Category: Biblical Counseling (page 2 of 2)

Worry, Trust, and God's Control

I want to thank you for all of the prayers you prayed for my son, who had surgery a couple of weeks ago.  It went very well, and he’s recovering nicely.  In fact, he does not even react as if the surgery site is painful now.  We’re so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from you all.

Sending my son in for surgery was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do.  The worst part was when they wheeled him out to the operating room, and we saw him round the corner away from us.  Let me tell you, that was a tough moment.  Part of the reason it was so tough was because it’s my son, and I love him, and I hate to see him hurting.  But the other, and more significant reason that it was so difficult, I believe, was that it was out of my control.  Surgery is beyond my level of expertise, and I had nothing to do with the procedure in the surgery room.  It was completely beyond me.  When things are beyond us, out of our control, we can move in one of two directions: worry or trust.

Worry says that I don’t really trust that God is in control.  Because God is not fully in control, and He’s not going to give this the time, effort, love, and thought that the gravity of this situation deserves, I in my sufficient wisdom will fret, sweat, and unhealthily concern myself with that which I cannot control.  God cannot be in control, because if He were, He would have led me to this situation.  Worry, at its heart, reflects a lack of trust.

Trust, on the other hand, says that though this is a difficult situation, and I don’t know what the outcome will be, God is in control.  As He has been faithful in the past, so will He be faithful now.  God is good, and His love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34).  The one who trusts sleeps peacefully in the knowledge that God is the one who provides true safety (Psalm 4:8).  Trust, at its heart, reflects a true belief.

I’d like to say that I never once worried throughout this whole process, but I can’t honestly say that.  However, I can say that difficult situations tend to bring heart issues out.  When difficult times come, use that as a time to evaluate your heart.  Will you worry?  Or will you flee to God?

 

Interesting Conversation, part 4

This is the last post that I’ll give based directly off of the emails that I have talked about in the last 3 posts.  You can read about this conversation here, here, and here.  It’s been helpful for me to think through these psychology issues and offer what I believe to be a God-honoring response to these, though I know they can be very personal.  I know that some of this hits very close to home for many of you, and I invite you to comment below.

Here’s the email I sent to the licensed psychologist that I have been having the ongoing conversation with:
Good thoughts.  Thanks for even being a bit self-disclosing.

I do think that medication is helpful and maybe even warranted.  Take, for example, the schizophrenic (schizoid/typal personality disorder, schizophrenia, etc.).  Many, if not all, have to be on varying dosages/levels of medication.  Life is likely intolerable for them and those around them if they are not treated physically.  But if we as humans are comprised of both body and soul, the meds only treat the body side.  We, as soul-care providers (I tried to use a generic enough term to lump  us both into), have a responsibility to look at both aspects.  This schizophrenic, though on medications, still has responsibilities in society, even if “society” for him is in the mental hospital.  From a biblical standpoint, I think that he still has a responsibility before God as well.  God will hold him accountable for his actions done on earth.  God holds all people accountable for their actions, even when the issue is completely biological.  Take, for example, Type I diabetes, which is clearly a physiological issue.  Though there was not a specific sin that lead to this, we still have a responsibility to God for how we respond to it.  Holiness may more difficult in certain psychological problems, but holiness is still the requirement for all men (Leviticus 19:2).  God is full of grace and mercy, but His requirements are the same for everybody.  Obedience will likely be more difficult for some, but not impossible.  Think about someone who is mentally handicapped, but functions at a high level.  They are held responsible for some tasks, right?  Obeying their parents may be tough, but it’s possible.

Medication doesn’t negate anybody’s responsibility before God.  “Sorry I was short with you today…I’ve just got a headache.”  Our impatience and anger are not justified because there are physical issues present.  We need to realize where our weaknesses are and address them biblically.  There are over 40 places in Scripture where we are commanded to do things to “one-another”: love one another, serve one another, submit to, encourage, admonish, be kind to, be devoted to, think of them better than yourself, prefer, build up, accept, care for, envy not, be truthful to, etc.  God is pleased when we take even small steps in the right direction.

