Ok confession time. I am an emotional, sinful, fallen person. Probably no shock to most of you. I like to think of myself as an intellectual void of emotion that only rationalizes through my problems, but just below that veneer of rationality lies a raging emotional jerk. Throughout my life I have tried my hardest to keep these emotions at bay, but no matter what I try, they seem to always resurface. To be completely honest, I really hate the way my emotions make me feel most of the time, but oftentimes I feel unable to control them.
Throughout my young adulthood, rationalism and intellectualism became my coping mechanism to keep my emotions suppressed. The funny thing, though, is that this never really worked. At the slightest insult or affront, my emotions come rushing back to the surface. Like most men, the majority of my emotions are expressed in the form of anger. If you insult me, I get angry. If you reject me, I get angry. If you don’t listen to me, I get angry. If you disagree with me, I get angry. Pretty much anything negative, I get angry.
Most people will say, “Hey, we all get emotional at times, and that is part of life.” To this I would reply, “Of course we do.” However, that doesn’t take away the fact that oftentimes, when I’m excessively emotional, I do not trust in God, and I engage in sin. It also doesn’t change the fact that, oftentimes my excessive emotionality causes problems and hurts the people around me.
So where do these excessive emotions come from? To be straight to the point, they come from lies. For me, the lies that I see the most are lies of compensation and lies of expectation. Let’s start with the lies of compensation. All of us go through difficult times in life, things that we don’t like. As we move forward in our life, we attempt to prevent these things from ever happening again. For example, if I was taken advantage of, I arrange my life so that no one gets close to me, or I become angry at the first sign of someone manipulating me.
The other is the lies of expectations. These are often the “fair beliefs.” For example, “I should have gotten this or that; I shouldn’t have been treated unfairly; They can’t talk to me that way; etc.” In the end, though, these emotions are largely unimportant. As a Christian, I am required to do what is right regardless of what I feel. Remember when Jesus was talking to Mary Magdalene? In John 8:11, He didn’t ask her why she was sinning. He simply said, ” Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.”
Here is the real problem. When I get excessively emotional, I begin to choose my actions based on how I feel. That emotion becomes my belief. If I feel it, it must be true. It also becomes the justification to do whatever I want to do. If you have hurt me, then my emotions tell me that I have the right to hurt you back. In Matthew 7:24 it says that the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the came down, the house was washed away. Our emotions are like the shifting sand that the foolish man build his house on. One minute I feel one way. The next minute I feel another.
So how do I keep from building my life on the shifting sands of my emotions? For me, the only solution that I have found is to base what I do on the truth that I know. The only real truth that I know is the truth that comes from Scripture. Again, in Matthew 7:24 it says that the wise man built his house upon the rock, and when the rains came down, the house was not washed away. As opposed to the shifting sands of our emotions, Scripture is the immutable truth that does not move. The amazing thing about the Bible is that after much more than 2,000 years, it still applies to our lives today. This is because truth does not change. It is always the same.
Here are some suggestions for how you can change the shifting sands of your emotions for the rock of His truth. First, understand that emotions will almost always be the first thing that pops up. So, the first thing I do when I feel myself starting to get emotional is stop and not act or respond. I then identify whatever emotion I’m having. For example, I’m angry. Then I ask myself if I am acting how Jesus would act or in a way that shows His love. If I am not, then I think, “What does the Bible say about this situation? What truth from the Scripture will help me through this?” Then I can choose whether I wallow in my emotions and bring selfishness into the situation, or I choose to act on His truth and bring His wisdom and love into the situation.
— Written by Jeremiah
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