Friday, August 07, 2009



Adrian Warnock recently wrote about Proverbs:
Today many value "honesty" and "openness," and it is argued that we should ventilate our feelings or else risk damaging ourselves by bottling them up. We are also told that cynicism is wise, and we should not be gullible, but instead critical. The truth is, little thought is given to how giving full vent to the evil that is bottled up in our hearts might damage others. The Bible instead repeatedly tells us to control ourselves. The following series of proverbs challenged me, and I want to try and live my life by them more and more in the future.
Being Christian is not a psychoanalytical experience. How many small groups have you been in that were little more than self-directed group therapy with Bible verses quoted? Now, don't get me wrong - part of helping your brother or sister Christian is to help them deal with their emotions - but the church is more.

It seems to me that Adrian has really hit on something here. As Christians, we are not here to just help people "deal" with their emotions, but to help them "control" them. And no, for you snickering Trekkers out there, I do not mean we need to practice Kolinahr.

But like all things in our lives, we must sacrifice our emotional states at the Throne of Grace and allow God to rule over them. I really like the fact that Adrian points out that our emotional vomit can hurt others. How often we forget that. And yet, are we not admonished in scripture to "count others as more important than ourselves"?

I am reminded of a post by Jollyblogger a while back.
For most of my Christian life I believed that the mind was to rule the emotions, emotions are untrustworthy and must be disciplined by the mind. That bubble was burst when I learned about the noetic effects of sin. "Noetic" comes from the Greek word which is transliterated in English as "nous" and it means mind. The noetic effects of sin are the effects of sin on the mind. In other words, our minds have been corrupted by sin as has the rest of our being. Thus, it behooves us to ask why we think our minds are any more trustworthy than our emotions.


In Psalm 73 the Psalmist describes all of these negative emotions but does not repent of them nor indicate in any way that they are sinful. They just are, but in saying that they just are, that doesn't mean that they are left unattended or untouched by the word of God.

They "are" but they "are" to be disciplined by God's Word. In Psalm 73 there is a higher principle guiding the Psalmist than his emotions, it is his knowledge of the character and ways of God. While he does not chastize the emotions he does not allow those emotions to govern his understanding of God nor his obedience to God.

There is a "higher principle" that can guide us so that we are not governed by our minds or emotions and that is the Word of God as ministered to us by the Holy Spirit. Of course we process the Word of God through our minds and emotions but we must always be ready to let the word of God challenge our thinking and feeling.

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