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“What does the Bible teach about emotions?”

“What does the Bible teach about emotions?”

SEPTEMBER 9, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “What does the Bible teach about emotions?”

Steve Brown:
“What does the Bible teach about emotion?” The answer to that, on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus in the Bible, is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Life’s hard for everyone, so grace is for all of us, but there is a lot of confusion about how grace applies to real life. So, here’s seminary professor and author, Steve Brown and Pete Alwinson to answer your questions.

Steve Brown:
Hey Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
I’m doing good.

Pete Alwinson:
Good.

Steve Brown:
And better, now that you’re here.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, that’s my job. My job is to make you happy.

Steve Brown:
And you do that, and that is a tremendous gift that you give. Pete Alwinson, as you know, comes in on Fridays, and we’ve been doing this for over 25 years. And, have enjoyed doing it cause we love your questions. By the way, be sure you go to ForgeTruth.com is a great podcast that Pete and some friends do together and you’ll love it. And as I said, we answer questions and you can ask a question by dialing 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, and we record that and sometimes put it on the air. Or you can write to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

You can ask your question by e-mail, [email protected] And you knew I was going to say it, if you can help us financially, please do. We’ll be faithful with your gift. By the way, you can give on your phone, text Key Life at 28950. That’s 28950 and just follow the instructions. And we will use it to glorify God, that’s a promise. And if you can’t, we understand that too. Man, these are hard times in a lot of places. But do say a prayer for this ministry and we would appreciate it. Pete, why don’t you lead us in prayer and we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. Father, we do come to you at the end of this week and what a joy to come into your presence, to honor you, to lift up your name. And we ask that you would just meet us, in just this time, Lord, you know us and you know our needs. And it’s been a good week. We know you’ve been in charge. And yet Lord, there’s relationships that need to get fixed, jobs and bills that are needed to be paid and Lord transitions that we have to make in our own life and growth and forgiveness. And so Lord, we come to you, you know our needs, and we pray Holy Spirit, that you would be the one to point us right to where we need to focus right now. We get so scattered. So, we come into your presence. We honor you and ask that you’d be with our leaders this week-end, as they lead us and our priests and pastors and teachers and worship leaders, that they would bring us into your presence, teach us grace and remind us of the gospel in a deep way. We commit this time of Q&A to you now, as we pray in your Holy Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Pete, this is an e-mail. What does the Bible teach about our emotions? Are we to express our emotions, including anger, frustration with God? How can I overcome my struggle with anger? Well, there are two questions there. The first one, what about emotions?

Pete Alwinson:
They’re all bad. Never have them.

Steve Brown:
I have a friend who has a son who wrote a book and I can’t think of the name right now, in which he spent 300 pages talking about the way the church had stifled emotions. And what it had done to the church, when this Scripture is filled with emotion.

Pete Alwinson:
Filled with it. And I say that sort of tug in cheek cause I sort of run along that line my first,

Steve Brown:
Oh, me too.

Pete Alwinson:
walking out with Christ because my home life had so much negative emotion in it, when I was growing up. I really did think that almost all emotion was harmful and bad. It’s not, but there’s a lot of bad emotion.

Steve Brown:
Oh, sure.

Pete Alwinson:
And, so now on a, you know, so the gospel can sort of redeem our emotions in a good way.

Steve Brown:
They really can, and it begins with laughter.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And then it moves when you get comfortable in this presence, to being honest in his presence. And when you read the book of Psalms, all of a sudden, you see every emotion expressed almost always in prayer to the God of the universe.

Pete Alwinson:
Amazing, isn’t it? And David with guys, and a lot of my ministry now is with guys. And so, you know the reality is David, is this warrior, rocker.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
I mean, he wrote songs and then he could go kill some philistines. And we like that, but he expresses his emotion. And so, we need to take that into consideration. And I love your new book, that’s hit the stands, I think, you know, Laughter and Lament.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it is about emotions or at least those two emotions that once we understand the freedom we have to cuss and spit and cry and weep, and to laugh with God. Both of those things, that grants an unbelievable freedom.

Pete Alwinson:
It really does. And in the negative side, you think of Elijah and after the prophet of Baal thing.

Steve Brown:
Oh yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
And how he tubed out emotionally.

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And God tenderly cares for him.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And brings him back.

Steve Brown:
Okay. This had, this e-mail had two questions. What can I do about my anger?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. First of all, you’ve done the first step and that’s to recognize that you’ve got anger.

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And, then I would do a little bit of thinking, why? Is it temperamentally based? It’s sin based, but is it temperamental? Is it in induced by your environment? What makes you angry?

