Every Day Light
Moving toward maturity
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." (v. 23)
For reading & meditation:
We continue meditating on the right way to handle our negative feelings. We said yesterday that the two wrong ways to handle hurting emotions are to deny them or express them. Denial pushes them down inside us, while expression dumps them on to other people or things. Neither of these, in my view, is a Biblical way of dealing with negative emotions. In fact, recent research by some psychologists shows that the uncontrolled expression of negative feelings can compound, rather than clear up, one's emotional difficulties. In my judgement, the correct and Biblical way to handle negative emotions is to acknowledge them fully before God and share with Him how we feel. Now understand clearly what I am saying, for at this point many have responded to this advice by coming to God when they are hurt or sorrowful and saying: "Lord, please forgive me for feeling hurt." That misses the point entirely. A Christian psychologist puts the issue most effectively when he says: "We are not to pretend that we feel penitent when we feel hurt." When our stomachs are churning with grief, sorrow or hurt, we must come before the One who sees and knows everything, and pray a prayer something like this: "Lord, right now I am hurting more than I think I can endure. I feel like screaming, running away or hitting somebody. I don't want to feel like this, dear Lord - but I do. Thank You for loving me as I am. Help me now to handle my feelings in a way that glorifies You and honours Your Name." When we pray a prayer like that - and mean it - we are on the way to maturity.
O Father, help me not just to receive this concept into my mind and do nothing about it, but enable me to put it to work in my daily Christian living. I ask this for the honour and glory of Your peerless and precious Name. Amen.
Come to http://www.cwr.org.uk for more inspirational devotions by Selwyn Hughes.