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Study No.1

 

The first response of Adam in the garden of Eden after he had sinned provides us with an insight into his emotions:

 

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid ."

 

For the first time (and certainly not the last) the emotion of fear was experienced by a human being. It led to Adam hiding from God. The damage was done. The emotional dimension of life would never be the same again.

 

[1]  WHAT ARE 'DAMAGED EMOTIONS'?

 

They are emotional feelings, responses and perspectives that are the product of wounds and injuries that have been done to our inner life. In more extreme cases, the emotional pain may have been so great that their memory has been suppressed to the point where there is no recollection of the occasion/s of the wounding.

 

[2]  WHAT CAUSES THESE DAMAGED EMOTIONS?

 

These wounds and injuries have been caused by negative words, actions and attitudes inflicted upon us by 'significant others' - often in our childhood and formative years. These causes may be a single event of a traumatic kind or a pattern of abuse and destruction over many years. The kinds of trauma that can have a negative impact can include:

 

1. Rejection - sense of being unloved, unwanted, criticized or crushed

 

2. Parental tyranny - loveless authority that crushes and abuses the spirit (Eph.6/4)

 

3. Parental indifference - producing within the child a sense of worthlessness

 

4. Bereavement - significant loss via death or divorce

 

5. Physical/Sexual abuse - painful memories that haunt the emotions & cripple life.

 

Sadly, many Christians bury the memories rather than face the pain. In doing so, they also bury the possibility of healing. Some believers struggle to face their pain because they believe that, now they are 'saved', they should no longer be afflicted by such realities as dysfunctional emotions.

 

[3]WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS OF DAMAGED EMOTIONS

1.  Defective Self-Image - feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and inadequacy. "I'm no good"."No one could accept me or love me"."God couldn't love someone like me".

 

2.  Inappropriate Guilt - this person is always atoning, apologizing, doing more, trying harder. Satan uses this guilt to further accuse them andcondemn them.They know little, if anything, of the grace of God and the freedom of that grace.

 

3.  Hyper-Sensitivity - these people are prisoners to the opinions of others. They are often very critical by nature because that's how they defend themselves from feelings of rejection. This leads to anxiety, withdrawal, tension and depression.

 

4.  Fear of Failure - this person has been programmed by 'significant others' to both fear and expect failure. The result is one of two extremes. Attempt everything (with the hope of getting something right). Attempt little (with the hope of getting nothing wrong).

 

5.  Dysfunctional Relationships - damaged emotions make it difficult (impossible?) to relate to others healthily and appropriately (Remember Adam and God?). This has powerful implications for the marriage relationship, families and Churches.

 

6.  Repetitive Pattern of Defeat - all the good intentions and resolutions keep being sabotaged by cycle of resolve, defeat, confession, rededication, resolve, defeat, confession…the cycle goes on.

 

Two kinds of Christians are produced by this kind of treadmill experience

 

1.  Those who are disillusioned.The power of the gospel does not seem to work for them. They have no testimony of victory. So they despair. Some become bitter. They begin to pull away. Then they give it all away.

 

2.  Those who are pretenders. These people 'play the game'. They cover their fears and failures with a veneer of spiritual talk and activity and hope their real selves will go undetected.

 

[4]  HOW DO WE FIND HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS

 

1.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the real problem. Dealing with symptoms will be short-term and unsuccessful. Check Romans 8/26:In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

 

2.  Face the damaged emotional area with honesty. Stop denying your feelings and begin to own them as yours. Be authentic. Denial delays deliverance!

 

3.  Ask yourself if you really want to be healed.  Read John 5/6: When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

 

4.  Seek the support of someone you deeply trust. You can't do this on your own! James 5/14-16: Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

(Incidentally, the word translated 'sick' in v.14 is the same as translated 'infirmed' or 'infirmities' or 'weakness' in other places in Scripture - see introductory notes).

 

5.  Acknowledge any responsibility you may have for what happened. However, don't accept responsibility or blame for what others may have done but want to blame you.

 

6.  Forgive the person/s who wronged you.Refusal to forgive will weld shut the doors on your emotional prison.

 

7.  Let Jesus become involved in your painful experience.  He came to heal the broken-hearted (Isaiah 61/1) and His Lordship and Kingdom can extend over all of your life - including your emotional life.

 

CONCLUSION: The principles outlined in this session should be often re-visited during the course of this teaching series. As we journey further in this exploration over the coming weeks, be assured that God's salvation and healing touch can be received in all the areas of our emotional life. Most often this healing is experienced as a process, not an event. The raising of Lazarus was an event. The removal of the grave clothes was a process.

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