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Emotionally Reluctant Person (Nicodemus in the Bible)

I’m a Thinker. That’s a good thing. Jesus was a Thinker!

But, unlike Jesus, I’ve gotten stuck in my head and needed help to learn how to engage my emotions.

I want to share with you about being a Thinker who feels. But if you’re a Feeler, like my wife Kristi, I’m writing to you too. Because you have Thinker’s in your life to understand better.

Thinkers and Feelers need each other. Usually, Feelers need help with their thinking and Thinkers need help with their feeling.

Nicodemus in the Bible is a Thinker. But he’s not an emotionally smart Thinker when we meet him. (The Apostle John tells Nicodemus’ story in John 3:1-21, 7:50-51, and 19:39-42.)

Nicodemus is a prominent religious leader secretly interested in Jesus. He’s highly educated and hard-working. He’s wealthy. He knows the Bible and the religious life better than anyone.

One day he visits Jesus in secret. He sneaks out at night because he doesn’t want to lose his job as a Pharisee or his high standing in the society.

But he’d never admit to being scared. That’s the last thing Thinker’s want to feel!

He declares to Jesus, “We know you’ve come from God because of your miracles.” He’s saying, I know… I know about you… I know what’s true… I know what’s best…

Do you hear the intellectualism and pride? He likes to think, study, learn, and know.

Nicodemus is what I call an “Emotionally Reluctant Person.”

The world of ideas is safe for him. His emotions and those of other people seem unimportant and messy, if not overwhelming. So he keeps a personal distance when he can. It’s not that he doesn’t love people — it’s that he tries to stay in control.

Jesus shows him empathy. He puts himself in Nicodemus’ sandals and understands his life. He feels deeply for him and uses his vast emotional intelligence to re-direct the conversation in order to help him.

Tenderly, Jesus shows him he doesn’t understand being “born from above.” He invites him to feel the wind… Trust God’s love… Step out of the dark and into the light… Put God’s word into practice. (The Master Teacher is engaging our thoughts and emotions.)

Nicodemus is totally thrown off balance, which is exactly what he needs. He realizes he’s been stuck on a “head trip” and empty of emotions.

Jesus draws him to attend to his personal experience, emotions, relationships, and prayers. Then to re-think his life.

Nicodemus stopped hiding in his intellectualism and religiosity. He felt his fears of losing power, of being criticized and ostracized, of looking stupid. He became vulnerable to enter the world of spirituality, emotion, desire, need, not knowing, being child-like. He took a huge risk to become a follower of Christ.

He made a soul friend on the religious council in Jospeh of Arimathea. It seems Nicodemus was emotionally vulnerable with Joseph and got him to open up too. They sought God together from their heart and followed Christ. They did new thinking.

This is crucial. It’s hard to grow in your thinking or feeling without a soul friend.

Then Nicodemus takes courage to stand up for Jesus when the other religious elders in Jerusalem wanted to kill him. Then after Jesus is crucified, Nicodemus and Joseph go boldly to Pilate to get Jesus’ body and give it a sacred burial. They needed to grieve, to cry, to feel, to pray, to love their Lord.

Nicodemus was “born from above.” He was no longer an Emotionally Reluctant Person. He became a Thinker-Feeler following Christ.


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“Bill and Kristi, I have experienced healing through your
soulful devotionals and feel a kindred spirit with you.”

Joani Jenkins ~ Pastoral Counselor ~ South Africa


Listen to: Hurricanes & Hearts of Empathy
(The newest podcast of “Soul Talks With Bill & Kristi Gaultiere”)

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