Steve Brown:
Are there past issues, that have made you insecure.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
That you had to be angry.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. I think a lot of the young men, these days, have been hammered so much by being, you know, men and all the privilege that comes with being a man, that a lot of young men are angry and sad and deeply frustrated. But I, I think we, then we bring these things to the Lord and, you know, we simply have to tell God we’re angry and give it to him and ask him to work in a powerful way.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
You’ve never been angry though.

Steve Brown:
No, no, not me.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
You know, I have a real anger problem, seriously, and it’s better, seriously.

Pete Alwinson:
Mine too.

Steve Brown:
And I, you know, anger is a legitimate emotion. Paul said, be angry, but don’t let the sun go down on your anger and don’t give an opportunity to the devil. And that’s something we need to think about. But generally, I love the way you said that you’ve got to ask why because anger, if it could be described, Jesus got angry, but he, you wouldn’t call Jesus an angry person. And if you find that you are an angry person, explode easily, you need to sit down with some brothers or some sisters in Christ to talk about it and ask the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to you an answer to the question why.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Right. And, see that as a great point of where the gospel wants to enter in.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And, help you grow. And, we always want miracles. I think one of the greatest miracles is when God deals with our anger.

Steve Brown:
I agree.

Pete Alwinson:
And, he does that.

Steve Brown:
And I think anger management courses are nonsense. I don’t think they work, man. That’s where you get serial killers. They come out of those courses and that training, angry that they had to do it. You have to get out of their way Jesus’ way works and it’s better. You know, this kind of, this next question kind of can help with that one. Am I just a sinner or a saint fighting the good fight. I believe that those who continue to live and sin don’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sin is the exception, not the rule. Well, I don’t know if I’d say that, I really wouldn’t, but I do believe the Bible clearly teaches sanctification in areas like anger and every other area.

Pete Alwinson:
What do you mean by sanctification?

Steve Brown:
I, well, it’s sanctification in some theological constructs, is called entire sanctification and it’s an act when God brings you to the point as this e-mail writer asked, where there is no known sin in your life. I don’t believe that, I don’t think that happens. Sanctification means becoming more and more like him. And it’s a process, and it takes a long time. And that’s the reason grace is so important. You never are going to make that process happen in your life, as long as you think that if you don’t, God’s going to give you cancer. You just can’t play that game with God. God’s going to love you, whether you’re good or bad or right or wrong, whether you’re angry or nice. His love is unconditional and once you get that, certain things begin to happen. And one is, that you find yourself less angry.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. It is a process. And that’s why I John 1:9, when, if we sin, we confess it and we come running back to him.

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And, then he helps us process those things. The idea of entire sanctification, one of the problems with that is that, it never happens in this life, even though you believe it. And if you believe that it happens, you end up justifying sin as, not sin.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. That’s true. You lower the standard.

Pete Alwinson:
You lower the standard.

Steve Brown:
And you miss the thing all together. And the danger of what I do and you too, is that we teach grace and it’s radical and it’s counterintuitive, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not aware that as Christians, God is doing stuff in our lives, to make us more and more like Jesus. And he is, and you ought to see that in people. Now, I wouldn’t go as far as our questioner went with that, that you know, there’s a kind of sense in which this question, makes something true that just isn’t true. Those who continue to live in sin, do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pete Alwinson:
That right. That’s an overreach, I think in the whole concept because you know, how do we sin? We sin in thought, word, and deed. And there’s sometimes, those sinful thoughts come into my mind. Where did they come from? The world, the flesh, the devil, but I have to own them, James says.

Steve Brown:
That’s called repentance.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And when you own them, then God can begin to work. But don’t assume he, really righteous people rarely know they’re righteous. Because God knows if he gives them an inch, they’ll take a mile. One time Paul Tournier, who was the famous Swiss, Christian psychiatrist was asked if he knew Christians who sin. He said, of course, me. And if you can’t say that, you don’t get it.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Am I better? Yeah, I’m better. Am I worse? Yeah, sometimes I’m worse. Does Jesus love me? Oh yeah. And he will, and the only people who get better are people who know that what I just said is true.

Pete Alwinson:
Mm, that’s so good. That’s so good. Well, we are getting better by the grace of God.

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And we have different things to deal with at different phases of life.

Steve Brown:
Yes, but you know, sometimes God gives you a glimpse, a grace glimpse of what he’s doing. And we think, and we should say, that is so cool. Yes. Well, we’re out of here, but first let me say, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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