Friday, August 8, 2014

Don't be afraid of your emotions

Have you ever had a conversation start with “Now don’t get mad” and you or someone is immediately on the defensive because what is about to said will probably make you or them mad? Our emotions are natural and God given feelings. To tell someone, “don’t get mad” is denying them their natural feelings. However, our emotions can get us in trouble if we don’t learn how to manage them and deal with them in an appropriate manner. Your emotions are what make you human. Emotions can build and build until they can’t be held in anymore and there are wrong ways to express anger.

First, do not bottle up your emotions. Allow yourself to be angry, to feel sad. Your emotions are a part of you and are a part of what makes you human. Jesus expressed his emotions freely. He expresses his emotions freely. He wept and grieved at the death of his friend (John 11:35). He showed his anger at people’s disbelief and stubborn hearts and turned that anger to heal a man before their very eyes (Mark 3:5a). He expressed his anger at the men exploited people’s attempts to worship at the temple (Matthew 21:2, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48 and John 2:14-15). The Lord understands the emotions you are feeling. Come to him in prayer and expressing your emotions. Tell him how angry you are, He understands. Tell him how sad, hurt, depressed you are, He knows.

Second, denying yourself to feel any emotions, especially negative emotions can lead to sinful behavior. Just like a soda bottle that has been shaken too much, eventually the pressure will become too much and you will explode. You may say or do something that you will regret. You may hurt others with your words or actions in a way you never meant to. Job openly grieved for the loss of his family (Job 1:20-22) and says “Therefore, I will not keep silent; I speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11). Keeping emotions locked in can lead to a bitter and angry spirit.

Third, there are many examples in the Bible of how anger is expressed in the wrong way and lives ruined when anger is not managed properly. Cain, jealous that his brother’s offering was honored by God, turned his anger toward his brother and kills him (Genesis 4:1-8). The result? He is condemned to walk the earth as a restless wanderer (Genesis 4:12). Sarah mistreats Hagar out of jealousy and anger. Hagar was able to get pregnant when Sarah could not (Genesis 16:6). Sarah was angry at herself and her infertility and took it out on her maidservant who was just following orders. Haman, angry at Mordecai for not kneeing in his honor, plots to kill the Jews (Esther 3:5-6). The result? Haman ends up tangled in his own web and is hanged on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:10). Anger can be very dangerous when we place on anger against someone else.

In conclusion, do not hide your emotions. Emotions are a part of what makes you human. It is not sinful or inappropriate to express them. Express them in a way which is healthy and safe. For me, I pray and cried out to God. Sometimes simply saying through my tears, “Please, God.” I also write. I write about my anger, my fears, my sorrows and my joy. Talk about your emotions to a trust friend or relative. Believe me, when you give your emotions a voice, the negative emotions lose their power and hold on you and you’re able to think clearly. Be careful to direct your emotions at the right person. Deep breathes, think before saying or doing anything. You have the right to feel your emotions; however, your emotions do not have the right to own you.