Vital Habit 6
Strength can also be found in our emotions if we use them as God intends. If we let our emotions enslave us, however, they can sap our strength. Anger, for example can motivate us to take a stand against injustice, right a wrong or fix a broken system. Rage run amok, however, can destroy us as well as others. Anger directed outwards can lead to murder or terrorism. Anger directed inward can lead to suicide or depression. Sexual desire or romantic love can be wonderful in a marriage. They can inspire masterpieces of art. But, when they begin to control a person’s life they can destroy families and individuals. The same is true with almost any emotion. When used as God intends they are helpful. When they begin to control us more than God does, they destroy us.
While it is true that we cannot simply turn our emotions on and off, it is a dangerous lie to believe that we have no control over our emotions. Some emotional responses have become habitual and are extremely difficult and time consuming to change. But difficult and impossible are quite different.
Some people are deeply emotionally scarred and wish to remain that way. The fact that they suffered trauma in their childhood is the perfect ticket for retiring from life before it has even started. “My father beat me,… my mother left me,… my wife was unfaithful…therefore, I can’t help the way I feel and act. I have an excuse to be the way I am. I can’t succeed anyway, so, I’m never really going to try and thus I’m never really going to fail.” This is the biggest, most destructive lie that the adversary could ever get you to believe. It gets you to give up without even putting up a fight.
It is important to be sympathetic and patient with people who suffered trauma as children. Their battle for recovery is enormous and lengthy. It’s very hard for people who have not experienced it to understand. Too much sympathy and too much patience, however, can doom these people to a lifetime of problems. It is very hard to know where to draw the line between offering sympathy and encouraging people to stop wallowing in self-pity. Usually those best qualified to draw the balance are those who have experienced similar trauma and have a healthy amount of experience with recovery.
God can still heal today just as God did in the Bible. Emotional healing can be very painful and difficult, but those who have the courage to face the pain will find that they not only can be healed, but that they can grow far stronger than most who have never had to face their problem.
Vital Habit #7 - Respect all Truth Equally
Vital Habits Index