J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Emotions in Motion

What to do with emotions?  They seem to be annoyingly unpredictable and often unstable and not at all in touch with reality.  A lot of my counseling of emotions has come down to pointing folks to who they are in Christ.  For example, a person who is feeling unloved, I would point them to the love the Father has for the Son being the love that He has for us (John 17).  I still think that is a correct thing to do.

However, that cannot be the sum total.  For example, when Jesus wept over the death of Lazurus, it could be easy to comfort him and say, “Jesus I know you are sad but know He is in heaven or know that God loves you and comforts you.”  Didn’t Jesus know this already?  Of course He did.  Didn’t Jesus even know what He was about to do in raising Lazurus?  Of course.  So that would indicate that Jesus’ emotions were justified despite knowing certain realities.

How about Jesus’ grieving over Jerusalem because they were lost?  Didn’t Jesus know who would be saved who wouldn’t?  Of course.  Why did He weep?  Because He felt pain over their sin and unrepentance despite having complete control over their destiny.  Jesus’ emotions were okay even in knowing certain things.

Now we don’t see Jesus struggling with whether God love Him but we do see Him struggling with God’s will (But not my will but your’s be done).  Jesus struggled with the cross even though He knew it must be done and the good it would bring.

What does this mean for us?  For me and for others, I think it means we can’t just tell someone an objective truth and immediately expect their emotions to go away.  Its easy to counsel in such a way as to come across as “If you knew this truth you would have this peace.”  That’s dangerously gnostic.  So why do we do it?  Because emotions are messy and the answers to dealing with them are a lot less clear if we don’t yell truths at people.

We all need to be honest with our emotions before God to begin with.  Its not like He is suprised to find out that you are angry with Him for example.   And from the sermon on the mount we know that anger leads to hatred which leads to murder in one’s heart.  We need to be honest with God because if we are angry with Him b/c He hasn’t given us what we want (child, husband, wife, financial security) we very well may be hating and murdering Him in our heart.  That must be dealt with before we move on and grow in greater love, faith, and obedience.

If you want to further explore emotions and the Gospel, check out this link from CCEF and see if it is helpful


(This post in its original form first appeared on xanga.com/gordzilla7 on 09/06/05



August 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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