By Caleb Keith –
We have all done it. Impulsively given in to our emotions and snapped over something laughably insignificant. Yet in the heat of the moment, little things can take over our world and remove all patience and stability from our minds. I’ve blown up over things as dumb as the back door left ajar, and I’ve been overly stressed out over finding my stupid belt in the morning. I could justify these moments of emotional weakness, asserting that the door really ought to be closed all the way and that nobody should be moving my belt. However, there was nothing right or good about the way I acted in my moments of impulse to deserve any defense, not even a half-assed one.
Overreacting is part of life, but until recently I don’t know if society, in general, has ever seen that as a positive thing. Enter the internet, blogs, and social media and overreacting is simply a tool to get your voice seen and heard across the world. Emotional blow ups get labeled as “passion” for the things and people for which we care. There is a thin line between passion and blow up, between working hard and being overwhelmed, between being upset and acting miserable. One is intentional and in control, the other is impulsive and has no direction.
It’s sad but true; overreacting has become the greatest social good. It was only a matter of time. After all, we live in an age where fact takes a back seat to emotion. Where theology, history, science, philosophy, mathematics, language, etc.… doesn’t matter unless it is in congruence with how one feels. The internet and digital media amplifies our emotional exaggeration. These changes have immediate implications at places like Yale and Mizzou, and it is bound to have lasting implications for education, politics, and most importantly in faith and theology.
In the midst of this social shift, Christianity stands in a unique position. People do not often overact because they are happy, and everything around them is safe and sound. Rather, overreaction is rooted in the uncertain tides of anger, frustration, sadness, brokenness and loss. The consequences of sin cannot be escaped in any age or generation. However, there is one sure hope and comfort for the brokenness of this world and our age. Jesus Christ is that sure hope; our salvation from sin, death, and the world. In the power of his death and resurrection, humanity is set free from our burden to be emotionally justified or stable. Christ takes us in our full brokenness, in our emotional rage, depression, and impulse, and he gives us eternal life. Thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus saved us from our own overreactions!