Introduction: You’re reading Part 7 in a blog mini-series on Emotional Intelligence. Read Part 1: Emotions: God’s Idea, Part 2: Why We Feel What We Feel, Part 3: Good News about Good Moods, Part 4: What Went Wrong?, Part 5: Our Emotions and Our Bodies, and Part 6: How’s Your EI? I’ve developed this series from material in my book Soul Physicians.
Emotions Are God-Given
Of course emotions are God-given because God created us in His image, including His emotional image. As John Piper notes, “God’s emotional life is infinitely complex beyond our ability to fully comprehend.”
While our emotions are not infinitely complex, they are complex. So, in ministering to others, let people have their feelings. Face people’s feelings, don’t fear them, don’t run from them.
Since emotional maturity includes experiencing life deeply and acting on feelings wisely, help people to face their feelings. Point them out. Explore them. Think about them.
Emotional Maturity Is Learned
Explore where your spiritual friends learned how to handle their emotions. Trace their emotional education to its roots. Then help your spiritual friends to unlearn (put off) unhealthy emotional living and learn (put on) healthy emotionality.
Bring rationality to emotionality. Explore the Scriptures with your spiritual friends to discern how they can respond to their emotions and to understand how their emotions reveal their deepest attitudes toward God.
Spiritual Discipline Is Vital to Emotional Health
Help people to tune their whole person—body and soul, mind and emotion—to be ready recipients of God’s grace. Teach the spiritual disciplines—like prayer, biblical meditation (Psalm 1), silence, solitude, simplicity, submission, service, etc.
Help people to understand that the Psalms are “emotional mentors.” Meditating on, applying, and paraphrasing psalms help us to face our feelings face-to-face with God.
The Rest of the Story
In our next post, we shift gears considerably as we move from God’s design for our emotions to sin’s distortion of our emotions, feelings, and moods. Read all about it in Emotions Gone Bad and Mad.
Join the Conversation
Of the three foundational principles of helping people with their emotional maturity, which one do you most want to add to your tool box of spiritual friendship?