Hardships in life, no matter what the cause or what the suggested treatment, are a chance for our true hearts to be revealed.  We are all sinners living in a fallen world.  And what do sinners do?  Sin against one another…lots.  God will not judge us based on how people have sinned against us, but based on our response to being sinned against.  For those who have been scarred more deeply by the effects of sin, obedience may be so difficult that we, humans, cannot see how it would even be possible.  Good thing others’ obedience is not placed on our shoulders!  We serve a big God, who is able to change the vilest hearts and the most corrupt souls.  Lest we think ourselves prideful, I put us both in that category as well!  We serve a God who can cure cancer, heal headaches, mend broken relationships, heal crazy people (see Mark 5:1-20), and, biggest of all, save sinners.  “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

 

Interesting Conversation, part 3

Here is the third post from a series of conversations that I had with a psychologist.  You can read the other conversations here, where it all started, then here, the response that he had to my post, then my response to him here.  Just so you know, we have a good friendship.  Neither of us is mad at the other in the least.  In fact, we both enjoy the discussion.  It keeps us thinking about why we do what we do.

So, what kind of counsel are you giving today?  We’re all giving some sort of counsel to almost everybody we come in contact with, even if it’s no counsel at all.  Is your counsel (or lack thereof) honoring God?

“I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another…the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (Romans 15:14, 1 Timothy 1:5)

Here’s his response.  Mine will follow, tomorrow.

“I do not think our conversation is confrontational and enjoy the topic. I think it is a rare opportunity when we as Christians get to have real discussions about important issues. I value your thoughts.

I agree with everything you said but would add one thing. Diagnosis is not actually the problem though it is not always clear cut, you get a fair bit of agreement between professionals. The diagnostic criteria are pretty well accepted. I think what you are getting at is that we don’t know the cause. Was it biological? (testable through blood work or something) Faith based? Maybe poor parenting?  Living a life apart from God? I think we can say they are depressed but how then do we treat it? I think your example is right on. We use the medicine God gave us to heal the broken leg (i.e. we use what we know about treating depression e.g. improve sleep, decrease negative thoughts, engage in positive behaviors and thoughts, etc) and we look at the root cause. How is the person’s Faith? What is their lifestyle like? Do they attend Church, voluteer, pray, etc? We also of course look at familial patterns and history. An example that may illustrate both ways of approaching a situation (caution: self disclosure coming up) My mother, raised in faith, raised our family in faith, prays all the time, attends Church, yadda yadda yadda, but is completely co-dependent with my Alcoholic brother. Does she enable him out of a lack of faith in God’s power or could we approach her in terms of behavior modification (just stop doing those things that support his drinking). I think both are true and necessary ways of intervening.

Final note,  have your read “The road less traveled” by M. Scott Peck. I think it is very valuable for its attempt at merging Faith and Psychiatry. He talks about anxiety developing when people don’t do something out of fear. It is usually something they know they should or shouldn’t do but they continue to act out of fear. This idea of anxiety developing when we don’t do what we know we should to me is true of many people I see. They act in selfish ways and they are anxious because of the situation that develops. E.g. they know their boss wants something done but they disagree so they don’t do it and live in fear of being found out.

Anyways… Good discussion. I look forward to more.”

 

Interesting Conversation, part 2

This is the second part of a conversation that I had with a licensed psychologist.  I’ll keep his name anonymous, but suffice it to say that we share basic biblical/theological foundations, but approach counseling with a different methodology.  We are able to maintain a solid friendship, though we disagree on some points, as you’ll see below.  If you haven’t been following along, I wrote this blog post about psychology and faith (and how they aren’t going together all too well), he responded here, and the following is what I said as a response.  Feel free to agree or disagree with me.  Here I go:

“Thanks for the response ______(I’ll keep him anonymous)!  I appreciate the wisdom that you bring and the expertise in psychology that you have.  You see it through a biblical worldview as well, and I appreciate that.

