Emotions versus sin

It was a tough week and I felt frustrated and wanted to cry. The more I thought about curling up into a ball and sobbing, the more I became angry with myself, since there really wasn’t any “good” reason to cry. I didn’t like this battle that was brewing up inside me, so I took it to God.

In telling God about how I was feeling, I started to realize how we have categorized emotions as being good or bad. Crying is what little babies do, since they can’t do anything else. While it’s accepted in children, it seems to be accepted in very limited circumstances as adults. We’re supposed to just “deal” with whatever comes our way. Yet, just like infants, the world can sometimes overwhelm us beyond our ability to explain or even to process. While one or two things may not be upsetting, when you have four or five things, from different areas of life happening all at once, sometimes a good cry is what is needed. No, it won’t change the circumstances, but it can be cathartic. It allows us to pause and to do something, especially when the events around us are out of our control and influence. While there are many emotions that can prompt us to cry, the action of crying can be beneficially soothing and calming.

Anger is another emotion that has bad connotations. However, it is not the emotion itself that is a sin, but rather how we react to the anger that can lead us astray. When we feel anger bubbling up, rather than grabbing the closest thing and hurling it across the room, acknowledging that we are angry is one step to diffusing questionable behavior. Another is to identify why we are feeling this way. Anger may really be many little things that have built up. Anger seems to kick in when we have reached our capacity of processing little events impacting our lives. All too often it seems the switch is turned on by another person’s actions, yet if we really stop and think, whatever the other person did is really not an offense that deserves the emotion. Most times our anger outbursts are not of the righteous sort resulting in overturning money tables at a temple. Yet we shouldn’t be afraid to turn to God when we are angry. Jesus knows and experienced all of the emotions during His time on earth. The emotion of anger is nothing to be ashamed of, but if we don’t turn towards God to help us through it, our actions may be regretful.

God has given us the gift of different emotions. While the thought of being happy all the time sounds nice in theory, if we only had one emotion, happiness may not be it. It is times of pain, anger, and suffering that allows us to appreciate and embrace the times of joy, peace, and happiness. And no matter what our emotions are, they are most welcomed to be expressed and shared with God. He can truly take whatever emotions we have and help us to grow into the best versions of ourselves.

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