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.


Love is not Agreement

This should be obvious, but it’s good to keep in your head when people just want you to agree with them. Love does not mean agreement. You can love someone and disagree with them. You can disagree with them about very very significant things. You can even hate the thing they love, but you can still love them.

There’s a likelihood that they won’t feel loved. But… and here’s the important thing… the amount they feel loved is not the measure of your love.

But, if you don’t agree with them just because you don’t like them… that’s not love.

Why you should verbalise what other people are thinking…

It’s what makes the “awkward” call so good… It says out loud what people feel – awkward.
If the people you’re speaking to are feeling shy, say, “I can imagine you might be feeling shy right now…” If they’re feeling bold, “feel like you can take on the world, heh!?!” If they’re feeling sad or depressed, name the feeling they’re struggling with.
This helps both them and you.
They get someone who understands them, who’s willing to empathise with them.
You get confirmation of what you think, and thus a platform to infect and influence them with God’s word.

How you feel is your responsibility – not other peoples’ #horstmas-laws.7

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)

Other people do not control how you feel. Other people do not make you feel angry, or feel mad, or even feel jealous or happy. Your feelings are exactly that… yours. You’ve produced those feelings. They are your responsibility.

Sure, other people might have behaved in certain ways which led to you producing those feelings. But they didn’t make you have those feelings.
This is something that Jesus models for us amazingly. He gets betrayed, abandoned, beaten, whipped, mocked, spat on and crucified. That’s what other people did to him. But Jesus knew he was responsible for his reactions. Jesus prayed for those crucifying him. He loved them.

Or to put it another way… it is possible — isn’t it — that you could respond differently? There’s no “only” response. There’s always a range of responses. Who determines which of those responses you are going to have?

You do.

So, when you’re shunned, ignored, attacked, verbally abused, accused… remember your immediate response is not the only (nor the best) response. There are other ways you can choose to respond.

You’re not embarrassing, you’re just surrounded by embarrassiable people

Most of the embarrassing situations you’ve been in have only been embarrassing because of what “you think” other people are “feeling”.

In other words, it’s only “assumed empathy” that makes things embarrassing. The fact you tripped up the stage is only a cause of embarrassment if you think other people will be imputing embarrassing feelings onto you. If you were totally convinced that no-one saw you, or that everyone thought you didn’t trip, would you be embarrassed?

The trick to dissolving an embarrassing situation is convincing other people that you’re not feeling embarrassed… to stop them feeling empathetically embarrassed on your behalf.

One way is to simply laugh it off. Another way is to tell them that your not embarrassed.

I do this with my stutter when preaching. I tell people that I’m not embarrassed about it, I make them feel at ease – not about my stutter – but about how I feel about having a stutter. Once they know that I’m really not embarrassed about it, neither are they.