“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV).
A healthy Christian family is where each member is free and encouraged to fully experience their emotions. Indeed, our responsibility as Christian parents goes far beyond feeding and clothing our children before going to school or church. We need to teach them to manage all their emotions in a healthy and biblical way.
It starts with our own learning as the adults. Managing your emotions means being able to recognize them, understand them, identify them, name them and express them in order to channel them appropriately. We must continually learn not to suppress or deny our emotions, but also to not let them dominate or define us.
What we are unable to express or what we repress will imprint on us and eventually depress us. Managing emotions is a huge challenge for everyone. Indeed, our human nature is rich in a panoply of emotions and feelings that intermingle every day and throughout the seasons of our lives. The Bible does not deny the ugliness, intensity, beauty or duality of our emotions.
If you have never prayed this way for yourself, your spouse or your family, I invite you to do it simply and sincerely: “Lord, I recognize all the harmful feelings and emotions that are in me. I don't deny them. Help me identify them. I give them to you. Come and extend your thoughts, your fruit into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Come revive this gift in me. Help me live with a measure of love, peace, patience, kindness, joy, self-control and gentleness that will spread an atmosphere of healing in my heart and within my family. In the name of Jesus. Amen!”
This week, don’t forget that the most intense, beautiful life emotionally and spiritually in your relationships is living as a child of God who fully experiences all the emotions that God has created.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.