Thursday, April 2, 2009


Inspired by our conversation last week, I quickly toured through the Bible finding 20-25 powerful emotions of the Triune God, for example: anger, compassion, jealousy, joy and sorrow.

Being made in the image of God, we can expect to experience a full range of emotions. Yes, the darkness of sin clouds our emotional wholeness, but God never suggests that emotions are evil or something to be discounted! Listen to what King David says about attempting to deny emotions,

"… Blessed is the man … in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped …. Then I acknowledged my sin to you… - and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.” [Ps. 32:1-6]

The affects of suppressing emotions seeped out of David’s pores through agonizing physical symptoms. God’s response to David’s deception was pressure, like mighty waters driving David even further from Him. David found instead that it is honesty with God which results in intimacy, freedom and healing.

No matter how toxic, Jesus never commands us to muster-up control over any sin-infested area of our lives, including our emotions. In fact, we aren’t capable! Strong expression of emotions can be found throughout Scripture. Even Jesus didn’t suppress His feelings.

“In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death….” [Hebrews 5:7]

With Jesus as our example,
how do we express emotions as God originally intended?

Allow me to offer a personal experience. Although aware of sin in my life, I never considered myself to be a “bad person.” One day, though, the reality struck! I realized that everything about me, including my emotions, is infected with self-righteous, self-sufficient, power-stricken sin! I was born that way and can’t change myself, no matter how hard I try!

So…what did I do?

Initially, I didn’t do anything! Just as the Holy Spirit took the first step by bringing me to this awareness, He also took the next step toward setting me free from this trap of hopelessness. He assured me that my only confidence is for Jesus to live in and through me; His righteousness, His sufficiency, His power and His emotions! There is no other hope!

It was essential that I purposely consider all my emotions, especially those inappropriately expressed and seek Jesus’ guidance to press through them. As important indicators, they often reveal deeper issues of hurt, fear, unforgiveness, shame, etc. which need Jesus’ healing and grace. Having acknowledged that I can do nothing without Jesus, I was ready to honestly present all my emotions to Him, while recognizing them as powerful tools in His hands.

Rather than being driven away from God by the mighty waters, offer up your emotions with loud cries and tears to the One who can save you. “Through lament we push into (not around) the cloud. Only then do we completely reach the other side, the place where we find Jesus waiting”1 with freedom and healing in His hands.


1 Card, Sacred Sorrow pg 86

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