Have you ever been betrayed by your emotions?
What do you feel when you read those words? Do examples in your own lives jump forward? Maybe one example that springs to mind is one of young unrequited love. Where despite all your best intentions the love has become obvious to another. Maybe this has led to some jibes or maybe even to broken friendships.
As Christians we are taught to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). As I have previously declared I have failed at this. As a young Vicar’s wife to be I have found myself in many occasions volunteering for something that I am not prepared for. On the day of the volunteering activity I usually worked myself into such a frenzy that my emotions are plain for everyone to see. How am I ever to be successful ministering to others when the emotions of fear, anger (at myself) and envy (of others) are written across my face?
Emotions have a profound affect on our health. They place us in society, they set out our futures, they determine our mind set. Society and culture look down on emotions but maybe our structures need to change.
When I was 17 I was in counselling. Part of my counselling required me to complete a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) online. The idea was to change the way I thought. The negative emotions were thrown out and only positive emotions were accepted. I think I took this more liberally than it was meant to be taken at the time. Anger and hurt were removed to be filled with joy and peace.
“Negative” emotions aren’t always the enemy though. Anger at injustices or sorrow over disasters are needed in this world. However, love of money or of possessions are not needed, yet love is seen as a “positive” emotion. It is not the emotion that determines if something is moral but the reason behind the emotion. Sometimes the biggest motivating factors for change are those “negative” emotions.
Earlier in this blog I quoted Matthew 22:39; “love your neighbour as yourself“. It is interesting to me that in this passage we are not asked to act. The action is not required of us first but to change our perception. We need to learn to love our neighbour before we ever hope to act.
God made you in his image. God is full of emotions but for the right reasons. We need to make sure we know what those right reasons are.
“Action without love is useless; faith without love is not New Testament faith” (Matthew A. Elliot from Faithful Feelings).