Rev. Klockers: Has Christ called us to become more intelligent?
Rev. Walter Klockers
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Our society recognizes and greatly rewards those who possess a high degree of intelligence.
Likely, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about intelligence is academic performance.
This would include the disciplines of natural and applied sciences (such as mathematics, physics, medicine, chemistry, engineering, and biology), humanities (which include philosophy, literature, and music) and business (like economics, and finances).
A mistake would be to stop listing categories after the above.
There are other kinds of intelligence; they are simply not as prominent.
One of these less-recognized gifts comes in the form of something called emotional intelligence.
The concept of emotional intelligence is not universally accepted; however, I feel it has merit.
What is emotional intelligence? One definition is a thoughtful process that skillfully uses emotional information in decision-making.
This could play itself out as an intentional practice of level-headed, non-emotive responses to events – habitually thinking things through instead of exhibiting emotionally-fueled, knee-jerk reactions.
All around us, our society teaches us just the opposite. The pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Things have gotten worse. It seems people have become more emotional and reactive.
One thing I have observed in the past two years of the pandemic is the increased frequency of something called “cut off.” What this means is that you sever relationships.
Perhaps you’ve reasoned that you simply have had enough and don’t wish to ever see that person/those people again. Some of these decisions may be based upon judgments and perceptions, and far less of an open-minded, honest examination of facts.
Another possibility is that you’ve experienced increasing pressures that have caused growing frustrations. You used to have a higher tolerance to such things that irritated you. Now, even the smallest of things can become unbearable, and lead to cut off.
The question I have is, would these decisions have been made if there was no pandemic? I would venture to guess that many would not have been acted upon.
I’ve had to catch myself a few times over the past two years. Some people have angered me. It would have been all too easy to cut them off from my life.
However, what I have learned during my time on this earth, is that cutting people off should only be a rare event, used in extreme circumstances. It should not become habit or a first line of defense.
I have chosen to take steps to become more emotionally intelligent. It isn’t perfect, but it is present. Always the student and never the master.
Jesus urges us to be loving and forgiving people. This may take time for us, but the opportunity is always there. It’s a process of practicing.
Concerning cutting people off, you might want to calmly challenge yourself to rethink things, reflect and pray, and then resolve and act upon healing wounds.
It is one thing to say the words, but actions speak far louder. And we grow in emotional intelligence as a result.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Moses Lake and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.