emotions

emotions- we all have them

some of us like to hide them, others of us love to bare all…. but what is the biblical way to deal with emotions?

with all the stress of finishing up this semester (my last!) while trying to figure out something to do with the next year of my life and dealing with postponing seminary, my emotions have been swirling

a few weeks ago at small group my friend brought up the topic of emotions. she had been brought up as a conservative christian and learned that some emotions are ‘bad’ emotions, and in turn she decided she needed to hide and suppress these emotions because they aren’t ‘christian’

her story disturbed me because she had perceived that being christian meant hiding part of who she was… and something about that seems unbiblical to me. i mean, God knows your heart and your true emotions anyways, so what is the point of hiding the ‘bad’ ones

i heard this quote this semester: ’emotions come uninvited’

so what is the role of emotions in the life of a christian? they show up uninvited and even sometimes make us embarrassed. we may fight with them, try to hide them, or just let them all out… when are they sinful? when are they healthy? and when is it healthy to bare sinful emotions? should we feel guilty about our emotions? should we try to change them?

i’d be great if you all commented on this one… even if you don’t have any big eloquent ideas

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2 thoughts on “emotions

  1. Maria,
    I like this blog. I’m going to take some time to think about this one, and have a pastor friend of mine (who is also going through the same marital therapy program I’m going through) take a look at it and get his ideas. I’ll be commenting soon with thoughts!!

    Stacia

  2. Hey Maria,

    So I had a great discussion with my friend about this blog. He had some great ideas, which I agreed with. There are so many thoughts reeling through my head, so I’m going to try and not be confusing!

    Emotions do come uninvited; most times, we can’t help them. Expressing them is usually a healthy thing to do, because others can help us cope with and process them. It’s helpful to check our perceptions with others, test the validity of what we’re feeling.

    Emotions become sinful when our intent in expressing them is sinful. It’s okay to be angry, and to say, “I get angry when you do this”, or “I see that and I feel lustful.” Often times emotions occur on two levels: one, the emotion we express (say, anger). Two, the emotion we feel (hurt or disappointed). It becomes sinful when we are not honest about what we are feeling with those we love, and with God. Not being honest assumes that God can’t handle our emotion, when in fact, he created us with these emotions.

    My friend brought up David in Psalms, and how he felt/expressed a wide range of emotions, including anger at God. (I’ve read a few of the Psalms, but I’m not well versed so I’m only going on our discussion and what my friend said.) His point was that David trusted God with his emotions, which ultimately, God wants us to trust in Him. Sometimes expressing our emotions (even if perceived as sinful) leads to a path of healing, or a new way of thinking. When I say this I’m thinking about the anger that is often expressed in grief. It’s like, you have to get it out, trust God enough to handle what you deal, and he will lead you through it. Is it sinful to curse God? Yes. But we are offered forgiveness. And He will forgive us. And He hopes that we will learn through that experience. Now, someone is going to read this and take that statement further, and say “So it’s okay to sin in our emotion because “God will forgive us.”” That goes back to our intent in expressing our emotion. The person who curses God in their grief is dealing not just with anger, but with hurt, confusion, loss, maybe lack of understanding, not knowing how to cope. And God knows that.

    I don’t believe that their are “un-Christian” emotions I don’t think. I believe that their are “un-Christian” ways of handling emotions. “In your anger do not sin”. God doesn’t tell us not to be angry, but not to let our anger overtake us, control our actions. I think on the flip side of this is what your friend was doing, suppressing emotions to the point that they have the opportunity to create further negative emotions (such as resentfulness or judgement of others).

    Emotions are what drives us. We are emotional beings, as much as we try to be “rational” and not let emotion determine our actions, we need emotion. There has been research done on traumatic brain injury patients, whose brains were damaged in the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that experiences and processes emotions). They couldn’t make decisions. They couldn’t decide whether they should take that job, or wear that shirt, or look at pictures of their families and call up the emotions they experienced at that birthday party (some examples). Emotions are tied to our experiences in life, and no matter how hard we try, we make decisions based on the ones we want to avoid or the ones we want to experience. That’s the role of emotion in our lives.

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