Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can These Emotions Be Okay?

Hey Friend,

I must start this post by asking for your grace and mercy.  For the past week - ten days, Zoe, my senior pup, has been very ill.  I've been up with her most nights.  I've also had some health problems of my own and am quite concerned and worried about the situation in Pakistan.  My brain has been scattered and I imagine my words will be too, but if you can bear with me, maybe together we can gain some insight on this topic.

I know it was not coincidence that the night before I was to write about the topic of emotions, I had a knock-down-drag-out argument with my adult daughter.  I won't bore you with the gory details, but unfortunately I unleashed unresolved anger and resentment toward my ex-husband upon my daughter.  In her words and actions toward me, she was being (in my mind) just like him...thoughtless, disrespectful, unappreciative, callous and rude.  The venomous tongue lashing I unleashed was totally over the top and uncalled for. 

We'll talk more about this, but anger in and of itself is not "bad".  It is a valid emotion, but when left unchecked and unresolved, it can leave destruction in its path. It's what we do with the anger that matters.  I know I blew it!!

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.  (Proverbs 29:11)

As believers we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but we are also filled, to a degree, with our own sinful spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Sadly, I was the fool who gave rise to my own sinful spirit (a fool gives rise to his spirit). I did not run my wrath through the filter of scripture and discern what is good and acceptable in God's sight.  What I let fly was foul, selfish, fool- fruit instead of the fragrant fruit of the Holy Spirit...BIG difference. I have since apologized and asked for forgiveness...

Before, however, we go condemning all emotions as bad or destructive...let's give this some thought.  I have always been an "emotional" person.  That's not to say I have more emotions than any one else, I just tend to let my emotions show more. Early on it was engrained in me to not "wear my emotions on my sleeve."  I was raised in a family of stoics.  Later on in life I was directed to books that talked about "managing" or "controlling" your emotions like they were in essence not okay, but bad. 

When God created each of us, He created us in His own image.  He breathed His very Spirit into us.

I believe that if we are made in God's image, then God must have emotions too.  One day I will know fully...

I believe that our emotions were originally intended to help us enjoy, serve, and relate to God.  They give us insights about the Nature of God.  They reveal our character and the nature of our relationship with God as we struggle to live in a broken world.  Example:  Sadness and anger are appropriate emotions to feel as we live in a world full of man's inhumanity to man.  I believe that God weeps when genocide is repeated decade after decade, generation after generation.

God created perfect man with perfect and valid's when they got mixed with sin (that man brought upon himself) that they gained the potential of turning ugly through our actions. 

Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Jesus - fully God and fully man - was sad and joyous and angry.   In Matthew, Jesus experienced righteous anger when He overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple.  He shared in joy at the wedding feast when, with His first miracle, He turned water into wine.  In the Garden of Gethsemane (before His arrest), Jesus didn't just shed a few tears.  No, with loud cries of prayer and supplication He shed tears of fear, sadness, and anguish at His Father's feet.  Facing an excruciating death on the cross, I can only imagine the emotions He must have been feeling??!!

Look up how many times Jesus wept...He let his feelings be known...

John 11:35:  Jesus wept.
Luke 19:41:  And when he (Jesus) drew near and saw the city, he wept over it.

Jesus claimed that if you have seen Him, then you have seen the Father.  Looking at Jesus and the depth of emotion that He poured out over the people He loved...the pious and the prostitutes, I believe we get a glimpse into the very soul of God.

Back to my anger issue...Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry and do not sin; don't let the sun go down on your anger.

To me, that says, go ahead and feel angry AND do not sin.  This tells me, I can be angry and still NOT sin at the same time.  Some of my anger may have been justified, but my response, my actions certainly were not.

So what's a person to do?

I like this quote by Reneau Peurifoy: "Yielding to the Holy Spirit transforms your inner being into what God intended it to be.  As this occurs, your emotions, desires and thoughts are transformed so they function more closely to what God intends."

Lord, thank you for creating me in Your image.  Enable me to let go of my sinful spirit and yield to Your Holy Spirit so that my emotions, desires, and thoughts are transformed by Your love to be what you intended. Help me to accept my God-given emotions AND to not sin at the same time.  Thank you for your grace and forgiveness when I slip up.  In Jesus' name.  Amen 

Be blessed...

ps. Update on Redeemer Christian School:  Reports out of Pakistan say that after the two tandem suicide bombing attacks on churches by Taliban forces, an angry mob of hostile Christians attacked and killed two supposed accomplices to the bombers.  (This is what happens when sin is attached to emotion).  Now Christians (many of whom were not affiliated with the attack in any way) are being rounded up, arrested and sentenced to long jail terms or worse.  Tensions are VERY high right now.  Please pray: for the safety of RCS staff and their families as well as the children.  May God provide a hedge of protection around them and protect the innocent!!  Now, more than ever, we could use your prayers and financial support.  Thank you.