions. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul tells us that we ought to be beside ourselves before God and be of a sober mind before man (v. 13). This is to regulate and temper our emotion.
Without a moderate emotion you cannot pray properly. It is not right to have immoderate emotion, nor is it right to be lacking in emotion. Some brothers and sisters who pray in the meetings are just like robots. They pray without any expression whatsoever and sound exactly like a typewriter. While the conditions which we described earlier show an excessive emotion, a condition such as this reveals a shortage of emotions. Both of these are conditions of an immoderate emotion.
Never consider this a small matter. In Bethany, when the Lord Jesus saw the condition of Mary and of the Jews and thought of the death of Lazarus, He wept. This, the shortest verse in the Bible, shows us that the Lord had emotions. However, in His weeping the Lord did not wail so as to cause those around Him to have a chilling sensation in their bones. The Scripture simply says this word: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). By reading the record you can tell that He was One with a very moderate emotion. On another occasion, when He cleansed the temple, He made a scourge of cords and cast out all the sheep and the oxen, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers. We can say that He was thunderingly angry that day. But you cannot find any trace in the Bible indicating that on that day the Lord Jesus had made a great mess in the temple by breaking everything in it. With some brothers, if they do not lose their temper, all is well; but once they become angry, they create a big mess by breaking everything—the windows, teapot, etc. Oh, how moderate was the emotion of our Lord Jesus! If you and I wish to be normal Christians, our emotions need to be moderate. Whether we are happy or sad, it must only be to a certain degree.
III. A SOUND EMOTION
Man’s emotion should not only be moderate, but also sound. Moderation is a matter concerning degree, while soundness is a matter concerning nature. You all know what we mean by soundness. With some brothers and sisters, when they laugh, it is a wicked laugh, and when they are sorrowful, it is a crooked sorrow. Their feelings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy are not sound. Likewise, if a man can only laugh, but cannot weep, and never gets angry, he is most likely a false Christian. The Bible says, “Be angry, and do not sin” (Eph. 4:26). If one sins in his anger, his anger is unsound and evil. Some weep and laugh with propriety, but others cry and laugh in an unsound, unseemly manner. All these unsound emotions are obstacles to our prayers. Hence, if we wish to be a normal praying one, we need an emotion which is both moderate and sound.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)