August 24, 2014

Jesus Was (8) – Jesus was Emotionally Healthy

By Ptr. Genesis Tan

This morning, let us focus on an aspect of Jesus that is often overlooked: His emotions. Jesus is our model of perfect spiritual and emotional maturity; there is much we can learn from His example.

1. Jesus was Authentic with His Emotions

What does authentic mean? It means genuine, real, true. Jesus allowed himself to feel and express his emotions. He was not ashamed to show His real self

A. Jesus expressed His Anger

Jesus shows us that it is alright to be angry — provided we express our anger at the right moment, at the right time, at the right intensity.

– John 2:13-16. Jesus drove the money changers and merchants away from the temple

– Mark 10:13-16. Jesus was indignant when the disciples prevented the little children from coming to Him

– Mark 3:1-6. Jesus looked around at them in anger and was grieved that their hearts are hardened.

B. Jesus expressed His Grief

In times of sorrow, Jesus did not try to hide his emotions. He cared enough to weep. Grief is an integral part of the healing process, and Jesus showed by His example that it’s okay to express grief.

– Matthew 14:13. Jesus withdrew to be alone when he learned of the death of John the Baptist

– John 11:32-35. Jesus wept when he saw the grief caused by the death of Lazarus.

– Hebrews 5:7. Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save Him from death.

C. Jesus expressed His Distress

Unlike Jesus, we wear masks in public and deny our distress.

– Mark 14:32-34. In Gethsemane, Jesus began to be distressed and agitated, and He said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death.”

– Mark 15:34. On the cross, Jesus expressed His distress: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

The Bible is full of people who cried out to God in times of distress: see Job, Lamentations, and the Psalms of Lament (e.g., Psalms 13:1-4 or Psalms 22:1-2). Psalms 51:17 says “the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.”

2. Jesus was not Emotionally Excessive

While Jesus can express anger, grief, and distress, He was also not emotionally excessive. In His dealings with most people during his ministry, He was gentle and forgiving.

When the disciples wanted to call fire down on the Samaritans, he said no. When men came to arrest Him, he healed the soldier whose ear had been cut off.

In Closing

As a carpenter, Jesus knew to use the right tools for the right situation. In the same way, He used the right emotions to deal with people.

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a season for everything, and a time for every matter under heaven… “a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Some ideas that may help us follow the example of Jesus:

– Create a safe place in your home to express emotions, between spouses, between parents and children

– Find a Small Group for support. Find a group that will encourage and not judge

– Learn to express our emotions with words. We can express our emotions to friends who care and to God through prayers. The book of Psalms is filled with examples of emotions verbally expressed.

– Understand yourself more. Understand why you react the way you do, why certain things make you angry. Sometimes, you’ll need to understand more than just yourself; you may need to understand your family history. And in some cases you may need professional help. Our negative emotions are warning signs, and ignoring the warning doesn’t make the underlying problem go away. Knowing ourselves is a lifelong, learning process that is part of discipleship.

– Surrender your heart to Jesus. We don’t have to let our emotions control us. Draw closer to God and let the Holy Spirit lead you. Jesus said, “come to me all of you who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.”

May God help us, and grant us wisdom so we can follow the example of Jesus, so we can be authentic, and not be excessive with our emotions.