Emotions in the Psalms

The Psalms show a variety of emotions written down for our help today. They include Joy Abandonment (feeling alone), Fear, Gratitude (being thankful), Anger, Contentment, Depression (giving up all hope), Disappointment, Uncertainty, Restless, Outrage (over an injustice), Praise. The Psalms are adept and precise in labeling feelings. Perhaps we should follow the example of Psalmists in being nuanced and precise in clarifying and differentiating how we feel. Scientists have found that understanding and distinguishing negative emotions is detoxifying. If we can have the right attitude to our emotions we may experience the higher peaks of joy and the skills to handle deeper valleys of sorrow and sadness. Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas Diener say in their book the Upside of your Dark Side, ‘Suppressing experiences is psychologically destructive because it divorces from the full richness’ (of the abundant life). For example if we are enslaved by fear by not noticing its presence we set an artificial limit on who we are meant to be in Christ. Invite someone to take a closer look at Christ and his church.

differentiating emotions