"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 22, 2016
Something that has been on my mind quite a bit here lately is in regards to our emotions. I heard a sermon recently regarding the fact that our soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions.
Often emotions can have a negative connotation, so many people try and suppress them. I'm sure we all have heard or said statements such as: "They're just being way too emotional!" "They're letting their emotions overrule their head!" "They shouldn't be so touchy about things!" "Boys don't cry!" "If you want to cry, I'll give you something to cry about!" "It's just her 'time of month'!" "Stop being a cry-baby!" Yes, as we mature, there does come a time when we need to be able to control our negative emotions; but that doesn't mean that we can stuff them in a box or get rid of them. It means that when we do feel those things, we know how to effectively handle them. If we try to suppress our emotions and hide them away, those feelings will eventually come out one way or another in a different form. It may be through indulging in bad habits, a nervous breakdown, violence, health issues, obsessions, etc. Emotions are part of our human makeup, and they have to have an outlet of some kind.
On the TV show, Star Trek, one of the main characters was Mr. Spock. He was half human and half Vulcan. His character was emotionally detached. The 1973 animated episode "Yesteryear" shows 7-year old Spock choosing to pursue a Vulcan lifestyle devoted to logic and suppressing emotion. One of Spock's most remembered and quoted lines is, "It's only logical." God did not create us to be wholly dependent upon logic, but created us to be filled with a wide variety of emotion. He didn't want us to be like Mr. Spock, but desired that we be like Him.
Genesis 1:27 (NLT) says, "So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God, He created them; male and female He created them."
When Jesus was on earth, He showed His emotions unashamedly. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus; He became angry at the money-changers at the temple; He showed compassion on the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years; He had mercy on the adulterous woman who was brought before Him; He defended the little children, took them in His arms, and blessed them; and He showed great love over and over again, even when people didn't deserve it and accept it.
Never does scripture show that Jesus tried to hide His emotions or tamp them down. He was a man of great feeling and wasn't embarrassed to display emotion. I believe in creating humans in His image, God created us to have feelings and emotions just as He does. He created us to feel love, joy, happiness, guilt, anger, fear, disappointment, etc.
Many times, parents mistakingly teach their young children to tamp down their emotions. They don't want their child to be ruled by their emotions, so instead of teaching their son or daughter to determine how to healthily deal with them, the child is reprimanded when displaying, what the parents consider, negative feelings. But young minds haven't developed enough to handle the responsibility of determining the correct way to manage their emotions, so often they "think" that they are being reprimanded for showing any type of emotion, so will begin stifling their feelings. Adolescence is an especially difficult time for this, for both boys and girls. They are changing in so many ways, and often have mood swings from high to low. They may cry for no particular reason, can't explain why, but have difficulty stopping. Being disciplined for that can make it worse, and then cause embarrassment because their hormones are amuck and they feel stupid and out of control of their feelings; but can't seem to stop and reign them in.
It is important to learn how to manage our emotions, instead of allowing our emotions to manage us; but that is something that should come with age and maturity. For example, when we become angry, we need to be able to identify the cause of our anger and then handle it in a biblical manner. The Bible doesn't tell us to never become angry! God knows that there are going to be situations and people that are going to rub us the wrong way and there are going to be disagreements. Jon and I love one another, but there are times when we get on each other's nerves and have differing opinions. When that happens, we have to make a choice. Do we let it build and not talk about it; or do we get it out in the open so we can deal with it and move on?
Ephesians 4:26 (NLT) says, "And don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry." It's important that we talk about things, work it out, and forgive. Anger isn't sin, but allowing the anger to control us is when sin enters in; and not getting rid of it at the end of each day can cause it to grow and turn into unforgiveness.
James 1:19-20 (NLT) tells us, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires."
We understand that we cannot allow negative emotions to control us. Like our bodies and minds, our emotions are influenced by the fall of mankind into sin. In other words, our emotions are tainted by our sinful nature, and that is why they need controlling. We need to recognize that fact, and bring them to God and submit ourself to Him and allow Him to work in our hearts and lives.
Having said that, we shouldn't be so afraid that we're going to express our emotions negatively or allow them to be controlling, that we neglect to cultivate this area of our soul. Emotions are very healthy and have a very important purpose in each of our lives.
David is a prime example of a man who was unafraid to declare and sing about and express his emotions; both good and bad. The Psalms are full of David's expressing his wide range of emotions.
There are many Psalms that are songs of joy and thanksgiving. There are songs of dancing and rejoicing. Then there are Psalms that express sadness and sorrow and a deep-felt grief. "I am worn out from my groaning." "All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears." "My eyes grow weary with sorrow." David also had times when he felt as if God had abandoned him. He sorrowed and lamented when he sinned and cried out in repentance. Even during those times when David was feeling overwhelmed or abandoned, he generally ended his song or prayer by acknowledging God and turning his focus back to the Heavenly Father. David unashamedly express his emotions throughout his entire life, even when he reigned as the king of Judah. Even when his wife reprimanded him for dancing in the streets, he continued freely expressing what was in his heart. God referred to him as "a man after my own heart"! Hmm.... perhaps God loves it when His children freely and unashamedly express all the emotion that is within.
