Nancy was a college student with an inability to express the anger and resentment she felt. “My roommate gets to the point sometimes where she just explodes emotionally to let off steam. I have deep feelings too, but I’m not sure that a Christian is supposed to let off steam.”
I opened my Bible to Psalm 109:1-13 and read David’s angry words against an enemy. “What’s that doing in the Bible?” Nancy gasped. “How could David pray all those evil things about his enemy? That’s pure hatred.”
“David’s words didn’t surprise God,” I answered. “God already knew what he was thinking and feeling. David was simply expressing his pain and anger honestly to his God.”
I encouraged Nancy that when she is able to dump her hurt and hatred before God she probably won’t dump it on her roommate in a destructive way. I also reminded her that David was as honest about his need for God as he was about expressing his feelings. He closed the psalm by praying: “Help me, O LORD my God. . . . With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD” (verses 26, 30).
I think the way David acknowledged his feelings is healthy. If you come to your prayer time feeling angry, depressed or frustrated, and then mouth a bunch of pious platitudes as if God doesn’t know how you feel, do you think He is pleased? Not unless He’s changed His opinion about hypocrisy. In God’s eyes, if you’re not real, you’re not right.
Acknowledging your emotions also involves being real in front of a few trusted friends. During his travels, Paul had Barnabas, Silas or Timothy to lean on. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expressed His grief to His inner circle of Peter, James and John. If you have two or three people like this in your life, you are truly blessed.
Dr. Anderson, Freedom in Christ and Harvest House Publishers