Encouraging, Living, Reaching

Mental Health and Emotions

Mental Health and Emotions

One of the sessions at our seminar on Mental Health and the Believer addressed the need to deal with emotional damage from our past in order to enjoy full mental health. Emotional pain needs to be identified and addressed properly through true biblical forgiveness in order to be released from it to move on to healing.

We also looked at the need to identify our learned self-protection and coping strategies that build walls around our soul to protect us from the pain of emotional damage. The problem with these walls is that they stifle proper emotional expression and end up damaging us further instead of protecting us as we had expected.

Emotions reflect what we really believe

They are a revelation of our deepest inner being, self-disclosure that leaves us vulnerable to rejection and further hurt BUT also make it possible to connect with others at the deepest of levels. The following three questions were the discussion questions for this session. Please feel free to add your comments to any or all of these questions.

What importance should we give to emotions in our discussion on Mental Health and the Believer?

Emotions play a very important role in our mental health. Sometimes Mental Health and Emotional Health are used interchangeably. Emotions are closely related to our deep inner perception of truth and reality and therefore can be of great help in leading us to the real inner cause of problems. Emotions are more than just “gauges”, they also are powerful motivators in the choices that we make. Joy gives energy while despair drains energy.

How can our fear of emotional expression add to the burden of those suffering from mental illness?

Often we don’t clearly understand what is causing our emotions, we only know what we are feeling and our feelings are very real. Feelings should not be judged or criticized. Stifling our feelings eventually leads to losing a degree of contact with our own inner reality. I believe we are often emotionally numb because we do not allow ourselves to express our emotions in a healthy way.

A refusal to express our emotions is a form of hypocrisy and an implicit statement that the inner person is not to be displayed to others. Caring for someone with a stomach disturbance sometimes means that we need to do some messy cleanup as part of our care. Emotional disturbance may also lead to some messy soulish discharge at times.

We need to be able to deal with this with the same non-judgmental attitude. (For the sake of all involved we do prefer that both of these situations be dealt with out of the public eye as much as possible!)

How could a greater expression of emotion be helpful?

We can all be so emotionally guarded that we have no idea what other people around us are dealing with in their lives. No one else is talking about their emotional struggles so it becomes part of our non-verbal agreement that it is not acceptable to do so. We need to demonstrate that it is acceptable to express our emotions.

I know of no other healthy way to get people to trust you with their deep inner reality. It is also important that we model a healthy expression of emotions. We can express our emotions in a way that drives people away or in a manner that draws them toward us.

These are only a few thoughts on a vast subject. Once more I pray that these questions and comments will lead you in some healthy personal meditation and dialogue with others.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any other author or an official position of the assemblyHUB team.

Eddy Plett

Eddy fellowships at Port of Grace Community Church in Port Colbourne, ON. He and his wife Erna served as missionaries in Italy for 9 years before returning to Canada. His longing is to edify the Church through helping believers overcome their personal struggles in order to be all that the Lord wants them to be.

4 Responses to Mental Health and Emotions

  1. Avatar
    Jeff Hage

    Hard to completely understand where the article is going because it’s so short.
    Emotions can be sinful, and often need to be kept hidden.
    Bitterness is not usually a forgiveness issue as bitterness is always sinful and forgiveness is not always to be granted.
    Complex issues that need discussed and I am really glad to see these topics.
    Keep them coming!

    • Avatar
      Eddy Plett

      Thanks for your input Jeff. The article is short because it is meant to stimulate discussion on the topic. These questions were to be discussed at our seminar but we ended up having very little time to consider them.

      To the extent that our emotions reflect what we really believe and think, I do not believe that the emotions are sinful in themselves. We certainly can make sinful choices based on our emotions. Rather then simply trying to control our emotions we need to examine our thinking and our beliefs that control our emotions.

      I believe that the lack of forgiveness is the greatest reason for bitterness in a person’s life. I also believe that true forgiveness should always be granted. Our forgiveness does not deny the awfulness of the sin against us but it does remove us from prosecuting or judging the person who has sinned against us. Forgiveness and fellowship are 2 completely different realities. For fellowship to be restored there needs to be repentance and change on the part of the one forgiven. Forgiveness is what allows me to be freed from the person who has wronged me. Fellowship allows us to again share our lives together. Forgiveness is action by one party. Fellowship requires like-minded interaction by two parties moved by their own free will.

  2. Avatar
    Jim Paul

    Good article Eddy and comments followed. One of the aspects regarding forgiveness is on the part of those who have been forgiven. I know a number of believers whose spiritual lives went nowhere because they could not accept the fact that they were forgiven. The guilt complex robbed them of the true joy of being forgiven by the Lord and by others they had wronged.
    When Peter was forgiven of his denial of his Lord he not only was genuinely restored but went on to become a spiritual giant, as well as writing his epistles which all believers have benefited from.

  3. Avatar
    Donna Berry

    I understand deeply everything I just read, and what is not witten. This is deep and I am just going there myself. Touching the surface of this thing that has a grand strangle hold on my family. It is a healing. I know God leads me and I keep grasping the root of my problems ever so deep. I am very at lost for words of expression. I will be following this

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