Friday, March 4, 2011
“Jesus Wept”: The Bible and Human Emotions
In preparation for the Holy Week, I would be sharing to all how Jesus life has touched our emotional and psychological well-being. This is Part 1.
As humans, we are the most rational of all the world’s created beings. Marvelous as they are, frogs, dogs, caterpillars, and donkeys don’t have our capacity to reason. Yet, even with all our powers of logic and rationality, we’re also emotional beings. One could argue, justifiably, that emotions rule our lives to a much greater extent than reason does or ever could.
Emotions are good; without them we’d barely be human. (What kind of person doesn’t know love, compassion, sympathy, fear, or sorrow?) Robots might be able to function emotionlessly; we never could.
" ‘I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy’ " (John 16:20, NKJV).
Emotions are a vital part of the human personality. They can be powerful motivators, both for good and for evil. And, depending on the emotions, they make us happy, sad, fearful, or joyous.
“Positive” emotions can bring a feeling of satisfaction and well-being; “negative” ones tend to cause pain and anguish. Though the first ones can promote mental health, a prolonged exposure to “negative” emotions may bring about behavioral and relational problems. Thus, emotions can play an important part in our overall well-being.
God wants us to enjoy the effects of positive emotions. However, because of sin, we often face the adverse effects of negative emotional experiences. Bible characters were not immune to emotional ups and downs either. Some succeeded in gaining control over them; others, losing control, allowed negative emotions to lead them into wrong actions.
The relationship between emotions and behavior is not clear and direct. At times painful emotions may drive us to our knees in order to seek God as the ultimate source of help and support. At other times struggles may cause people to give up faith entirely.
How crucial, then, that we learn more about our emotions and how they impact our lives.