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Emotions and Our Health

Our church has a Sabbath School Quarterly that gives a daily lesson to read and study scripture from the Bible each morning throughout the quarter. We are just starting the new quarter that is titled: Jesus Wept, The Bible and Human Emotions. Sunday the 26th and Monday the 27th lessons were very powerful and I will share them here. If you want to access the daily lessons, click to the site here and select Current Lesson: Sabbath School Lesson


Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Samuel 13, Gal. 5:22, Col. 3:12–14, Luke 19:41–44, John 16:20–24.

Memory Text:
” ‘I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy’ ” (John 16:20, NKJV).

      Emotions are a vital part of the human personality. They can be powerful motivators, both for good and for evil. And, depending on the emotions, they make us happy, sad, fearful, or joyous.
“Positive” emotions can bring a feeling of satisfaction and well-being; “negative” ones tend to cause pain and anguish. Though the first ones can promote mental health, a prolonged exposure to “negative” emotions may bring about behavioral and relational problems. Thus, emotions can play an important part in our overall well-being.

God wants us to enjoy the effects of positive emotions. However, because of sin, we often face the adverse effects of negative emotional experiences. Bible characters were not immune to emotional ups and downs either. Some succeeded in gaining control over them; others, losing control, allowed negative emotions to lead them into wrong actions.

The relationship between emotions and behavior is not clear and direct. At times painful emotions may drive us to our knees in order to seek God as the ultimate source of help and support. At other times struggles may cause people to give up faith entirely.

How crucial, then, that we learn more about our emotions and how they impact our lives.

Sunday 26. December 2010

Read 2 Samuel 13, a story packed with adverse emotional experiences. In the midst of this turmoil, people ended up inflicting much physical and emotional pain on each other. The consequences of their behavior touched the entire royal family, impacting even future generations.

What emotional states can be identified in the following participants?





Amnon’s “love” for Tamar could not have been true love, but rather a strong sexual drive, because as soon as he achieved his goal he “hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her” (vs. 15, NIV). Amnon’s experience illustrates emotional extremes: uncontrolled passion (in the context of an incestuous relationship) and hatred. Behaviors performed under such emotional states almost always will be unbalanced and cause serious consequences. Amnon’s “love” turned almost instantly into hatred. He disdained his sister’s final plea and drove her out of his quarters by force.

Tamar was truly the victim. She did not permit any of Amnon’s advances, which frustrated him. She served her brother in obedience to the king. And when Amnon’s intentions became clear, she did her best to dissuade him and to outline the devastating consequences of such a wicked act. Being determined to do what he wanted, Amnon was not ready to seek sound advice. So he proceeded with his plan.

As any woman who has suffered rape or abuse, Tamar must have felt angry, humiliated, and used; she surely suffered with significantly lowered self-esteem. Her brother Absalom did not offer much relief, but instead advised her to keep silent. However, Absalom devised a plan to kill Amnon in order to avenge her rape. (Besides, getting rid of Amnon increased his chances to sit on the throne of Israel.) David, father of all involved, experienced anger and grief over these events.

When have you experienced hatred, sadness, fear, rage, or jealousy? How did you deal with them? What do you wish you had done differently?

Monday, 27. December 2010

Positive Emotions

Negative emotional states such as hatred, worry, fear, rage, and jealousy produce immediate physiological responses: a pounding heart, tense muscles, dryness of the mouth, cold sweat, butterflies in the stomach, and other physical manifestations. Longtime exposure to these symptoms have been associated with cardiac and digestive complications.

In contrast, positive emotional states such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience are associated with a sense of well-being, a positive outlook, and an optimal relationship with others and with God. Positive psychology, a newly developed and widely accepted branch of psychology, aims at the promotion of positive emotions in order to obtain happiness and to prevent mental illness. In fact, there is evidence that harboring certain negative emotions will adversely affect health and longevity; in contrast, the promotion of a positive outlook can promote health and longevity. In other words, the more positive your outlook and emotions, the better overall health you can enjoy.

Read Galatians 5:22. How should the fruit of the Spirit make a difference in the way people experience life? 

Read Colossians 3:12–14. What is the most outstanding positive emotion according to Paul? What is the meaning of “clothe yourselves” (NIV) as expressed in this passage? What consequences follow when someone puts into practice Paul’s words in this passage? 

Though love is more than an emotion, it is still the supreme emotion. God is love, and it is His plan for His children to experience love for others and from others; He wants us to know what it means to love God and to be loved by Him. Love brings about an array of other positive feelings and emotions that can be translated into highly desirable behaviors.

What has been your own experience with how your emotional state impacts your actions? Why is it important not to make important decisions amid a flurry of emotions, be they positive or negative? 

The above passages are from the Seventh-day Adventist Church quarterly study guide and are not my writings.

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