I agree with the follow-up blog that you said.  I agree that not all mental health crises are issues of ‘faith’, but it’s so hard to detect and diagnose those issues (depression, bi-polar, PTSD, etc.) empirically, right?  To diagnose somebody as a diabetic, you can do blood work, but not so for depression.  I don’t mean to say that we then abandon all search for an empirical test.  But I will throw out this as an idea, that it would only be, at best, a diagnosis and not a prescription.  For many of those same issues, could it not be a ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’  If we do find a blood test that can prove definitively that a person has anxiety disorder, who is to say that it was brought on by purely physical (bodily) problems, as in the case of diabetes.  To further my example, lets say that a person comes into the ER with a broken leg.  We can perform X-rays to confirm, CAT scans to check head injuries, etc., and prescribe medications to dull the pain.  In fact, we can even set the leg and cast it so that it will heal.  Having a broken leg is a problem, for sure.  But maybe the real problem is that this guy can’t see well at all.  He walks out in the middle of the road when traffic is heavy because he can’t see the cars coming (I know, it’s a stretch, just hang with me…I probably could’ve come up with a more realistic example, and I will someday).  That’s what broke his leg the first time, and it will break his leg the next time he walks out of his house.  Medication can’t do anything about this…he needs glasses.  His leg needs to be fixed, but his real problem is that he can’t see.  Could it be like this for mental illnesses?  I make a blanket statement here, but I don’t deny purely bodily-induced illnesses, as in post-pardum depression, thyroid-induced depression, and others that I can’t think of off the cuff.  Medicine may take the edge off of mental illnesses, but the real issue that the illnesses came up is not addressed by medications.

I think that often (not always, though) mental illnesses are a result of (sometimes years, and even decades) responding sinfully to life.  Instead of appropriately grieving, a person spirals into depression.  Instead of handling fear in a God-honoring way, a person develops a myriad of phobias.  Instead of building God-honoring relationships, a person develops habits of retracting from people and society, and it becomes so bad that they can’t function, and are labeled with social anxiety disorder.  When the person presents to their psychologist/counselor, it’s way, way out of control.  Telling them to turn to God doesn’t “fix” their problem, because they’re trying to overcome so many years of developing sinful ways of responding to life (but ultimately the problem rests in their deficient relationship with God).  This is why I hate ‘Biblical’ counseling that consists of quoting a verse at somebody and telling them to ‘obey the Word of the Lord.’  It’s not quite that easy.  They have to be shown, over time, how to life life in a God-honoring way.  Medications may help this person take the edge off of their ______, but doesn’t necessarily help them to live a godly life.”

I welcome comments.

 

Interesting Conversation

I’ve been having what is to me a fascinating conversation with someone who sees things a bit differently than I do.  We are both counselors in the broad meaning of the term, though our jobs look vastly different on a daily basis.  We see eye-to-eye on many, many things theologically, and though we haven’t discussed all of the foundations of Christianity, I can say with almost 100% confidence that we agree on the major doctrines and a vast number of the minor doctrines.  In fact, I’ve learned a lot from him concerning the Christian life as we’ve been in the same small group for about 6 months now.   We both have a heart to love and care for people who are hurting and spend lots of time and effort at becoming increasingly skilled at doing so.  I will quickly say that I have a lot of learning and growing to do as a counselor, and am grateful for his many years of counseling experience that I can benefit from.

That all said, I am going to post a series of email correspondences that we have shared.  I’ll post only one side of the email first, let you read and think through the issue, respond if you’d like, then later post the reply.  Here’s the first one.  This is actually a response from him to my blog post, Psychology and Man’s Need:

I appreciate your interest and while I don’t have the references, I
believe that the link you make with higher education and faith in God is
true. I think there is a negative correlation between years of education
and belief. I also agree with your rationale. I think that the more that
we believe we can explain our human experience, the less we see a need
for God, however, I think that this path leads to despair.  I was
recently reading a book called the “Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn
Evil.” It is obviously written from a Humanistic perspective with the
main assumption that people are basically good or at worst neutral and
it is the situations we are placed in that cause us to act in evil ways.
I was struck by the author’s worldview in terms of his degradation of
people who aspire to live by moral principles and absolutes yet he is
then amazed that some people who have strong moral values can withstand
situational pressures and do the right thing. On a side note, one of his
principles that he espouses for withstanding situational pressure is to
never sacrifice personal freedom for security. This is a common
libertarian type view that is often put forth by NRA types who want to
keep their guns so it is odd to be coming from this West Coast liberal,
but the interesting thing to me was that while he was addressing things
like allowing wire taps and such for national security his example was
that of traditional marriage and that we sacrifice personal freedom for
security and that is a bad thing according to him! I say all of this to
say that when we take God and his laws for us out of the equation, life
becomes a relativistic swamp with faith in human nature as our only
hope. Given the horrible things that people do to eachother when
unchecked, I think that is a scary place to be.

