The Power of Emotion
When I was younger, I remember having an outrageous anger problem when it came to sports. A good example of this was when I moved to Illinois. The town we lived in didn’t start organized tackle football until 5th grade. So as a 4th grader, it was flag football only for me. I was disappointed at first because where we had just moved from in Missouri, I got to play tackle as a 3rd grader. I had a realization though that flag football meant that this big boy got to play quarterback, no weight limits there! So as a freshly moved 4th grader, whose idol was Peyton Manning, I knew I had the opportunity to prove my mettle and worth through my time running the show.
Alas the power of emotion showed itself during that time frame. When I was filled with joy, I would play great. When something bad would happen, I would play worse, and get extremely angry.
One time specifically, I played horrible, I was all over the place, I wasn’t comfortable in the pocket, and I threw a bunch of interceptions. As that game went on, my emotional stability kept getting worse and worse and worse. Finally, after another horrendous possession, my dad pulled me from the game. At this point I was like a bull who saw red. I was angry at football, I was angry at my father, I was angry at myself. This anger led to me getting to the sidelines, getting on one knee, and then proceeding to punch the dirt on the sidelines like I was prime Mike Tyson.
At that point my dad, rightfully so, became angry, yelled at me, told me I wasn’t going to get back in the game that day and to fix my attitude. The referee, who ironically became my middle school basketball coach, came over to me and tried to pick me up and tell me how competitors are supposed to act. After both of those conversations, I was completely embarrassed by my own actions.
The point : emotions are a powerful thing. I was filled with anger which led to me acting poorly. As embarrassing as it was, it gave me a valuable lesson: Emotions, they guide us, direct us, and confuse us. We love it when they are drawn out through a movie. We love the emotions that are tied to sports. We love it when we laugh or smile at a small moment. All in all, we know they are essential to the human experience. If we didn’t have them, life wouldn’t be what it is.
That’s why I think it is so important for us to take a moment and recognize the power of them. They can be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy.
The scripture that we read in Quest this week is a prime example of this phenomenon.
The woman that we read about had to be dealing with a lot of emotions as she stepped into this room with Jesus and the pharisee, Simon. All of which could have drastically derailed her and what she was trying to do.
Think about the fear that she had to deal with. She was a woman, who practiced prostitution, was barging into a room to pour perfume all over a mans feet whom she had never met, and who knew the consequences of this action. It could have gone really bad!
Think about the worry. The worry of being judged, cast aside, or even rejected by Jesus for how she lived. It had to be present and real for her at this moment. Worry always seems to pop up when we don’t know what the result is going to be.
Think about the regret. The recalling of the days and nights that she had spent sinning. The regrets of those moments had to be replaying over and over in her head. The pain of those moments had to be weighing her down daily.
These are three emotions that we constantly deal with as well. We fear what’s going to happen to us, we worry about judgment and the opinions of others, we have regrets about the decisions we have made.
If I had to guess, you are like me and those three emotions have a lot of power in
your life. They drive me to avoid taking the chance, they drive me to think about what people think, they drive me to stay up late at night and replay situations that I was in. It’s not what I want to do, frankly, I know it’s not best for me. However, if I am not careful those emotions can control me.
The woman in the story, presumably, dealt with all of those emotions. It’s amazing that she went through with her moment of worship that led to her being saved through her faith. How did she do that though? If our emotions are so powerful that they drive our actions, wouldn’t those emotions that she dealt with keep her from worshiping Jesus.
Maybe, but we are forgetting that she was driven by an emotion that was stronger than all of the others and that was love.
Luke 7:47, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
This woman knew how much Jesus loved her and was willing to show her love because of that. Every other emotion… it didn’t matter. All that fear? No big deal. All those worries? There’s only one opinion that matters. All that regret? Jesus is the only one who can save anyways.
I find her story to be inspiring. There had to be so many emotions going on in that moment, but in the end, she decided to lean into the emotion of love and let it play out as an action. It completely changed her life.
That same thing can happen for all of us as well. I want to challenge myself and you today to let the emotion of love play out in our lives as an action. Who knows what that will lead to, maybe you will be pouring out perfume and wiping tears with your hair or maybe you will just simply feel a sense of forgiveness.
We will only find out if we lean into our love for Jesus. Let’s let that be the driving force for everything we do this week and let’s see what happens.