In managing emotions some claim that there are other ways to deal with these problems of emotional distress, anguished emotions, and healing of hurts. I mention them because, unfortunately, they are so commonly attempted by believers today. They go by different names. They are called “twelve-step” programs, support groups, encounter groups, group therapy sessions, etc. In some of these programs there are often certain common elements, which have a contrary impact on biblical solutions to emotions in turmoil. Let’s take a moment to consider three such "solutions."
One such solution in managing emotions is the open confession of sins before people who are generally not a part of the problem or the solution. People in these groups often seek some sort of catharsis for their pain through the public confession of sin, sometimes theirs, but more often the sins of those that "hurt them. But in doing this
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How to Keep Emotions in Turmoil
they often fail to seek the biblical reconciliation that is required by Scripture, which says, "First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24, NIV). So, instead of going to the other party and seeking a biblical solution, they go to others and complain about those who are not there to defend themselves. You are told in Scripture to confess your faults to one another, not to confess someone else’s faults to other people, (James 5:16). Such actions boil down to simple slander.
Two is the act of ventilation. In seeking relief by blaming others for their sins and failures, these people are guilty of gossip and slander, which is directed toward people whom they claim are the "cause” of their problems. However, the people being attacked are not there to defend themselves and thereby give the whole story to the group, a story that may be shocking in its many “missed” details. Solomon described this error very well when he said, "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him” (Proverbs 18:17, NIV).
Three is meeting for the purpose of “telling one’s story.” This of course results in rehearsing the problem with all its original, perceived reality and disappointed desires. The counselees are encouraged to do this week by week. Therefore
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, those things necessary for a solution are defined right out of the program. The consequence is that solutions never develop, and the flames of the emotionally distressed are fanned anew every week. They often end up playing “can you top this” as they tell their story: “You think your story is bad, let me tell you mine.” They shift the blame wholly to the other person, whether that is justified or not. They see themselves simply as victims, even though they may have played a major role in victimizing the other person.
What is the actual outcome of these efforts at “healing"? The problem grows, hatred increases, malice multiplies, and emotions become more frayed than ever. There is never a solution. Why? Because not only are the steps necessary to solve the problem never explored, but those things necessary to keep the problem alive and growing are continually practiced by these groups in the name of “healing.” It is fascinating how many churches have embraced these bondage makers (wolves) disguised as problem solvers (in sheep’s clothing). This should remind us that there is a price to pay for unchristian thinking. That price is increased bondage to sin and turmoil of soul.
What is the real solution managing emotions? It is the one we discussed earlier. Healing the emotions is (1) convincing the mind that realities have changed and (2) focusing on new desires, instead of ones that are no longer a rational option. Having done this, emotions change. The bottom line is "you feel what you feel because you think what you think.”
Don’t fall into the trap of the bondage makers. In managing emotions, experience the freedom of “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”