The one addition that I would make to your blog if you write a follow up
is that just like traditional medicine, Psychology still has something
to offer. I think it is a mistake to ignore God’s revelation to us
through science and say only that we need to build our relationship with
Him. While the latter is always true, mental health issues are not all
crises of Faith and I think this needs to be made clear. In the same way
one would not recommend that if you have chest pain and weakness in your
left arm you should just pray about it and not seek medical attention,
one should also not give the message that if you struggle emotionally
that you should only seek spiritual guidance and not seek the knowledge
of our mind that science can provide. That is why the flip side of those
statistics is important. Nearly 70% of psychologist believe in God and
over 20% feel that God is very important. We can seek out those
psychologists to integrate Faith and science for a wholistic solution.

Can you comment to this?

 

Psychology and man's need

In a report published in the magazine Monitor on Psychology: A Publication of the American Psychological Association (February 2008, Vol. 39, No. 2), “the majority of clinicians regard their spirituality as important, and religion, in general, as beneficial to mental health…however, clinical psychologists are much less religious than the general population.” (page 10) They cite that over 90% of the general public believes in God, while less than 70% of psychologists claim belief in God. Over 50% of the general population ranked religion as “very important”, while only slightly more than 20% of psychologists.

Why? Though there may be many reasons, it seems that, as man increases in knowledge, he perceives himself to have less of a need for God. If he can explain, scientifically, how the human body works, and prescribe medications that “fix” it, then what need does he have for a transcendent God? To these people, God is a crutch for the weak, who can’t make it through life and need something/someone to fall back on. Since they don’t have the emotional and intellectual tools necessary to cope and succeed in life, they need to craft a god that will help them make sense of life. I would imagine that the discrepancy between the general public and psychologists’ belief in God would not be limited to psychology, but would be seen throughout academia.

But man’s need for God is not based on the ability, or the lack thereof, to explain the human body and postulate theories on the origins of the universe. Our need is also not based on some people’s inability to develop healthy relationships and make sense of life. Our need for God is, in one sense, a result of our sin. Our sin has separated us from God, and broken our relationship with Him. Our sin nature keeps us from perfect fellowship with God, and the sins that easily entangle us break the beautiful communion that even those who are saved experience. In the way that my communion/fellowship with my wife wanes when I sin against her, so sin separates us from God. But our need for God is not solely derivative of our sin nature. Our need for God is rooted in the creation account. Man needed God even before the Fall (Genesis 3), evidenced in the fact that God spoke directly to man, telling him what he needed to do (Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply…”). Man could not figure out life on his own, so God spoke to us. This is part of what it means to be human, that we need truth spoken to us from outside of ourselves.

We were created with a need for God, and that needs exponentially increases because of our sin. So what does this have to do with psychological health? Whatever difficulty you’re going through in life, let that point you back to your relationship with God. If your relationship with God is broken, you it is reasonable to expect that other areas of your life may be broken as well. Start by working on your walk with Christ. You need Christ, and not just because you are weak and broken because of your sin (though this need is great). You were created to need Him. Run back to Christ, and trust that, though life will still be difficult, you are a child of the king, in whom all things are held together. (Colossians 1:17)

 

The Feminization of Men

One of my favorite seminary professors was Dr. Randy Stinson.  I’ve told you before how influential he was in shaping my thoughts on adoption, and I thought that I would share one of his recent posts on the feminization of men.  He is right on target when it comes to the importance of men acting like men, and in explaining the dangers that are imminent when they don’t.  If you’re a man who likes spending a day at the spa, you may not like this post.  But from a biblical standpoint, Dr. Stinson hits a homerun.  Enjoy.

The Feminization of the American Male From Top to Toe

Randy Stinson
July 29, 2008

Having been recently introduced to Tony Glenville’s 2006 Top to Toe: A Comprehensive Guide to the Grooming of the Modern Male, I was reminded once again how determined our culture is to make men more like women.   Now I realize that certain things are important to properly present oneself.  I take showers, have my hair regularly cut, generally wear clothes that match, have some nice suits and ties, shave regularly, and even wear men’s cologne on occasion.  I know that there are certain fabrics that are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  But the overemphasis on these types of things has encouraged a softness that is neither attractive nor helpful in terms of cultivating the characteristics that men need in order to honor their biblically sanctioned roles.

