Can We Trust Our Emotions?

Sage advice here from Dr. Gary Chapman.  I believe emotions are a perceptual faculty that give us glimpses of reality that we probably don’t perceive in other ways.

Why do we consider our emotions as an enemy?  One reason is that we know our feelings change.  The lift us up and they let us down.  Our highs don’t last, and our lows are painful.  We conclude, therefore, that emotions are unreliable.  Perhaps the chief reason is that negative emotions don’t seem to fit with our idea of being a “good Christian.”

Anger, fear, disappointment, loneliness, frustration, depression, and sorrow don’t fit the stereotype of successful Christian living.  The fact is negative and positive emotions are morally neutral.  It is what we do in response to our emotions that leads to good or bad.  Negative emotions call for positive action.  Positive emotions call us to celebrate.  Take time to listen to your emotions.

Have you ever done a Bible study on emotions?  When I wrote The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted Bible Study, I felt it important to include a chapter on “Becoming Friends with My Feelings” because I think many Christians have a distorted view of emotions.  Many people are surprised to discover that Jesus felt depression.  Read it for yourself in Matthew 26:36-46.

We have wrongly concluded that negative emotions are from Satan.  The Scriptures teach that emotions are a gift from God.

They motivate us to take constructive action.  Anger motivated Jesus to clear the temple of robbers and thieves.  Emotions call us to engage the mind and to make wise decisions on what needs to be done.  When we make wise decisions, emotions have served their purpose.

Would it surprise you if I told you that Jesus experienced fear?  Fear is an emotion that pushes us away from a person, place, or thing.  In Matthew 26, Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.”  He saw what was ahead and his emotions pleaded for a different way.  Jesus did what we should do with our fear – express it to God.

The proper response to fear is to run to God.  The Psalmist said, “When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”  365 times in the Bible God says, “Fear not, for I am with you.”  Our fear leads us to God and we rest in His strength to protect.  Don’t put yourself down for feeling fear, just run as quickly as you can to the loving arms of God.

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