"There is a time for everything … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."1
Imagine living in a world where you couldn't laugh when you were highly amused, where you couldn't yell your head off at a ball game, sing your heart out in church or at a party, or cry when you are sad. Life would be deadly dull, empty, and boring. As another has said, "Life without feelings would be like playing a trombone with a stuck slide." It is also a very unhealthy way to live. As John Powell put it, "When I repress [that is, deny] my emotions, my stomach keeps score." Furthermore, people in denial and out of touch with their feelings are like zombies.
Feelings or emotions are God-given. They are a vital part of humanity. Whether they are positive or negative, they need to be acknowledged, owned, and expressed or dealt with in healthy ways. Proverbs even advises, "Open rebuke is better than secret love."2
Feelings in and of themselves are amoral; that is, they are neither right nor wrong. Jesus never told us how to feel, only how to act. It's what we do with feelings and how we handle them that matters.
Bottling up (denying) emotions hurts ourselves and damages our relationships. Lashing out hurts others and also damages relationships. Expressing them in love and kindness brings people closer together, and reinforces relationships. Furthermore, sharing feelings openly in a loving manner is the heart of intimacy. In fact, without this there is no closeness or intimacy, and such couples end up living together alone apart.
Listen to your heart and share some of your feelings in a loving and creative way with a friend or loved one today! And, when sharing feelings, it is always helpful to start by saying, "I feel …." Be sure to share what you are feeling—and not just what you are thinking. Sharing thoughts is good (unless it is a way to avoid facing and expressing feelings), but it isn't intimacy.
Furthermore, if we don't learn how to express feelings in creative ways, we may very likely allow them to control us and/or to act them out in self- or other destructive ways. This is allowing feelings to control us instead of our being in control of them. Remember, too, what we fail to talk out creatively, we will inevitably act out negatively.
One more point about feelings: It is important not to base our beliefs and actions on the way we feel. It is the Word of God, the Bible, which is our final voice of authority—not the way we feel.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to handle my emotions as Jesus did who, when he was sad, wept; and when he was angry at evil, he expressed his anger to bring about change. So help me to do likewise, but always to speak the truth in love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (NIV).
2. Proverbs 27:5.