I write about feelings quite a bit, noting some differences there between men and women, how it all impacts our relationships, politics, and culture. Here are a couple, Nothing More Than Feelings.. and Feelings Are Not Sin.
All in good fun here, but I have some strong opinions on the matter and a few feelings too, but mostly it is scripture that leads me and a small understanding of human psychology. What happens when we suppress, oppress, repress, and deny our feelings? They grow bigger, uglier, they fester, they begin to ooze out in other ways, they start to subconsciously rule our behavior, they cloud our thinking. They make us vulnerable to manipulation by assorted sociopaths who know how to exploit them.
So how do you handle feelings in a way that heals? Drag them out into the sunlight and take a look at them. They aren’t scary, they’re just feelings. Recognize them, acknowledge them, say, gee, I seem to be having some feelings here. I wonder what that’s about? What are my feelings trying to say to me? Both men and women have feelings, how we handle them may look slightly different, but basically that’s the healthy way to deal with feelings.
Feelings are not sin, as I have already stated. Christ Himself, a sin free man, had feelings. In fact, scripture itself is plumb full of emotion and feelings. Read the Song of songs or David’s psalms or lamentations. What’s a lamentation? A feeling, oh woe is me, oh the angst, my very spirit is crying out in distress. Feelings. Scripture does not tell us to discipline our feelings. It does not tell us to bring our feelings into captivity.
The proper verse there is, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..”
We bring into captivity thoughts, not feelings. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Why thoughts, why thinking? Because feelings stem from thoughts, sometimes unrecognized thoughts. If we try to discipline our feelings outside of the context of our thoughts, we are trying to cure the symptom, not the cause, not the root.
When we try to repress, suppress, oppress, or declare our feelings to be sin, we deprive ourselves of what they have to teach us and we tend to add extra layers to that onion of self-deception that separates us from the Truth.
“Be ye angry, but sin not.” When people in faith talk about the need to discipline feelings outside of the context of thoughts and deny that feelings have something to teach us, that they are a valuable form of communication, I get a little cranky because it adds to the confusion and doesn’t listen to what scripture is actually teaching us. My crankiness won’t hurt anyone, it is simply an acknowledgment that I disagree with that concept, that no, I don’t believe that is the correct path.
Now, if I instead, suppressed, repressed or disciplined that crankiness, it would simply grow and build and perhaps someday manifest itself as a teacup bounced off your head. That is why we deal with our thoughts, because they are what shape the condition of our heart and the condtion of our heart is what rules our feelings.
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”