"If we claim to have fellowship with him [God] yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."1
For a number of years Ken was a capable professional man, a dedicated church worker, and a leader in his community. Outwardly he functioned very well. However, people had difficulty getting close to Ken because he seemed aloof. His family relationships were not good and he had ulcers. Vaguely sensing an inner emptiness, Ken joined a recovery group where he discovered that he was repressing many of his emotions.
Ken is still in the process of rediscovering his repressed self. Fortunately, however, since learning to recognize and express many of his true feelings (many of which were repressed and denied) in healthy ways, his ulcers have cleared up, and his family relationships have improved dramatically.
Unfortunately, many people are taught to ignore their negative emotions. As John T. Raffa wrote in Psychology for Living magazine: "They believe you should hide such feelings—deny, deny, deny—and become nothing but a robot instead of what God made us, beings with feelings."
Obviously, the early Christians didn't act this way otherwise they never would have been known for their love one for another. Peter, James, John and Paul all emphasized the need to be honest, to be open-faced, to walk in the light, to openly confess sins and faults, and to love one another. Repressed people are closed people and are unable to fully love and fully live. Neither can they have any kind of emotional intimacy in marriage and close relationships.
Only as we walk in the light, that is, in honesty and openness, are we able to have true fellowship and connection with both God and others. Furthermore, only then are we able to be open channels through which God's love can flow to others, and in so doing will we be able to fully live and fully love.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please reveal to me any and every barrier in my life that blocks my feeling close to you and to others so that I can know true intimacy with you and the ones I love the most—and be a vibrant channel through which your love to others can flow. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 John 1:7 (NIV).