Emotional Ignorance

Emotional Intelligence has received an abundance of attention over the last few decades within leadership circles. It has been sold as a bill of goods that can make you more effective, increase productivity, and help you be more satisfied at work. Sounds good. When we think of emotional intelligence as followers of Jesus, it is important to remember that the gospel frees us to admit our faults and invites us to grow in grace. An aspect of the gospel is it's effect on emotional intelligence. So here's some helpful ways to think about EI:

Emotional Ignorance

Emotional Ignorance looks like experiencing something you don't like or that hurt you and promising to never let it happen again. This is not bad but it leads to the next phase where the ignorance takes root. You vow or promise to yourself that you will not behave in the same way without acknowledging your own inability to do so. This is how you begin to blind yourself. For example, you see someone boast about their work performance. You hate it. You have contempt for that person. You determine to never be that person. BUT, you don't acknowledge that you have your own struggles with pride and boasting in other ways. 

So then you develop an internal set of values which on its face seems good but is contrary to who you are. For example, let's say you are a gifted salesperson. Salespeople can tend to view the truth like a cake, you can shape it and craft it in different ways. It's malleable. So if you have an internal value of honesty but your natural gifting is sales, then you will invariable have self-contempt and you have started down the road to ignorance (blindness). You will eventually do one of two things: 1. You will expect other people with the same gifting to hate themselves like you hate themselves (and if you're a Christian you'll mask it with the phrase 'killing sin'). or 2. You will attack in others what you hate in yourself. You will do so violently and with reckless abandon and with the same distaste, displeasure, and disdain for the gifting that God has given you. This is at it's core hypocrisy. The sin that Jesus loved to highlight and destroy. This is why emotional intelligence matters. 

Emotional Intelligence

On the other hand you can be emotionally intelligent. You can acknowledge that you had a bad experience and suffered pain. You can recognize that this has shaped you without becoming a reaction to the pain. We are all formed by are pain and woundedness but it is the narrative we develop that shapes our emotional intelligence. You are able to admit and own up to the reality that your own value system is both a nurtured and natural wiring that is invariable affected by sin. Then you work to live out of God's calling for you so that you are consistent and not a walking contradiction. This enables you to give grace upon grace to those who you recognize have the same proclivities and woundedness as you rather than attacking them.

Emotional Intelligence looks like living authentically with your past which informs your present efforts to live out your future calling. You are aware of what has transpired and are able to admit it and walk with humility for how it might affect your calling in the future.