“This painting is showing that evil and good combine and can start to make a war like a bush fire; if you have a change of wind you can lose control.”
— The Artist Known to me as “SHOK”
When darkness abides
And sentimentality hides
Life as it is is unfair.
But then without thought
Kindness is wrought
We overcome darkness by Care.
ART has a way of unpredictability about it, like a bush fire, that emerges from within the fissures of the work. What is astounding to one – a work of art – is limp and lifeless to another, but abstract truth is a masterpiece of revelation; to the one it’s revealed to.
The image of the piece above is named War of Emotions. It was painted by three people – one adult, one teen, and one child. It depicts what many of us know to be true about life. Life is very often a war of the emotions, where spot fires of turmoil subsist within isolated areas of our personhood in the otherwise tranquil ground of a good life. But there is also the opposite reality; where a raging inferno besets our suffering souls.
This war of the emotions is a battle between good and evil; the Spirit and our flesh. But emotions such as anger, frustration, and disappointment are not necessarily ‘evil’, because they may be appropriate responses to our life circumstances, especially in a fallen world, living our broken lives. And it doesn’t mean that the emotions of elation and triumph are always ‘good’. So many things revolve around our motives and the circumstances.
So, of a sense, there is the reality that good and evil do combine in our mortal bodies, in producing the effect of our perceived realities. It takes a resilient person who is trying to live virtuously to also bear patiently the evil within them.
This is the importance of the Christian’s theology: he or she is broken within a fallen world context. Grace has saved them from the eternal consequences of their sin, but they still bear the marks of that sinful nature daily. But rather than feel the despairing burden of the guilt and shame of the sinful nature, they exalt the Father all the more through their faith in Jesus of Nazareth – and for what he has done!
Within humanity, and within each of us, is a war of emotions that are products of the tussle between the Spirit and the flesh.
It is normal to feel all at sea in our emotions occasionally. There the battle rages below our conscious awareness, and the best we do is accept the emotional chaos. It ought not be judged or condemned. We are strengthened in our weakness, by the Spirit, when we are honest and courageous.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.