This Sunday we don’t have our usual QTOS time, but rather we have Dr. D.Eckman @ church gave us a talk on Emotions and Faith (基督信仰與情緒的關係). We do not have any recordings of the talk (copyrighted as far as I know) so here are the rough notes from the talk itself.
Emotions and Faith 基督信仰與情緒的關係
What is emotion?
It is music of the soul. Like how music must match the mood of the lyrics, our emotion should match what we perceive from our surrounding in this world.
Where is it from?
God has emotion, and we are made in his image. See Psalm 103:8, 10-13. Notice it starts with an emotional description of God. He feels what we feel, and he value that feeling.
Unfortunately we usually just informationally know about God, but God is not emotionally recognizable to us most of the time.
忠實的慈愛 = Loyal to you with consistency, continuously showing affection to you not because of what you do.
He likes you more than you like yourself. See things in you that you may not know about yourself. However this is a two way thing. If you do not believe god like us, enjoy our being, compassion towards us, then you can never be conquered by his kindness.
慈愛 in Hebrew can be considered to be like a “motherly love”, compassionate towards her womb. He may be more motherly loving than a mother. God loves his spiritual babies, clean up their messes like a mother changing the baby diapers.
Negative Emotions and Their Purposes
Ephesians 4:26 is a book that talks a lot about emotions. It talks about anger. “all of you are ordered to get angry, and do not sin; do not let sun go down on your anger”, note it says not to use anger to sin, but (2 verses later) use anger to work, to build your/others’s character.
Anger has its uses too, as long as it is channeled with love, NOT with sin. This is the same with all emotions (peace, love, joy, etc.)
Negative feelings like anxiety has its usage too, e.g. It helps us to avoid danger. It is supposed to be a short term emotion, but because we don’t know how to manage it, it become a long term emotional problem for us. So we should learn how to manage our emotional capacity since it is a reality that we have them.
Unfortunately discipleship training usually only teaches you what to do, what to know, but ignore all the middle complexities such as:
How is emotions created?
- From imagination 想像 & pictures (e.g. 浪子回頭) –>
- Affects perspectives 看事的角度 –>
- Affects relationship 關係 –>
- Affects emotions 情感
Principle of Emotions for Christians 原則
A good principle to remind us of the purpose of emotions in the context of spiritual growth:
Emotions do not verify the truth, but they verify our understanding of the truth.