"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Why Ben Folds made me cry (And other reflections on emotion)

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, July 2, 2015 Under: Reflections

I’m quite an emotional person and find that there’s something cathartic about a good cry. And I don’t just cry when I’m upset. I sometimes cry when I’m angry or frustrated, or every when I’m bowled over by joy.

I went to see Ben Folds performing with the Northern Sinfonia at the Sage last year and it was so jaw-droppingly sublime that I found tears of happiness rolling down my cheeks. I felt alive!

When I became a Christian, it was drummed into me that feelings may or may not follow the facts, but the facts of the gospel were what was important. And in a sense that’s right. God’s still there when I feel down. God’s still there when I feel nothing at all. The truth stays true in spite of how I feel, but that doesn’t make feelings bad or useless. We all have an emotional life whether we like it or not. The question is whether we bring it under the Lordship of Christ, corporately and individually.

God gave us our intellect and he wants us to use it, but he also gave us our emotions and he wants us to use them too. There are times when crying or getting angry is exactly the right response and motivates us to get on our knees and pray. When we see the death, disease and destruction in our world. When people in poverty are treated with brutal injustice. When we have deep, soul-searching questions that don’t seem to have answers. When we long for our loved ones to come to a saving faith in Christ. When we’ve got to the end of ourselves and feel all we can do is fling ourselves at our Heavenly Father’s feet and soak them with tears (Luke 7: 38).

We’re going through Nehemiah at church at the moment. One thing that struck me was Nehemiah’s response to the sins of the Israelites. The first thing he does is sit down and weep, before mourning, fasting and praying to God (Neh 1: 4). Elswhere in the Bible we see what a vital, life-giving relationship with God looks like. The Psalms are full of powerful emotive language as we get to see the ups and downs of David’s faith laid bare.

Jesus himself demonstrated a rich emotional life that was perfectly lived out in relationship with God. I find it immensely encouraging that the shortest verse in the Bible is ‘Jesus wept’ (John 11: 35). He was devastated at the loss of his beloved friend; he got angry when rip-off merchants in the temple were exploiting the poor (Matt 21: 12). When Jesus cried out in anguish on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15: 34) he wasn’t just lamenting the fact of separation from his heavenly father, he was experiencing the agony of it.

Faith isn’t a purely intellectual exercise. It’s not just a rational assent to a set of true propositions. It’s also a heart response to our Father God. If you’re married, emotions will have played a large part in one of the biggest decisions you’ve ever made. If our relationship with God is the deepest, most intimate and personal love relationship we’ll ever know, then there’s something wrong if it doesn’t involve emotion.

This matters for our witness too. We’re not attempting to persuade people of a sterile ‘correct worldview’. We’re inviting them into a relationship with the loving creator of the universe who knows them intimately, forgives them completely and sets them free for a life of meaning, purpose and hope. Now that’s something worth getting emotional about!

In : Reflections 

Tags: "ben folds" emotion feeling faith jesus 


"loving god' commandment relationship 40th activity acts addiction adoption adultery advent aesop agapé android animation anxiety apologetics app apps argument aroma atheism audio ben folds bible bible characters bible narrative bible study bible trading cards big picture birthday blog body of christ book book review books busyness cat celebration celibacy celtic change charity chart child children christ christendom christmas chronicles church church history climate change coastguard colouring comedy commentary communications communion community compassion conference consumerism contemplation context conversation coronavirus covenant covid-19 creation creation care creativity cross crucifixtion cryptic culture cwtch daily prayer data day of the lord debate devotional diagram dictionary digital disagreement disciples discipleship discussion documentary easter ecclesiastes education effort elder brother emotion encouragement enemies environment environmentalism ethics evangelism event evidence ezekiel fable facebook fact check fair trade faith faitheism fake news father fear feast feeling fellowship feminism fiction film fireseeds flesh flourishing food foodbank forgiveness free freedom freshers fun fundraiser funny galatians game gay gay wedding genealogies generosity gifts giving god god's presence good good news gospel gospreflection grace gratitude great commission green growth guitar hagar health heart heaven hebrews history hoarding holy biscuit holy spirit home homosexuality hope hopelessness hospitality house hub humanism humour hymn identity in individualism infographic infographics inheritance insurance internet interview interviews ios jesus joel joke jonah joseph joy justice kindness kingdom kingdom of god law leaflet lectio divina legacy lennox lesbian levite lgbtq liberty library literal literature liturgy living out lockdown lord’s love lust magazine map mark mark's materialism matthew maturity meal meditation meditations memory mental health ministry mission missionaries moody moral morality move murray music nation new creation new year newcomers news non-fiction north east old testament online outreach palm sunday parable passover peace pentecost persecution perspective philosophy photo photography piano picture this thought podcast poem poetry political correctness pool night possessions post-christendom poverty power praise prayer prayer requests preaching presentation presents priest princess anne priorities prodigal son productivity project prophecy protection provision psalm publicity puzzle questions quiz quotes reading rebellion reconciliation redemption reference reflection relationship relationships relativism religion remembrance repentance rescue resource resources rest restoration resurrection retreat review reviews riches right and wrong royalty rules rush sabbath sacrifice same-sex attraction sarah scholarship science screens scripture scripture engagement secularism seed self esteem sermon sermon on the mount sex sexuality shalom sharing faith shopping showcase significance silence simplicity sin slavery smell social social action social media society software solitude song songs sonship soularium sources speaking spiritual gifts spirituality sproul spurgeon stations of the cross stats stewardship stone story stott student student life students study suffering supper support support discovery talk tech technology temple tft thank you thanksgiving theology time toby tools top trumps trading cards training transformation translation treasure treasure hunt trivia true freedom trust truth unity update utilities value video vine visual walk war wealth website websites wesley witnessing women words world worldview worry worship worth writing wrong wycliffe youtube ywam

Living Out is registered UK Charity no. 1165572
The Baptist Union is Charity no. 249635