For instance, Glenville advises, “A special occasion calls for special treatment, and taking the time to visit your hairdresser, go for a massage, and have a facial scrub will all add to your confidence.”  In another section, he tells us, “At sporting events, whether cheering your team on or participating yourself, the wrong footwear can completely skew an outfit.”  I wonder if Chipper Jones knows this?  Here’s one of my favorites: “After work, before bed, when stressed, or simply as a pick-me-up before a party, the slow pampering of a bath is special.”  In addition to this, one finds out the essentials of the bathroom which include moisturizer, eye cream, manicure kit, pedicure kit, body moisturizer, and body scrub.  Can you imagine our great grandfathers talking like this?  Exchanging tips for dry skin and split ends?  With regard to hands Glenville notes that, “Caring for your hands is not a question of vanity or fussiness, it is common sense.  Boardroom or factory, dinner table or diner, your hands are much in evidence at work or at leisure and are able to communicate a great deal about your approach to life.” Indeed!

Granted, the book has some helpful tips.  Knowing how to put on a tie is important for a man to know.  Caring for shoes is also needful.   But so much of the instruction tends toward an unhealthy, hyper, self preoccupation.  The roles to which men are called are stifled and hindered by such tendencies.  In fact, self absorption is the enemy of true biblical masculinity.  The leadership to which men are called is for the good of those whom he is leading.  A self absorbed man will lead for his own good, his own self aggrandizement.  The role of protector to which men are called is for the well being of another.  A self preoccupied man will let others be harmed while he fends for himself.  The role of provider to which men are called is for the welfare of others.  A selfish man will provide for himself at the expense of others.

Men reading Glenville’s book will only be encouraged in their sinful tendency to look out for themselves.  If men are focused on such trivial things as dry skin and pampering themselves with long baths, it will be all the more difficult to expect them to lead, provide, and protect.  There may be a day when Lowes and Home Depot have entire aisles dedicated to moisturizers and skin creams for that weathered carpenter.  There may be rows of scented bubble bath for that overworked mason.  But if the church continues to follow the culture, we will have plenty of “Top to Toe” men, able to shop with the best of them at Bath and Body Works, but unwilling and unable to fulfill the Gospel demands that require toughness, self sacrifice, and self-neglect. We do not need prettier boys.  We do not need softer men.  What we need is a church culture that will call boys and men to lives of self sacrifice as exampled by the picture of Christ in Ephesians 5 who loved the church and gave himself for her to his own neglect and sacrifice.  What we need are pastors who will boldly preach about and press for an ethos in their churches that expects this type of behavior from their men.  What we need is a church culture that will require boys and men to do hard things, to cultivate toughness, resilience, and courage, top to toe.

 

Did God say America will soon be in a famine?

I got an email from somebody yesterday, and I think it would be helpful for me to post this.  Let me know what you think, and if you have anything that I should have added.  Do you agree with my response?  Why or why not?

In order to not reveal names, I’ll summarize the email.  This person went to a conference in which the speaker claimed to have received a word from God.  Apparently, God told the speaker that America would soon experience a famine (physical, as opposed to spiritual), and that we should begin preparing for it.  The speaker went on to say relay that God is moving in judgment against our nation.  It is said that the speaker’s appeared physically sick from having to deliver this message, there was a heaviness in the air, and almost everybody there was crying.

This email was forwarded to me, and I was asked the question, “What do you make of this?”  Here was my response:

 

Thanks for sharing this with me.  To be honest with you, I’m pretty skeptical.  Any time somebody says that they’ve heard a word from God and they’re not talking about having read Scripture, I hesitate to fully buy into what they’re saying.  Without the authority of Scripture, I cannot be certain that what they’re saying is 100% true.  I say that about myself, too, whenever I get hunches and the like…I want to always be pointing myself and others back to Scripture as our unfailing source for truth.  When it can’t be backed up explicitly with Scripture, you’re on shaky ground.  

