How Does God Feel About Feelings? – Commanded to Feel
Key Bible Verse: Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
Dig Deeper: John 16:20-24
A careful reader of the Bible will conclude as indefensible any view that says, “The emotions are off-limits.”Our emotions are a part of our humanity that needs to be sanctified and brought under the authority of God’s Word.
John Piper has accurately pointed out that the Bible commands all kinds of emotions. There is the divine imperative to be joyful or to rejoice (Phil. 4:4). There is the command to “forgive your brother from the heart”(Matt. 18:35, ESV, et al).
Anyone who has dealt with forgiveness (who hasn’t?) often says something to this effect: “I don’t feel like I can forgive him yet.”Forgiveness is more than an emotion, but whether we like it or not, it has an emotional element to it. We are also commanded to love. But “love is not a feeling,”say a few Christian pop songs and teachers. This will not do. We are told to “love one another with brotherly affection”(Rom. 12:10). Love may be more than a feeling, but never less.
What about the command to mourn? “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom”(James 4:9). God commands us to mourn, which engages the emotions.
—Brian Borgman in Feelings and Faith
My Response: Of those emotions commanded in today’s devotional, which one or ones do I find most difficult to express? Easiest?
Adapted from Feelings and Faith (Crossway, 2009)
Prayer for the Week: Dear Father, thank you that you are a God who feels deeply and that you created me with deep feelings, too; help me to own my feelings and learn to express them in ways that bring honor to you.