Getting emotional — five instructions on getting your feelings in check

Proverbs 19

I get so emotional, baby.

Most church people stand at two emotional extremes: the overtly zealous and the staunchly rigid. You’re either a hand-raiser during worship or you’re not. You either say “amen” after each profound point (whether or not it was intended to be so) or you behave like you’re in a museum.  It doesn’t matter, really, as long as you’re richly in love with God.

God knows we’re emotional.  Being a Christian doesn’t make you a robot — in fact, I’m a pretty emotional dude, and I don’t regret admitting that. There are plenty of people just like me. That’s why He inspired Solomon to write Proverbs 19, which is rife with colorful instruction about our passions and how to handle some of them.

(I encourage you to read the passage yourself.  I’m not covering all of it, obviously, and you’ll be missing out on other good stuff if you don’t take a look.)

Don’t be excited about something you don’t know anything about.  (v. 2) Zeal looks good on paper, but you just end up with bruises and hurt feelings in the end. I’m talking to you, Christians who don’t know where the book of Zacharias is in the Bible, among other things.

If you’re wise, you’ll be patient. And vice versa. (v. 11) Oh, the miracle I am with the many urgencies to punch someone in the face in my lifetime.  But many people have fulfilled this impulse.  Take a deep breath and avoid getting violent or angry.  You’ll look like the bigger person AND you’ll actually be displaying the smarts.

Leaders need to be temperate. (v. 12)  Being a fiery leader at times is fine, but having a hot head can make you look like a jerk/fool/hypocrite (see #1). Having a temper is a weakness — if you can keep calm, you can get a lot more done and earn the respect of your peers pretty quickly.

Living with emotional girls is painfully difficult. (v. 13)  And we all know girls that I am talking about. This verse does not say it’s cool to ditch your girlfriend/fiance/spouse because she can’t stop crying uncontrollably. Perhaps it’s a warning for girls that being emotional is fine, but being intentionally malicious and manipulative with your emotions makes prison time seem like a vacation.

Hot-headed people need a spanking.  (v. 19)  Some people always have to be right or have the last word.  Look at your Facebook feeds for the conversation with 4573 comments on it.  This verse actually implies leaving these people alone — they’re going to get their punishment, eventually.  You’re wasting your time and energy trying to convince them to stop being a jerk.

By the way, I’m not the hand-raiser type.  But sometimes you’ll catch yourself doing some of these:


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