A sermon series on emotions?

Chris —  June 13, 2012

I am looking for input. I am tentatively planning a topical/expository sermon series on emotions this Fall. So many battle emotions such as depression, anger, anxiety, and fear. But I would like to hear from those in the pew.

Do you think a thoughtful series on emotional battles is needed?

Which emotions do you think people battle the most?

What sermon series would interest you?

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6 responses to A sermon series on emotions?

  1. Susan Prusator June 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    It’s a very relevant topic, but it’s full of land mines. The subject of emotions is so charged. People are almost as attached to their emotions (or lack thereof) as they are to their religion, and can get very defensive on the subject. You’ll be injecting yourself into many marital “discussions” about who’s too emotional and who’s not emotional enough and you may be used as a “see I told you so . . ”

    It would be hard to discuss emotions without alienating someone, ticking them off, making them feel that you don’t “get” them, playing on people’s insecurities and making them feel worse than they already do about their lack of control over them. If you take into account the different personality types, and realize that emotional people have contributions to make, as well as more stoic types, then it could be very valuable. People’s emotions play such a big role in their relationships; they cause so many conflicts and misunderstandings, but emotions are what makes us human and to feel deeply is a such a gift.

    Another pitfall is the fact that emotions (particularly the negative ones) can be SO tied to your state of health (in fact I believe they are more than most people realize). If someone is depressed because they have nutritional deficiencies ( many illnesses cause this) and therefore impaired neurotransmitter function, no amount of prayer is going to make them feel OK — and SO many preachers espouse that, leaving people feeling that they are awful Christians who don’t love God enough, or have enough faith, or whatever, which is a terrible burden to place on someone who is already struggling just to get through the day.

    Emotion is certainly a part of our spiritual lives though (and personal live, family lives, social lives. . . ) and if you’re willing to take it on, could make great food for thought. I’d be interested in a sermon on the topic. Good luck!

  2. Do a series on the Psalms, that way you can safely stay with the intent and meaning of the text and still be really relevant.

    My take on the problem emotion of Christianity is joy, but then you expect me to say that. (But it is!)Contentment is another, but it’s related to joy.

  3. Scott, I agree. Indeed, I was working on Psalm 46 a bit today (and reading Lloyd-Jones!) There would be other places besides the Psalms. But we want to be responsible exegetically.

  4. Susan, those are really great thoughts. I really agree about the physical part. In fact, I already talk to counselees about the fact that I am not a physician. We are such complex beings.

    Emotions are such a wonderful gift – – – but …

  5. The thing that strikes me about emotions is how they are both common and deeply unique & personal. People grieve differently, express joy differently, handle anxiety differently. What seems to be a perfectly normal and natural emotion to one person is “too much” or “not enough” to another. I think a lot of people struggle to balance what they’re feeling vs what they think they should be feeling vs what others think they should be feeling…

  6. Kathy, you are so right – – – it is all so complicated. It reminds me of Prov 14:10.