Expressing negative emotions
It’s funny cause we talk so much about the negative implications of feeling-based thinking that pervades the churchianity and society. However, we also don’t acknowledge God from an emotional level. Engaging God on an emotional level is amazing and good. We should not let our bad experiences with people who say they are Christians but only obey their feelings stop us from engaging God with one aspect of how He created us.
God doesn’t want us to be emotional automatons. David, being a man after God’s own heart, is one obvious example. As I talked about in the previous post on overcoming the anger phase, many of the Psalms were written with anger, bitterness, and other “negative” emotions in mind. However, they are almost always reframed by the end of the Psalm away from the human perspective to God’s grace, mercy, and provision. They are some of the quintessential examples of how to move the mind from the worldly situation to the spiritual reality.
Engaging God on this type of emotional level is good. He doesn’t want us to pretend everything is fine when we’re feeling crappy about the situation. Rather, He wants us to come to Him when we feel hurt, when we feel like we are in agony, and when we feel like we are struggling with anger or bitter.
This is the concept of never going down with problems.
On an organization level, you always escalate your large problems with your superior. You don’t express your bitterness with those under your leadership. You don’t express your anger or discontent with those under your leadership. You don’t complain to those under your leadership.
You can brainstorm with those under you. You can ask their advice. You can even delegate problems to those under you. But you are still the leader and one in authority — once you start to rely on them to solve your problems or you foist leadership of the problems onto your subordinates you will have issues.
It’s no wonder when you present needy emotional outburts to women that they become unattracted. Why does she become unattracted? She becomes unattracted because she loses respect. Why does she lose respect? Because your leadership is in question. You went to the wrong person for guidance with your problems. Instead of going to God for guidance with your problem you went to your wife. Your wife is not your leader. When she is placed in a situation where she feels like she needs to lead she feels like she has to “mother” which makes her lose respect and become unattracted.
This is why you have to be very careful with negative emotions coupled with problems. It is not necessarily the negative emotions that lead to the issues but foisting your problems upon someone else to make decisions about how to fix them.
You undermine God’s authority when you ask those under you to lead in a situation.
This doesn’t mean a wife should respond emotionally by refusing to have sex or divorce in these circumstances, but it also means that there tends to be some fault of the man as well. (Note: it is also true where a man can do everything Biblically and a woman can still divorce just as a woman can do everything Biblically and a husband can still leave. Hosea comes to mind. Those cases are exceedingly rare, and chance are you are not one of them because we often encourage negative behavior with our own behavior via behavioral cycles).
Engaging God with the rest of your heart
I haven’t seen anything posted about this in the manosphere, so I might as well talk about it. Because we think that emotional displays tend to be “bad” men have started to become walking automatons even with our positive emotions. This is false.
In fact, in the Scriptures there are 7 types of Hebrew praise and worship. They are all forms of physical, emotional, and spiritual acts of worship:
1.YADAH – yaw-daw – to worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absoulute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”. Scriptures: Gen. 29:35, 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21, Psalms 9:1, 28:7, Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18, Isaiah 12:1 3034
2.TEHILLAH -teh-hil-law- to sing, to laud. A spontaneous new song. Singing from a melody in your heart by adding words to it. This refers to a special kind of singing-it is singing unprepared, unrehearsed songs. Brings tremendous unity to the body of Christ. Singing straight to God. Can move into tehilah anytime. Singing it the second time would be ZAMAR. It is the praise that God inhabits (sits enthroned on)(Psalm 22:3) God manifests Himself in the mids of exuberant singing.
3.BARAK – baw-rak – To kneel or to bow. To give reverence to God as an act of adoration. It implies to continual conscious giving place to God. Blessing the Lord, extolling virtue. There is a sense of kneeling and blessing God as an act of adoration in the word BARAK. Physical application – To bow, kneel or to do this with the intent in my heart that He is my KING and I yield to HIM. I am acknowledging Him as KING and GOD. SONG: BLESS THE LORD Scripture: Psalm 103 tells us how to bless the Lord and then goes on to enumerate those blessings: loving kindness, satisfaction redemption, honor, renewal. We bless the Lord by remembering all of these things.
4.HALAL Scripture: 1 Chron. 16:4, 23:5,30, 25:3, 29:13, Neh. 12:24 (this word appears over 110 times in the OT) 1984 halal (haw-lal’); a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify:
5.TOWDAH -to-daw -To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is common- ly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body. The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise. The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my my Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying. It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.
6.ZAMAR – zaw-mar – To sing with instruments. To make music accompanied by the voice. One of the musical verbs for praise in the book of psalms. It carries the idea of making music in praise to God as in Psalm 92:1. The word ZAMAR also means to touch the strings, and refers to praise that involves instrumental worship as in Psalm 150. The one word is usually translated “sing praises”.
7.SHABACH – shaw-bakh – to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4
Much of this type of praise is lost on our culture. I find it ironic that lifting hands, dancing, and other types of physical and emotional worship of God is frowned upon in most denominations in the Church.
As I have a more charasmatic background I’ve been more open to this from the start, but it is only recently that I have begun to realize how much of that attitude is ungodly. It’s not wrong to celebrate before God, especially in a raucous manner. In fact, because of everything He has done for us wouldn’t it be wrong to NOT celebrate before Him in a raucous manner?
The parable of the debtor comes to mind:
Luke 7:47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Should it offend our sensibilities when we see someone give a shout of praise to God? Or should it offend us when those weep openly on the street because of forgiveness? Or should it offend us when people dance in Church? Or should it offend us if we lift up our hands to God? Hardly. I think we should be doing those things too, if only we truly knew the depths of what God has done for us.
David, in particular, is well known for dancing escapade:
2 Samuel 6:12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was [h]wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. 16 Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. […]
20 But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.” 23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
David is not afraid to pretty much go stark naked and dance with joy before God. The funny thing is Michal’s criticism is much like I think many of us would give people we saw today who are dancing in church: “Wow, you’re crazy.. why would you do that?” One can only imagine how silly David looked dancing just like many of our brethern in the Church.
However, David’s response is better and we should take note. That which He was doing in celebration of God is nothing to be ashamed about. How I look and how I am esteemed is nothing compared to my expression of joy before God. That is a man who knows his priorities right there, and it is a strong masculine response against a perceived slight on his character. He doesn’t defend himself rather instead He defends God.
No wonder he is named a man after God’s own heart.
In this we are not *led* by our emotions, but they participate fully and harmoniously in how passionate we are to be for God because of what He has done for us.
Edit: additional reading on emotionally engaging God: