Doug Bender, I am Second, testimony.

Doug’s story is filled with hurt and emotion and confusion about who he is.   We picked this video specifically for today because we wanted to give handles to parents and kids on how to deal with our emotions. We want to look at scripture and see what God says about our emotions and how we deal with them.

Today, our culture has elevated emotions and feelings and have made them more important than truth. A great example of this would be young kids playing sports. It is becoming more normal to see kids play a sport but no one keeps score because we are afraid that if our kid loses, it would hurt their feelings. The idea behind it sounds good and sensitive, but years and years of protecting kids’ feelings has led to bigger problems. When later in life they encounter challenging situations, they don’t have the life skill, the emotional intelligence, to face disappointment. They emotionally can’t handle winning or losing. Why? Because we have over protected our kids’ emotions. College administrators will tell you, they can’t hire enough counselors because the kids struggle with the stress from a simple test.

The old school way of dealing with emotions was also unhealthy. As kids, many of us older folks learned to do what? Stuff our emotions – right? It didn’t matter how you felt, we had to deal with it. Our playgrounds didn’t have soft, recycled rubber so when you fell, you gently bounced and giggled. No, our playgrounds had concrete waiting for us. When we fell, we broke things. We had playground equipment that looked like the chambers of the English Inquisition. Our parents allowed us to roam free for miles away from home and they told us what, “Be home for dinner.” What became of us? We learned how to do things on our own and accomplish things, but we aren’t so good at dealing with our emotions.

A good place to start today is what we experience in life. Let’s start with reality. What we deal with. Doug’s story is reality. We all have moments like that. We all have feelings, at times, of being hurt. Times when we think we have been rejected. And we all have times when we feel lonely. When you feel those emotions, it’s important to understand, you aren’t the only one. We all feel that. When you feel those emotions, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, actually, that means you are normal.

Not only is it normal for us today, people have been dealing with this forever. I want to read to you how David felt in the bible. This is what he wrote. See if you can connect with what he is feeling.

My eyes are always looking to the LORD for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies. Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble.

Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have, and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for I trust in you. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you. NLT Psalms 25:15-21

Do you see that part that says …I am alone and in deep distress? My problems go from bad to worse… What is going on? David is in pain. He is feeling deeply hurt, rejected by his enemies, and all alone.

Please hear me tell you, this is normal. The real question is what do we do? When we feel hurt, rejected or lonely, what do we do?

We need to avoid the extremes I mentioned earlier. When you feel hurt, rejected or lonely, avoid the extremes of thinking, this temporary feeling is my truth and it now defines me. That means, avoid the temptation to believe that this feeling is who you are. No, it’s temporary. It will go away. Emotions come and go.

Scriptures teaches us,

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. KJV Proverbs 25:28

That means, when you are controlled by your feelings or emotions, you can become a mess. Do you remember Doug’s story? What did he say? When he felt hurt, he began to hate himself. He concluded wrong things. He thought he talked funny, walked funny. He was filled with negative thoughts like, no one liked him. He became jealous of others.

That’s exactly what Proverbs is talking about.  He didn’t have a handle on how do deal with his emotions, so, like a city with no walls, he couldn’t protect his heart. He was hurt and he experienced all kinds of negative feelings and thoughts.

We need to avoid the other extreme I mentioned earlier. When you feel hurt, rejected or lonely, avoid the extremes of thinking, I must stuff my emotions, ignore them and move on. Like the character Data in Star Trek, just become like a robot. A modern version of Data might be J.A.R.V.I.S in the movie Iron Man. When we stuff our emotions, we can become robotic and we do damage to ourselves and our relationships. We go to school, go to work, do what is asked of us and we miss out on life.

Scripture teaches us:

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven…. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. NLT Ecclesiasts 3:1-4

That means emotions are good. Don’t stuff them. Emotions and feelings are real. Don’t ignore them. Your emotions are extremely important because, like an engine light in a car, your emotions tell you want is going on in your heart.

Point 1: When you feel hurt, rejected or lonely, avoid the extremes. Not everything you feel is right and not everything you think is right. We don’t always see things clearly.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. NIV Proverbs 14:12

Point 2: God can heal your heart.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. NIV Psalms 34:17-18

In Doug’s story, he shared that through all those years, he prayed. And, God answered his prayer.

This is a really important point I want you to understand. God wants an emotional relationship with you. God is full of emotions. We are full of emotions. He wants us to come to Him with our emotions. He wants us to laugh with Him, cry with Him and be honest with him. When we are busted up, God wants to heal you.

For some people this is new understanding of God. If we don’t understand that, we can wrongly think that God is like an angry nun who will crack your fingers when you step out of line. We can think that God doesn’t care about us, He just wants us to behave. If that is how you view God, you don’t fully understand Him. God is a God who is close to the brokenhearted. God can heal your heart.

Point 1: When you feel hurt, rejected or lonely, avoid the extremes.

Point 2: God can heal your heart – and if you are child, talk to your parents.

Point 3: God gives you control. That means, as negative emotions come, as we just read in scripture, we have control. Another way to say it is, you have the authority from Christ to deal with it. What do you do when emotions keep popping up. Worry. Perfectionism. Laziness. Fear. Anger. Concluding I am a victim and I need to blame others for my life. Jealousy. Always negative or gossipy.

Paul wrote this,

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. MSG Romans 7:24 – 8:2

That means, when reoccurring negative emotions pop up, they don’t have to stick to us. You can no longer say, that is just the way I am, or that’s the way my family is. We don’t have to allow those emotions to control us day to day. When we turn to God and pray, He has given us power to walk in freedom. So, when all those negative emotions hoover over us like a low-lying black cloud, the Holy Spirit comes and blows them away, if we pray and invite God into our mess.

When is the last time you took all your emotions to God and said honestly, “God I don’t want this emotion to control me, in the Name of Jesus, please anoint me with the Holy Spirit?” Then you lived out your day refusing to allow that emotion to rule over you.

Here is a quick recap before my last big question. Point 1: When you feel hurt, rejected or lonely, avoid the extremes. Point 2: God can heal your heart – and if you are child, talk to your parents. Point 3: God gives you control.

What if something unfair has happened to you, what do you do? Don’t waste the opportunity to use it for good.

Scripture tell us,

Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. NLT Galatians 6:2

When our oldest daughter was in school, she joined a sports team. On that sports team, the older girls were pretty rough. They didn’t include her. They weren’t overly kind. Our daughter would come home in tears. So we spent time with her. We got her to talk and share her feelings. We prayed with her. We loved her. The advice we gave her was to continue on, but remember someday when you are older, what you feel like today. When that day comes, go out of our way to connect with the younger girls and make them a huge part of the team.

Your story might have more pain than her story. Maybe it’s your marriage, it didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Maybe you were mistreated as a child. Maybe you have a health issue. Whatever it is, it will take time to heal. Please hear me, that pain that God allowed you to experience, can be someone else’s hope.

To close, my question is, have you been hurt? I am sorry for that. Truth is, we all have hurt.

What have you concluded? Do you struggle with that hurt? Have you decided that you are alone? Have you started to not like yourself? Are you filled with negative emotions? Do you feel like emotions hit and you can’t shake them?

You must know, there is hope, there is an answer to that pain.