This is the third in my series of posts about forgiveness, begun here and continued here. The second post, dealing with complexity, began the exploration of the idea of "emotional monotheism." I didn't use those particular words, but any hint of allowing another person to possess complex character traits moves toward this idea.
Robert Karen describes emotional monotheism as a state in which "[a]ll things, good and bad, are possible...it is a fragile state that is easily lost..." (73). Karen goes on to say that those who have reached emotional monotheism live in a "country of love...in this country all feelings are allowed, even hateful feelings...we don't have to leave this country because of the things we feel" (74).
It is in this state that are able to allow others to be complex. We realize that someone can love us and hate us at the very same time because we are loveable, but we sometimes do unlovable things. The very fact that we "live in a country of love" is what allows us to recognize our hate and anger, deal with it effectively, and move on. Love doesn't take away the other feelings, it gives us a lens through which we can rightly view those feelings.
If any group of people should live in a country of love, it should be the church, but I think that Christians have a blurry view of that country's landscape. They want that country to be perfect, for everyone to look pretty and be good. The problem is that people don't always look pretty and they are not always good. We need to take up residence in a country of love that allows for honest confession of who we are. And we must remember that who we are and who our friends are and who our families are might be ugly and hard to deal with, but love will help us through it.
Hmmm...how's that for a sermon?