Video: Emotions are to the soul what physical sensations are to your bodyOct 08, 2021
Pain isn’t the enemy emotionally anymore than it is physically. Most of us do our best to avoid emotional pain. We bury it. We explain it away.
Think about the necessity of physical pain, though…
About five years ago, my son Judah broke his arm. He tripped on the playground, landed awkwardly as he tried to catch himself, and his forearm snapped in half. Every kid and teacher on the playground actually heard it.
The break was so complete he had to hold the “broken off” part of his arm in place lest it just dangle. The physical wound was obvious. Physical defects and wounds are usually obvious and owned by the person; emotional ones are not. It makes it even more difficult to navigate this when we avoid the tough emotions.
A few years after Judah’s break, my daughter Mini fell from the zip line in our backyard.
She was shaken up a bit, so we took her inside and let her take a warm bath.
An hour or two after the fall, she complained of pain in her wrist. It looked fine (no dangling like Judah’s left arm), but the sting persisted. I drove her to the emergency room and learned she had a small sprain. We discovered this because of the pain.
Or, to say it another way, if she didn’t experience the pain we wouldn’t have known about the sprain.
In the same way physical pain alerts us to the reality that something isn't quite right in our body, emotional pain reveals the truth about our soul. Emotional wounds tell us something’s not quite right.
As Brennan Manning writes,
Whether positive or negative, feelings put us in touch with our true selves. They are neither good nor bad. [Emotions] are simply the truth of what is going on within us.
Another author reminds us,
The Hebrew & Greek words for heart are used almost 1,000 times in Scripture, making it the most anthropological term in the Bible. Your heart is such a big deal to God that He writes about it more than anything else— more than sin, more than works, more than obedience, even more than love. And according to God, the heart designed actually determines the course of your life.
The truth is that the heart is intimately connected to all of life--
- The words we say are birthed in our hearts (Proverbs 10:11, Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45).
- Our heart reveals the motives others may not see in our actions (Proverbs 24:12).
- The things we do— our actions— originate in the heart (Mark 7:21).
-- in order to understand what's really happening around us, we've got to be able to discern pleasure... and pain.
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