If the NCAA Tournament has taught us anything, its that emotions are everywhere. Seemingly after every game, the world of social media was flooded with pictures of depressed girls with tear stained faces. And it is not just basketball or sports. Emotions seep in and out of every area of our lives. Believe it or not, even guys have emotions. Sorry Brohemes; its true.
So how do we biblical think through our emotions? Well, we inform them:
The Bible And Emotions
According to the scriptures, emotions flow from the heart. The things we think and meditate on determine what we do and how we feel about our actions and the actions of others. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, /for from it flow the springs of life.” People’s emotions are driven by the things their heart treasures.
Sadly, we cannot trust our hearts. They are desperately wicked and unstable (Jer. 17:9). As Christ says in Mathew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” And if we do let our heart be our guide, we the only path we will find is the one that ends in death and destruction.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, /but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (Proverbs 28:26).
Rather than listen or being controlled by emotions, Christians all called to think biblically (Col 3:1-2). They are to let the gospel inform their emotions (Ps 51:1-2). As Proverbs 23:19 says, “Hear, my son, and be wise, /and direct your heart in the way.”
Responding To Sinful Emotions
When we encounter someone overcome with emotion, we should be cautiously thankful. While the emotion is not the ultimate problem, it does reveal what’s is in a person’s heart. Instead of focusing on the emotion, the we should focus on why the emotion is being displayed. If a friend is angry about his wife cooking, we should ask him, “when you sin and shout at your wife what do you want? What would make you stop getting angry?” We should try to get at the thoughts and ideas that are driven the man to snap at his wife instead of lecturing him solely on the evils of anger.
Fixing Our Emotions
To tell the difference between sinful emotions and righteous emotions, we must examine our actions. Righteous emotions lead to godliness, peace and repentance. Unrighteous emotions lead to worldliness and sin. For example, two men can both feel guilt when they look at pornography. The first responds by asking he wife for forgiveness, places filters on his pc and phone, and submits himself to accountability and is satisfied with God. The second confesses his sin, but refuses to put filters. He regularly looks at pornography, and lives for pleasure. Emotions are always tied to actions. Good emotions result in godly actions. Bad emotions lead us to sin. As 2 Corinthians 7:10 makes clear,
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
To change improper emotions, a we must change the way they think. Instead of focusing upon our problems, our struggles, and our enemies, we need to meditate on God’s character and person.
As Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the is good! /Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!.