Many times it seems as if men have a more difficult time expressing their emotions than women. Men often have the attitude that it's "unmanly" to show their feelings, and that it's an "emotional woman thing". It's as if they think it's a "girly thing" to express how they feel. But I believe from scripture that God created both men and women to feel and express our emotions.
Romans 12:15 (NLT) says, "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." Verse 10 tells us to, "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." To fulfill those two scriptures, it takes emotion. It will require us to be able to express happiness, weeping, love, genuine affection, and delight.
Some emotions come easier to us to demonstrate than others. For instance, my family was very close, but we were not huggers. On the other hand, Jon's family on his mother's side are very big on hugging. Shortly after Jon and I had started dating, I met two of Jon's aunts (who are his mom's sisters). When we were introduced, they both hugged me. I wasn't used to that; especially having strangers hug me. It felt very awkward. Regardless, I continued responding whenever I saw them, and over time it has felt more natural. Sometimes what we may need to do is practice the positive emotions that are difficult for us, in order to be strengthened in those areas. No, we may not ever feel completely comfortable initiating hugs or being demonstrative toward others or saying "I love you", but we will be able to do so when the situation arises and it will become easier as time goes by.
Hugging his dad and saying, "I love you," is not something that Jon ever did. The two of them didn't express their feelings in that way to one another. Last February when Stan needed to move into a nursing home, we honestly had no idea how long he'd be with us or how long he would know who we were. Alzheimer's is like that. I also felt that Stan needed that reassurance that we would never forget him and would always be there for him. I told Jon that he really needed to start telling his dad that he loved him and give him a hug every time we visited. At first it was very awkward and uncomfortable for Jon, and I would have to remind him to do so. As time has gone on, Jon has become more at ease and relaxed at expressing his love for his dad.
It's easy to excuse ourselves by saying, "Well, that's just not how I am!;" or "I'm not comfortable sharing or showing my emotions!;" or "People just need to accept me how I am!;" or (if you're male) "I'll leave all the mushy stuff to the women-folk!" The truth of the matter is, if we want to become more and more like Jesus and live in total obedience to His Word, then this is an area that we all need to improve in and not be afraid of practicing. It's not a male thing or "monthly" woman thing or a sissy thing or a weak thing; it's a God thing!!
I grew up knowing that showing emotions was for girls, not for men. It wasn't something that had to be taught to me. Everyone who grew up in the 70s just knew that. Well, hippies might have thought differently, but not the rest of us. Trying to show strong emotions is something taught to boys more today, but it just seemed natural that if no one said differently, we just knew we shouldn't. I was never very good at it, though. I tried playing poker, but as hard as I tried, I could never hide my emotions well enough to fool anyone.
David is a great example of someone who showed emotions. But he did let his emotions overcome him once (2 Samuel 11-12). He had an affair, then killed the woman's husband to hide it.
Moses let his emotions overwhelm him several times. He beat one man to death, broke the first tablets with the commandments, and ranted against the people many times. Peter, one of the disciples, cut the ear off a guard in a rage.
And Jesus took the time to tie a whip before returning to drive off the money-changers. Moses also afflicted all of Egypt with plagues. And David fought off the Canaanites, Ammonites, and others in the promised land.
There can be a fine line between over-reacting in a rage, and showing an appropriate rage. Driving off the money-changers was appropriate. And the plagues that God had Moses give Egypt were appropriate. Probably the most sure sign a rage isn't appropriate is if we don't take a moment to pray, and ask God His will.
Rice Krispy Treats
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 package (10 oz.) of regular Marshmallows
or 4 cups miniature Marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal
In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispy cereal; stir until well coated. Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into a 9x13 pan coated with butter or cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.
This week I want to give a testimony of great praise and thanks! Last week on Monday (June 13), my oldest sister and brother-in-law were traveling through Colorado on a mini vacation. They had been in Colorado Springs on Sunday for a family reunion, and were headed to Durango. Their plan was to ride the Silverton train on Tuesday morning. My sister was driving, when they were rear-ended. The hit spun their vehicle into the other lane, and an oncoming car hit them in the front. My nephew (their son) and I left early Tuesday morning to go pick them up, since their vehicle was totaled. On Tuesday evening, we took them to get all their things out of the wrecked Kia. They had been taken by ambulance from the scene of the accident, so had not seen the car after the crash. We were all shocked when we saw how badly wrecked their vehicle was. It's a miracle that they are still here; or that they weren't hurt a lot worse. My sister was very sore and had a lot of deep bruising. My brother-in-law was in quite a bit of pain, but had another cat scan and x-ray done after arriving back home, which showed no breaks or issues. The doctor believes that the pain is from sore muscles and bruising. We are thankful to still have them with us!!
My nephew and I drove his car out to Colorado to pick them up. We left at 5:00 AM on Wednesday morning to head back towards home (Oklahoma for me, and Arkansas for them). At 6:30 AM a mule deer ran down the side of the mountain at full speed and, without slowing down, ran into the front driver's side of the car. My nephew didn't see it until it was in the road, and it was too late for him to do anything to avoid it. It did quite a bit of damage to his car, but thankfully, it was drivable and we were able to get back home! We are so grateful for God's protection upon our family!!
Choose faith over worry! - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon