23. What Role Do Emotions Play?

To write well you must feel pain deeply, or so I’ve heard. What a relief! Finally somebody is telling me that emotions are good and useful! Seems everywhere I turn emotions are a either portrayed as a terrible thing that must be purged, or a cheap, fake means to an end.

So if these messages are false, what’s the truth? A few weeks ago my pastor spoke on brokenness and how the best way to deal with it is to give it to Jesus. But just because you give it to Jesus doesn’t make it magically poof disappear. Sometimes the healing is instant. More often, it’s ongoing. And the emotions are not the main problem in those broken places.

So how can these strong feelings be transformed? Commanding emotion is absolutely possible. Just like pasting a smile on your face lifts your mood, so does acting as though you love your coworker who gets on your nerves actually produce genuine love for them. On many occasions the Bible tells us to command emotions in this exact way.

Interesting thing is, never once does the Bible tell us to ignore emotions. Maybe the reason for that is that they are a vitally important part of what it means to be human. Being human is not thing to take lightly: We’re made in God’s image after all.  and that’s a far more amazing feat than acting as though you never feel them.

If the emotions we feel don’t matter then it tells us that, deep down,  that we don’t matter. People do matter.

On one hand, emotions draw us closer to God’s heart when they show us how far we’ve fallen. On another hand, we are held responsible for them.

The responsibility comes in when actions are adversely dictated by emotions. Basically, emotion is meant to be felt, but not necessarily acted upon. A damaging explode of fury is the perfect example of this.

So let the feelings run deep. It’s an essential part of life as a human being. At the same time though, freedom must be guarded with a careful mind, so that those emotions don’t hyjack decision-making.

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