As humans, we are the most rational of all the
world’s created beings. Marvelous as they are, frogs,
dogs, caterpillars, and donkeys don’t have our
capacity to reason. Yet, even with all our powers of logic
and rationality, we’re also emotional beings. One
could argue, justifiably, that emotions rule our lives to a
much greater extent than reason does or ever could.
Emotions are good; without them we’d barely be
human. (What kind of person doesn’t know love,
compassion, sympathy, fear, or sorrow?) Robots might be able
to function emotionlessly; we never could.
Of course, existing in a world of sin, our emotions often
bring us great pain. Sickness, disease, war, poverty, natural
disasters, economic uncertainty, family problems—how
can these not cause the kinds of fear, sorrow, dread, and
sadness that we all are so familiar with?
Look, too, at the emotional reaction our world evoked in
Jesus! “Jesus wept” (John
11:35). “And when he [Jesus] had looked round
about on them with anger” (Mark
3:5). Jesus said, “My soul is exceeding
sorrowful unto death” (Mark
14:34). “When Jesus therefore saw her
weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he
groaned in the spirit, and was troubled” (John
11:33). “He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa.
Well did Hebrews express this incredible truth about our
Lord: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”
4:15). That’s the feelings of our
infirmities, and, as we all know, the feelings of our
infirmities can be pretty bad.
Sadness, pain, sorrow . . . these are not wrong, these are
not sinful. We don’t show a lack of faith, a lack of
trust, when we respond to life’s turmoil with such
emotions. After all, Jesus responded with emotions.
We are, today, thousands of years from the “tree of
2:9). The DNA is wearing thin. We’re damaged
goods, and, contrary to the myths of evolution, we’re
getting only worse.
It’s no wonder, then, that sin has taken its toll
on our emotional health, as well. So often, instead of our
being in control of our emotions, they control us, even to
the point of pushing us into radically wrong choices that
cause us even more grief and sorrow. Fortunately, that
doesn’t always need to be the case. The Lord has
something better for us.
This quarter’s lessons look at human emotions and
give us biblical principles on how we can understand our
emotions and seek the power of the Lord to bring them under
His loving sovereignty. We’ll look at Bible
characters, focusing on their emotional reactions to whatever
befell them, good and bad, and ask ourselves the important
question: What can we learn from their experiences that can
help us with ours?
Of course, some people—especially those whose
emotional problems are caused by a physical problem, such as
a chemical imbalance—need professional help when
available, though in no situation should we limit the
potential power of God to bring healing to any life.
It’s our prayer that this quarter’s lessons
will, in the context of understanding our emotions, help us
reach out to the Lord, who has bestowed on us the greatest
emotion of all: love. Finally, no matter our emotional ups
and downs, may each of us learn to bask in that love,
especially in the downs, and then through God’s grace
reflect that love to others. Because, in the end, no matter
our sorrows, “love never fails” (1
Cor. 13:8, NIV).
Dr. Julian Melgosa is dean of the School of Education
& Psychology at Walla Walla University.
Giardina Sabbath School Study
Jerry Giardina of Pecos usually prepares a
series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He
includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry
has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures
this quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are linked from each lesson and
links to the whole quarter's Helps are provided here.
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