Whether fear, anger, joy or pain—how does God restore us?
- Posted on Jul 31, 2018
Excerpted from The Women's Study Bible.
Emotions are God-given, spontaneous responses to events. A person perceives an event in a particular way, and an emotion is aroused that leads to one of at least three responses: The emotion is allowed to escalate so that it becomes destructive to yourself or others; its validity is denied; or it is directed in a manner appropriate and healthy for the situation.
Emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. The problem lies in the thoughts that produce emotions and in behaviors resulting from emotions. Because they are spontaneous, emotions do not last for an extended period unless they are nurtured by the mind and will. Emotions are a caution light reminding us to re-examine what we are thinking. Thus, Paul does not condemn anger (an emotion indicating a boundary has been crossed) but counsels the Ephesians to deal with it quickly. Anger, when wedded with hurt and shame, can develop into bitterness and provide fertile ground for further temptation (Eph. 4:26, 27, 31; Heb. 12:15).
When a person is shamed for having an emotional response such as fear or anger, her tendency is to protect herself by blocking these emotions from conscious awareness. She, being bound by shame, is unable to express the emotion in appropriate, healthy ways.
Since emotions are interconnected, denying painful emotions also necessitates burying pleasant ones, and the result is often emotional numbness. Scripture challenges you to identify your emotions (Ps. 13:1– 3; 77:1– 6) and to learn how to channel them into positive behaviors. As painful memories surface, you can bring them to God for healing and restoration, allowing Him to remove the shame that has been linked to those memories. See also Mark 5:2, note; notes on Emotions (Ps. 42); Forgiveness (Ps. 51; Luke 17); Healing (Ps. 133; Eccl. 1; 2 Cor. 5; Gal. 6; James 5)