The gospel dares us to ignore our feelings…

The gospel of the Lord Jesus is unemotional… it is simply a truth. Jesus; the God-Man died and rose to life for sinners; to absorb their guilt, punishment and death, and to make them righteous, holy and alive as His adopted brothers in eternity to display the glory of His Father.

But the gospel does cause emotions. The gospel causes many many different types of emotions! Christians can rightly feel things all the way from shame to joy, from insignificance to glorious-pride (in a good way).

But what happens when you feel one aspect of the gospel more than another? What about those times when you feel the guilt and shame of your sin; when you feel the weight of your personal rebellion against God… when you feel how small and insignificant you are and how you have nothing… absolutely nothing to offer… just sin; wrath-worthy sin.
What about those times when your feelings of guilt are so strong you just can’t believe that God would want you, let along love you and want good things for you?

See, it’s not that you don’t understand the gospel… you “know” that Jesus’ blood can atone. You “know” that God can forgive through the cross. You “know” what God says, but you just don’t feel it – you feel like it can’t be true… “God could never love me, not now, not after what I’ve done.”

That’s when you need to ignore your feelings. They’re lying to you. In fact, it’s Satan lying to you. So please, don’t act out of your feelings! Don’t act in line with your emotions! Choose, nay, DARE to ignore your feelings and act according to the gospel.

Imagine for a moment… if God really loved you and wanted good things for you, what could you pray for? What would you feel comfortable praying for if you truly felt God was your great and powerful daddy? Anything, right!?! Trivial things, right?! Little nothing things, right?!

So dare to do that! Boldly approach the throne of grace and ask for the type of things that you shouldn’t be able to ask for! Take the plunge! Do it!

Trust God’s unemotional gospel in the midst of your emotional turmoil.

 

Reblog – Only rebuke when…

Only rebuke when there’s not a conflict of interest; don’t do it because they’ve hurt your friend’s feelings, or to make someone else happy, don’t do it because it will give you an advantage.

Only rebuke when you’ve distanced yourself emotionally; don’t do it if you’re wrestling with forgiving them still, don’t do it if your feelings are going to be controlled by their response.

Only rebuke when you’re humble enough to admit you don’t know their motives; don’t do it if you’ve already decided that they intended evil or were malicious. You’d be rebuking something only God can know – and you’re not God.

Only rebuke when you’ve got the facts; don’t rebuke when you’ve just heard what they did, or when they’ve only told you snippets. Get the whole story from them first, prayerfully hoping that they haven’t sinned at all.

Only rebuke when your real desire is to please God.

When does talking about your feelings become emotional manipulation?

There’s a fine line, it seems, between talking about your feelings and emotional manipulation.

See, if I tell you that something you’re about to do is making me feel sad, unworthy, hurt… is it just a simple observation of the facts, or am I being emotionally manipulative?

There are two types of questions to ask… internal (or heart) questions and external (or action) questions.

The internal questions are, “Am I trying to leverage my feelings to change thing person’s actions?” If “yes”, then you’re emotionally manipulating. “Am I making this person overly significant to my self-perception?” (i.e. If you’re allowing someone to tell you how much you’re ‘worth’, then you’re giving them the place of God over you. It’s a form of idolatry.) If “yes”, there’s a good chance you’re going to use emotional manipulation.

The external questions are, “Have I made it clear that, whatever they choose, I will not take it personally?”, “Have I given them permission to make the decision despite my potential feelings?”

In the end, you have to ask yourself “Why” you would bring your emotions into the discussion. And if you are going to, what else do you need to say so its clear you’re not manipulating them?

If you get devastated when your ministry fails, was it your idol?

Don’t think so highly of your ministry that you get wiped out when it doesn’t work. So… the kids didn’t come along. So… the person didn’t think it was valuable to meet with you. So… they decided to go to another church. Ok. In the big scheme of things, is it that bad? It’s not. So… If you’re getting so upset about it… Was it maybe a bit of an idol for you? Was your “ministry success” a bit of an idol to you? And now that idol has been shown to be hollow, is that why you’re devastated?
Your ministry is not the most important in the world… Or this city… Or this church. There’s other ministries going on. Get over yourself and get back on the horse.

Offer suggestions without emotional consequences

If you’re not the one making the decision, you still have a place in the decision making process… The place of offering suggestions.
However, when you offer a suggestion – because you’re not the one making the decision – you need to be careful HOW you feel about it. I don’t mean if you feel strongly about it; hopefully you DO feel strongly about it. I mean, are you going to attach emotional consequences to the person, process or plans, if they don’t go along with your idea?
If you’re going to get angry or feel hurt when, after you’ve given your suggestion, they decide something else, then you were attaching emotional consequences to your suggestion. That’s not a real suggestion then is it… It’s more like emotional blackmail.

Address people’s emotions before you address their questions

If someone asks you a difficult question, or a personal question, or an emotionally charged question, chances are they’re not going to be listening to what you say.

Instead, all that’s going to be going through their mind is… How will he deal with my feelings? How will he feel about me after I ask this question?

By asking a question, they’re really putting themselves out there. So don’t leave them hanging. Reflect their emotions back to them. State the feelings behind the question. E.g. “I can imagine that could have taken a lot of courage to ask that. Thank you.”

Only after you’ve dealt with their feelings and fears have you then got the opportunity to answer their question.