Stoicism was derived from Hellenistic philosophy sometime in the 3rd Century BC, and its thought processes reached popularity all the way to the time of the Roman empire. It was a school of thought that believed an explosion of emotions was connected to errors in morals and ethics. The only way to avoid lashing out was to become a sage, for a sage would understand that the highest good was rooted in knowledge. The sage was considered a person who had a nearly perfect level of moral and intellectual understanding, and as a result, the sage would not suffer from pain, fear, anger, or any other tumultuous emotions. Today, the idea of a stoic has deviated somewhat from the original context, yet the main idea remains strikingly similar. We now view stoics as people who are indifferent to pain, hardship, anxiety, and self-pity. They are a class of men and women who suffer in silence and utter no complaints. The idea of a stoic seems heroic, but in the end, all those emotions have to go somewhere.
This is an excellent example of pagan philosophy and the pursuit of knowledge outside of Biblical wisdom. God created us in his own image, and He did not make fleshy robots operating on autopilot. Even after the Fall of Man, God provided us a means of wholeness through Jesus’ shedding His perfect blood. The Greeks didn’t take too much to the idea of righteousness through faith and grace by God. Instead, they believed that earthly reasoning and logic would allow them to ascend higher than any agony or personal tragedy. As Christians, we are fully aware that any “school of thought” is nothing more than pagan philosophy wrapped in a curious coating of intellectualism. Whatever one calls it, Stoicism is just another occult counterfeit designed by Satan to bathe people in darkness.
All too many Christians adopt a lifestyle of stoicism without even realizing it. Some of us have pulled a fast one and reversed the proclamation of Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (NIV). In opposition to the Holy Scriptures, we have become what Jesus described in Matthew 24:12, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (NIV). There is a swath of the church who has become numb from the devil dropping the hammer on them so many times. They grow cold and look for ways to bury the pain rather than work it out with God. They look like stoics on the outside, the tough Christians who can bear the burden on the outside by continuing to plod forward and fight through everything that hinders them. On the other hand, if one looks on the inside, every piece of agony they have ever come across is piling up in their souls like a neglected town dump. There is a continuous accruement of inner torment and before long, there is a shaking on the inside. Stoics no more, what seemed to be the warriors in the body of Christ are exploding in rage and hysteria seemingly out of nowhere. No one ever just snaps “out of nowhere.” A rubber band has to be stretched beyond its limits before it snaps, and the same applies to Christians who think they have it under control. They don’t care anymore that Jesus died so the burdens could be put at the foot of the cross. There is a rejection of working with the Holy Spirit to get rid of all the brokenness. So there they are left, turned inside out, and all of a sudden, the wasteland inside is displayed for everyone to see.
The Christians who find themselves in this disposition find their way home to the throne room of God in the same way they met Him in the first place: the blood of Jesus through the grace of God. You may do well for a while in suppressing any type of emotion, but the man who is numb to emotion becomes numb to the Holy Spirit and the still voice of God. We take the brokenness to God in prayer and when we want to fire at will with every type of emotion, we must find rest in the Holy Spirit and God’s promises. James 1:19-20 tells us, “ So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (NKJV). We obey this command by immediately quieting ourselves before the Lord to hear the quiet word He has for us. That may be the single most challenging thing a Christian must face, but God has provided us a rest and we must find our way there by tuning in to the Holy Spirit. The other options are as follows: lashing out in your mind, freaking out at little annoyances because your bubble’s about to burst, or trying to “rationally manage your anger.” No thanks. A raging bull doesn’t listen to logic and reason. Instead of either walking in numbness or constant hysterics, we must walk with the Holy Spirit to wholeness. Once again, it’s the annoying adage we hear all the time, “it’s a process” but the more you work with the Holy Spirit, the more the scales will fall from your eyes, ears, and most importantly, your soul.
Just remember, this author writes where he has failed the most and when the answer has seemed most foreign to him.
Kevin Cochrane is an eighteen year old writer and blogger with the distinct purpose of radically restoring everyone with ears to hear to the original testimony of Jesus Christ. His mission is to live by the words he writes and develop his character along with the prose he pens. For updates on his latest blog posts, you can follow him on Twitter @RunFree_KC or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to receive notifications by email.