When it comes to emotions in the Christian life there are extremes to avoid. For one thing, we don’t want to totally ignore our emotions or always suppress them. Emotions aren’t necessarily sinful. On the other hand, we don’t want to make too much of our emotions. How we “feel” about the gospel is certainly not the gospel. Just because I “feel” a certain way about a verse in the Bible doesn’t mean you have to “feel” the same way about it. And sometimes our emotions are misleading for various reasons. The topic of emotions is a complex topic!
If you want a good resource on emotions in the Christian life, you should check out Untangling Emotions by Groves and Smith. This book is a teaching tool written by two Christian counselors who have thought about this topic and studied it in some detail. There are three main parts: 1) Understanding Emotions, 2) Engaging Emotions, and 3) Engaging the Hardest Emotions (anger, fear, grief, and shame). Basically, this book is a Christian answer to these questions: “What are emotions, and what should I do with mine?”
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“The problem is not that your body has emotions. The problem is that your body, like your mind, soul, and strength, has been affected by sin and has a skewing effect on your emotions” (p. 55).
“…Emotions make a terrible central priority for your life” (p. 88).
“Emotions become demanding taskmasters when you believe they are the core of who you are” (p. 141).
Some of the material in this book overlaps material in other counseling books I’ve read, so it’s not an “all new” resource on the emotions. And although Scripture is used quite often, I would’ve liked to see more exegetical work explaining what Scripture teaches about our emotions. However, despite these two caveats, this book is a very good resource for thinking about our emotions from a balanced Christian perspective.
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