Those Darn Emotions
“Stop that!” I yelled. “Arghhhh!” I uttered. “But that’s not fair!” I cried. Are emotions running amuck at your house, too? What are God’s views on emotions? How can we tame emotions? Are we sinning if we get angry?
Throughout Scriptures we see God displaying emotions: He gets angry; He has compassion; He loves; Jesus wept; etc. Therefore, emotions are not sinful. We are created in God’s image. Emotions are part of the human package.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female.” Genesis 1:27
The key to managing our emotions is in Ephesians 4:26. “Be angry, and yet do not sin.” Emotions just are. They are reactions to our environment and to others. They allow us to process circumstances on a deep level, and they warn us when there is danger from others (anger) or in our own thought life (depression). We run into danger when we act upon our emotions without thinking. The anger is not the problem, how we handle our anger can be.
We all have a capacity for emotions–our emotional bucket. Some have a thimble sized emotional bucket; others have a mop bucket sized bucket. If we allow the emotions of the past to fill up this bucket because we have not resolved them, then something relatively minor might happen and all of the sudden our bucket tips over, and we are like an angry volcano spewing forth all the pent up anger and hurt. We need to keep our bucket on empty so that we have reserve emotional space when there is a new hurt.
How do you empty your bucket? I had to go back to things that happened a long time ago because I had repressed those memories and feelings. Just by talking them through, choosing to give them to Jesus, letting Him be the Lord of my past, and forgiving those who had hurt me, my bucket got empty. Oh, the joy that swept in and filled me up! Now I keep my bucket close to empty by talking things out as they happen.
We must allow God to be Lord over our emotions, or Satan will play us for a fool again and again. The truth of God’s Word must trump our emotions. We must act on His truths and let our emotions catch up rather than acting on the emotions.
Sometimes this is just doing the next thing next in spite of how we are feeling. At other times it is choosing a spirit of praise when we would rather grump. This is not ignoring your emotions, it is putting God’s truth into action so that you can deal with your emotions rationally.
Take time to rationally ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Do you feel unappreciated? Unloved? Insignificant? Then use your anger or depression as a positive motivator to be used in giving feedback about how life can be lived more productively. In other words, communicate why you are angry and help to come up with a plan to solve the problem that led to the anger. Then forgive. Unforgiveness is bitter poison that only hurts the one that is unwilling to let it go. God commands us to forgive others because of the great debt that He took upon Himself at the cross to forgive our sins.
If emotions are getting you down and keeping your day chaotic, let them out in a healthy way ( go into the woods and scream if you have to) then think about what caused you to react so severely, communicate with yourself or others, forgive and move on to enjoy the day!
Jesus wept, then He got up and raised Lazarus from the dead!