Why Do Feelings Hurt?
Have you ever felt anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, worry, jealousy, or loneliness? Maybe you equate one or all of these “negative” feelings with weakness or the inability to handle life. This isn’t true. Did you know that there are lots of examples in the Bible of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit having emotions? Let’s take a look at some that weren’t “positive.”
God describes himself as a jealous God in Exodus 20 when He was giving instructions not to worship any other gods. Jesus felt anger at the hypocritical actions of the religions leaders, sadness at the death of a dear friend, and even abandonment when on the cross (see Matthew 23 and 27 and John 11). Ephesians 4 talks about our ability to grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions.
Seeing these “negative” emotions in God can be surprising. We know our God never sins, but also has these emotional responses; this can help us see our emotions in a better light.
God designed our “negative” emotions to be the first line of defense in our internal WARNING SYSTEM. The Bible and psychological sciences reveal that we produce emotions based on our view of a situation. The emotion is a feedback loop.
If we view the situation as beneficial, we experience a positive emotion to encourage more of those situations. But negative feelings alert us the situation has potential danger or harm, needs extra attention, isn’t going right, or that we aren’t viewing the situation accurately.
In essence, these feelings are the red warning lights on the car dashboard, or the loud sound of the smoke detector warning about potential danger. The light or sound aren’t bad; in fact, they save lives.
Too often, we are conditioned to view our negative feelings—the warning system—as the problem. This interferes with us looking beneath the feelings and tackling the real problem we are actually getting warned about.
Negitive feelings warn us of a problem. They aren’t necessarily sins or negative. In fact, although uncomfortable, these feelings are positive and useful tools and gifts from God. So embrace and be thankful for your uncomfortable feelings.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139:14 NIV
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