This kind of falls within the scope of determining God’s will.  If someone said to me, “God told me that you and I need to run a marathon next spring,” I couldn’t definitively tell them that they were wrong.  They could also not definitively tell me that they were 100% right.  So, did God tell my friend to tell me to run in a marathon?  Maybe…but there’s the same likelihood that He didn’t.  So, we’re back to square one.  It was a hunch.  We would need to go back to Scripture:

1) Take care of your physical body (1 Corinthians 6:19).  Running would fall into taking care of my physical body, right?

2) Don’t neglect your family (all kinds of Scriptures telling me to love my wife, care for my children, etc.).  Does running cause me to love my family more?

3) Don’t neglect meeting with the church (Hebrews 10:25).  Do I still have time to regularly meet with others to worship God?

If I could fulfill all of the above, then I may have the freedom to pursue running a marathon…that is, if my knees would hold up!  But I still may not be certain…so I use biblical, God-given wisdom before I move on (Proverbs 8-10 speak of the importance of wisdom; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9, 28).  I talk with people who know me and can help me determine if this is what the Lord would want me to do (Proverbs 18:2, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment”).

Ok, so back to the initial email.  Read Matthew 24:4-8:

4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

So one point that we can take from this is that when we see wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes, we know that the end is coming soon.  The only problem with this is that we’ve seen all of these things since the time of Jesus!  The end has been “coming soon” since the time of Jesus!  It should be no shock to us when we see these things, as they’re evidence of living in fallen world.  They certainly do point us to Christ’s coming back, but aren’t helpful in terms of determining an exact time.  

When people claim to know that a famine is coming, I again say that I’m skeptical.  It could be a ploy to get people emotionally connected with the speaker (I’m not accusing this particular speaker of that…just an option to think through).  But since we can’t definitely tell that it was God speaking to _______, we have to say that there’s an equal chance that it was a demon that was speaking to ________.  I don’t mean to get weird with this email, but since there’s no way to be 100% certain that it was God, you must be open to it being from someone else.

If a preacher says, “God has told me to love Him and love others,” I can get on board with that.  (see Matthew 22:36-40).  But if he tells me a famine is coming, I have to throw up the red flag of caution.

Hope this helps.  I pray the Lord’s blessings on you as you exercise biblical discernment.

–Ben

Do you have any further thoughts or contradictions?

 

Can you control your emotions?

Have you ever heard somebody say that they can’t help getting angry? What about, “I just worry?” How about, “I can’t help it…I just get fearful when…” What are emotions? Wickipedia lists some. Here’s what they say (click here for more information from Wikipedia):

Distress-is an irrational contraction or a fresh opinion that something bad is present at which people think it right to be depressed.

Fear-is an irrational risk aversion or avoidance of an expected risk.

Lust-is an irrational desire or pursuit of an expected good.

Delight-is an irrational swelling or a fresh opinion that something good is present at which people think it right to be mania.

I was pointed to this site and this site today as a resource that a lot of people are using to determine emotional health for themselves and others, both currently and as a projection for a person’s future emotional health. It seems like it could be helpful, at least in determining that a person is adept at functioning emotionally in society…or trying to predict whether they will or not in the future.

My big thing with emotions is that I see them as an overflow of the heart, and so I want always drive myself, and others whom I’m counseling, back to the heart issues. Emotions are an overflow of what one believes to be true about God, others, and life. It’s true that “I can’t help myself” when it comes to emotions. In the heat of the moment, emotions just come out. But I want to know why I react the way I do…why do I get angry, upset, afraid, etc. Emotions aren’t a bad thing…they’re like a fire alarm. They tell you that something else is going on. In some cases, what’s going on are sinful thoughts, motives, and expectations, all of which can be changed, thereby changing the emotional outcome. Emotions are not in themselves sinful (although they are often accompanied by sinful behavior). The thoughts/desires/attitudes/expectations leading up to the emotions and that drive the emotions may, though, be sinful. To only work on the emotions, trying to change them alone, is surface-level at best. If we can find the underlying heart issue we can repent of the sin that has been driving the emotion. I’m not saying that the EQ test (click the link above) is trying to do only work on emotions. I’m just saying that you can often control your emotions. The work just has to be done before the situation arises.

 
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