Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23)
I played sports as a young man and I have the scars on my knees to prove it. The incision of my first knee surgery cut across a nerve and I had no feeling around that area of my leg for several months. Sometimes I would sit down to watch TV and, without thinking, rest a cup of hot coffee on my numb knee. I couldn't feel anything, but before long I could sure smell something: my skin burning! For a while I had a neat little brown ring on the top of my knee.
Your emotions are to your soul what your physical feelings are to your body. Nobody in their right mind enjoys pain. But if you didn't feel pain, you would be in danger of serious injury and infection. And if you didn't feel anger, sorrow, joy, etc. your soul would be in trouble. Emotions are God's indicators to let you know what is going on inside. They are neither good nor bad; they're amoral, just part of your humanity. Just like you respond to the warnings of physical pain, so you need to learn to respond to your emotional indicators.
Someone has likened emotions to the red light on the dashboard of a car that indicates an engine problem. There are several ways you can respond to the red light's warning. You can cover it with a piece of duct tape, "I can't see the light now," you say, "so I don't have to think about the problem." You can smash out the light with a hammer. "That’ll teach you for glaring in my face!" Or you can respond to the light as the manufacturers intended for you to respond by looking under the hood and fixing the problem.
You have the same three options in responding to your emotions. You can respond by covering over them, ignoring them, stifling them. That's called suppression. You can respond by thoughtlessly lashing out, giving someone a piece of your mind, and flying off the handle. I call that indiscriminate expression. Or you can peer inside to see what's going on. That's called acknowledgment.
For the next few days, we will explore these responses and see why the first two are inappropriate.
Lord, thank You for my emotions. Give me the courage to be emotionally honest and the grace to face the truth.