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You CAN Change Your Emotions
Yes, you CAN change your emotions. You are not a helpless victim of hurt feelings, irritability, and anger. We can and must learn to alter our tempers and deny our feelings, when necessary, and teach our children to do likewise. 

Colossians 3:8 (NAS) tells us: “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth.” Since here and many places elsewhere in scripture, we are commanded to control our emotions, it’s safe to assume God gives us the ability to do so. God tells us what to do, and that we can do it, so all we need to do is obey Him. In the same way, we have the ability to teach our children to control their emotions. All they need to do it obey us, as we wisely discipline them and train them according to God’s word.

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.”
– Deuteronomy 30:11

-Excerpt from “Raising Godly Tomatoes” 

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Not All Emotions Are Good  (From “Raising Godly Tomatoes”)
It is not wrong to have emotions, but unbridled emotions are dangerous and potentially devastating. Adults who feel righteous indignation upon seeing the innocent suffer, or children who grieve the loss of a grandparent, act properly and nobly. But not all emotions, displayed freely, are good. Both the adult who loses his temper when frustrated, and the child who throws a fit to get his way, are equally reprehensible. Emotions are attributes of God Himself, engendered in us when He “created man in His own image”. The challenge is not to eliminate emotions, but to manage them in ways pleasing to God and in accord with His image.

Because God is gracious, He helps us in this task of becoming like Him, by revealing to us in His word, when we are to feel certain emotions and to what extent. We are to “hate” evil, for example. We are to “be miserable and mourn and weep” over our own sins. We are to “rejoice” in Him. We are to “love” our neighbor. And so on. In addition to His direct instructions, God offers His example, so that we might imitate Him. Thus, when Exodus tells us that God is “slow to anger,” we too must be slow to anger. When the Psalms describe Him as compassionate and longsuffering, we are to seek to be the same. 

Jesus is, of course, our supreme example. His emotional repertoire was vast and we are given many examples thereof. Jesus was “consumed with zeal” when He saw God’s house being misused. He “felt compassion” for the lost and taught them, and for the sick and healed them. He “wept” when His dear friend Lazarus died. His soul was “deeply grieved” when He prayed in the Garden. And ultimately, Jesus demonstrated “love”, beyond compare, by laying down His very life for our sakes. In all that He did, He set an example for us to follow and gave us the power to do so.

Along with the biblical descriptions of wisely managed emotions, the Bible also gives us many examples of mismanaged and unrestrained emotions, beginning with Cain who murdered his own brother in anger, to Moses who lost his temper and struck the rock, to the malice of the Jewish leaders who sought to put the Son of God to death. Never are these displays excused because the perpetrators did not have the ability to control their tempers. Apparently God felt they did. In the next few chapters I am going to discuss emotions as they relate to parenting small children and how, in practical ways, we can help our children become masters of their own spirits and hence live the rest of their lives free from the bonds of emotional slavery. 

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth”
– Exodus 34:6

 

 

 

As you can probably tell, I hadn’t lost all of the weight from my previous pregnancy before this one came along, so I’m gonna have a lot of workin’ out to do after this baby!!!  Yikes! 🙂

Most Christians are confused when it comes to the issue of judging.  Should Christians judge?  Should they be accepting and supportive of sin because the alternative is to judge and that would be wrong?  Fortunately, scripture doesn’t leave us in the dark on the issue of judging.  As I was researching, I came across this article.  It’s a thorough, yet simple article about the issue of whether or not Christians should judge.  I found it both enlightening and convicting, as I have been guilty of wrongly judging others in the past.  I was missing crucial scriptures and only had a partial picture of what righteous judgment was.  Sometimes I made right judgments, but the delivery was all wrong.  Sometimes I made right judgments, but didn’t follow through with encouragement.   And I can definitely think of a time or two that I just flat out wrongly judged someone (two people immediately came to mind when I read the section about bad judging). 

So, read the article.  I found it very helpful to have such a great number of scriptures regarding the matter all in one place.  Let me know your thoughts or if you have anything to add.  This is an issue that has been on my mind a lot (especially since my pastor preached on it about a month ago) so I welcome more scripture and Christian perspective to add to my understanding! 

