Overcoming Damaged Emotions
Negativism. A person who is negative and critical has been hurt, too, but is still resentful. He unconsciously looks for pegs (excuses) on which to hang his anger. Instead of admitting his resentment, he expresses it through his negativism.
The fearful and overanxious have also been hurt. They build walls around themselves so they won't have to feel and face their inner pain. The egotist didn't feel important as a child and is still trying to prove himself.
The compulsive eater, talker, drinker, smoker, gambler, and worker are also acting out damaged emotions and unmet needs from their past. And rigid people, being afraid of close relationships, hide behind their rules.
First. Whatever our problems are, to resolve them we need first of all to be truthful and admit them. Only then can we begin to find freedom from them. Jesus Christ expressed a profound principle when He said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free"2
Second. As Jesus also said, "Do you want to be made whole?"3 It is a fact that some people don't want to be healed. They like getting sympathy or attention. They may want deliverance from their uncomfortable symptoms, but are not willing to face the deep, hidden causes, or they may not want to grow up and accept the responsibility for their own life.
Third. It is essential that we accept responsibility for our problems, reactions, and feelings, and not blame others for them. We may not have been responsible for the actions that hurt us in the past, but we are now fully responsible for any resentments and hurts we are nursing, for all our reactions, and for what we become.
You will know the truth and
the truth will set you free.
Fourth. To find healing we also need to exercise confession, prayer, and forgiveness. The scripture teaches that if we confess our sins and faults to one another and pray for one another, we will be healed.4 Wherever there is anger, hurt, or guilt about something from the past, those feelings need to be confessed and expressed in all their intensity. Then we need to forgive those who hurt us. As long as we nurse our grudges (consciously or unconsciously) we will pay the price for it physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The difficult thing in confession is to confess the "right" sin—that is, those damaging repressed negative feelings and attitudes. One needs to ask God to give him the courage to face those deep hurts and resentments. He may also need a counselor to help him see these problems. As we do face and confess these problems and pray, God has promised to bring us healing.
Finally. A reprogramming of our feeling responses is often needed. Our reactions were learned from past experiences and therefore can be relearned. As we confess and surrender our past to God, asking for His healing and help, we need to act positively on the basis that God is healing us as we act. As we practiced the appropriate actions—regardless of our feelings—our feeling responses will eventually come into harmony with our actions.
Everybody has some damaged emotions, but with honesty, responsibility, confession, prayer, action, and God's help one can find healing and overcome his past. We are not victims of fate. We are in control.
1. Powell, John, Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am? p. 152.
2. John 8:32.
3. John 5:6.
4. James 5:16.
* NOTE: For the cassette tape, "Damaged Emotions" by Dr. David Seamands go to http://www.actscom.com/store/cassettes.htm
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