“Should Christians Judge?”

by,
Mason Barrett and B. Waldrop

You have probably heard this saying many times: “The Bible says not to judge.”  Christians and non-believers both use this statement often to try to avoid exposure of wrongdoing in their lives, and yes, the Bible does say for us not to judge, but although it does say this what does it really mean?  Take the statement “don’t drink and drive” for example and ask yourself what it means.  Does it mean never drink anything while driving?  Of course not, it means do not drink alcohol (bad drinking) and drive, but non-alcoholic drinks (good drinking) is ok.  You have probably heard this saying many times:  “You should not judge a book by its cover,” but what if the cover of the book reads “The Satanic Bible?”  Should we make a judgment about the Satanic Bible or should we open the book to investigate?  The answer is obvious.  We should avoid this book because of the warning sign written on the cover.  If we are unsure of a warning sign we should approach the situation with extreme caution.  For example, if we drive down an unfamiliar road and see a sign that reads “Dangerous Curve,” we do not usually turn around and go home; instead we approach the curve with caution.  If we are unable to determine whether something is safe or unsafe, it is safer to avoid the situation.  1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NIV says: “Test everything.  Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”  King James Version of this same verse passage says: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  So we definitely should judge all things (movies, books, music, and behavior of people).
When the Bible says not to judge it is talking about the bad type of judging.  So in order not to practice the bad kind of judging, we must understand the two types of judging.

Two Types of Judging

1. Discerning (Good Judging)

  • Identifying the spirit behind an action

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV says: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 4:2 NIV says: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.”  Notice that in this verse we are told to rebuke and encourage; so we should not correct if we do not encourage.

Titus 2:15 NIV says: “These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.”

Ephesians 5:11 NIV says: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV says: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.”

So, believers should judge all matters and issues.

I John 4:1 NIV says: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  Believers should test the spirits behind a person’s action to see if the action brings glory to God.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, judged someone in the church.  See 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.  Then see 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 to see where Paul encourages the church to forgive the person.
 

2. Condemning and Criticizing (Bad Judging)

  • Using people’s sin as an excuse to lower or belittle them.
  • Harsh punishment without encouragement to follow.
  • Cursing a person or prophesying destruction into their lives.  Note: it is ok to warn someone of possible consequences, but it is not ok to say things which may discourage the person or lead them to believe that the worst is the only outcome they will have.
  • Sentencing with no mercy.
  • Correcting someone when guilty of the same thing.

People who practice the bad kind of judging often are guilty of the same sin they are using to belittle another person.  Jesus addressed this scenario in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:41-42, and these are the verses which people sometimes twist in order to defend their sinful desires.  The problem is that people sometimes quote Matthew 7:1 only which reads “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (NIV), but one must also read verses 2-5 to understand the point Jesus was making.  The point Jesus was making was not to judge someone of the same sin we have in our own lives.  Another way to look at the point Jesus was making is by answering this question: How can a person help someone escape quicksand if that person is also stuck in the same quicksand?

Paul echoes the point Jesus was making in Romans 2:1-4.  This passage reads: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (NIV).

Christians should judge and Christians should not judge – both are true.
 

What makes judging right or wrong depends on the spirit, motive and attitude in which judging is being done.  So, the conclusion is that Christians should judge the actions of other people, but Christians should not make conclusions about the degree of punishment that a person will receive from God.  The only conclusion that a Christian can accurately make is that if a person does not accept God’s plan of salvation, that person will be separated from God throughout all eternity, because this is what the Bible tells us (see Revelation 20:11-15).

Bad Judgment Statement:  “You are going to hell because of what you do.”
Good Judgment Statement:  “God will help you with your problem and God wants to save you from spiritual death if you choose to let Him.”

If we are going to make a negative comment to a person about their behavior, we should be just as quick to give encouragement, and tell the person about the rewards of repentance.

God, who is the ultimate judge, is full of grace and mercy, so we should also be full of grace and mercy.

James 2:12-13 NIV says: Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Christians should remember and understand that we too were once lost.
Titus 3:3-5 NIV says: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”

Non-Christians are unable to make sound judgments about Christians.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV says: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he (non-Christian) may instruct him (Christian)?  But we (Christians) have the mind of Christ.”

When people hear the word “judge” or “judgment” bad things usually come to mind, but often, good things come out of judgment.  A judge rewards a person who has done the right thing.   After death, everyone will face judgment.   “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV).  For non-believers, the judgment mentioned will be the Great White Throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15; where all who trust their own good works for salvation are to be judged according to their works and Jesus will say “depart from me.”, because the works of men cannot redeem them from their sins.  Only God’s sacrifice can redeem us from our sin.  People who put their trust in Jesus alone for their salvation will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ which is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:10; where they will receive what is due to them according to what they did, but they will be told to enter into everlasting life because they are covered by the blood of God’s sacrifice- Jesus.  For people who trusted God, their final judgment will be a good event, but non-believers will face a bad judgment.

People often do not come to God and receive salvation because they are afraid their sins will be exposed and they are afraid they will be judged (see John 3:19-21).  They do not understand that God is full of grace and mercy and that it pleases Him when men confess their wrongs.  Christians should also be full of grace and mercy, but this is not always the case. It is a shameful and sad situation when church people treat others like they are trash because of something they did or because of an unjustified judgment. God knows about these situations and He will hold the slanderers, unmerciful, and graceless accountable.