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Reflections on the Emotions and Heartbreak of God

One thing that I am constantly amazed by is the incredible depth and beauty of God’s personality and emotions as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. I think all too often we can lose sight of how well God can relate to and understand how we feel as we experience the full spectrum of the emotions He created us with the capacity for. We sometimes forget that we are made in God’s image and that we have emotions just like God does. The easiest way to learn how to relate correctly to our own emotions is by looking at the Lord.

Starting on the very first page of the Bible we can see God in His perfection expressing His satisfaction with His creation. Think about the satisfaction you have felt looking at a recent finished project of yours. Whether it was some kind of artwork, a freshly manicured lawn, a cleaned and organized garage or a new table or bookshelf you built for the house, there was undoubtedly a level of pleasure and enjoyment that came from its completion. Now take that context and imagine how God must have really felt when He expressed that “it was good” during His creation of the heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31)

Once we get past the first Chapter of the Bible God begins to express different emotions; in Genesis 2:18 God says that it “is not good that man should be alone.” Then God quickly moves from expressing his satisfaction and dissatisfaction with aspects of His creation to executing judgement on Adam and Eve for their sin and rebellion. In Genesis 3:9-24 you see God curse the serpent, then Eve and then Adam. In the next chapter Genesis 4:8-15 something I found so encouraging was God’s extreme compassion as expressed to Cain after he murdered Abel. God cursed Cain because of his actions (Abel’s “blood cried out” to Him from the ground) yet when Cain expressed that his punishment was more than he could bare God immediately extended mercy and had compassion on him! God’s forgiveness, mercy and compassion is completely beyond our comprehension!

One could easily write an entire book about God’s emotions and the depth of His personality as revealed in Scripture, but for now here are just a few more references of some of the various emotions God expresses in the Bible:

  • Anger – Psalm 7:11; Deuteronomy 9:22; Romans 1:18
  • Laughter – Psalm 37:13; Psalm 2:4; Proverbs 1:26
  • Compassion – Genesis 19:6, Psalm 135:14; Judges 2:18; Deuteronomy 32:36
  • Grief – Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40
  • Love – 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Jeremiah 31:3
  • Hate – Proverbs 6:16; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5
  • Jealousy – Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Joshua 24:19
  • Joy – Nehemiah 8:10, Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 32:41

Something for us all to remember is that God can get angry and God can weep with sadness and anguish. I love the poignant expressions of Jesus’s compassion and the fullness of His emotion in the Gospel. Jesus expressed compassion for the “weary and scattered” multitude in Matthew 9:36. The story of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) is one of my favorite accounts. One of the most beautiful things for us to remember is that we serve a God who cries with us.

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

God can have a broken heart and He often becomes deeply troubled when He sees his children suffering whether it be unjustly or due to their own rebellion and stubbornness. I don’t know about you, but I hate thinking about being personally responsible for my God ever experiencing heartbreak or sadness. However I find it extremely comforting and beautiful to know that if I am suffering God doesn’t just sympathize, He truly empathizes. He will meet us in our pain, our hurt and our sadness.

I hope that we can all do our best to really consider the depth of God’s emotions and the fullness of His personality and take that into account as we do our best to serve Him for the rest of our life. Let us try to stir up joy and love in God’s heart in our faithfulness and obedience to Him! In witnessing to our lost, hurting and broken brothers and sisters let us echo God’s compassion and ability to deeply feel and understand what we are going through. When the full impact of God’s emotions and understanding can really be expressed and translated to others, His truth and gift of salvation will be much more readily absorbed, felt and received.

How can you better relate to your own emotions by studying God’s holy expressions of emotion? How can you take into consideration God’s emotions to bring about more obedience and devoutness in your service to Him daily?

About Jason Herrington

After spending fifteen years of his life aggressively pursing financial success in various business endeavors, Jason became disillusioned with what was being taught by the success “experts.” After many years searching for answers amongst new-age teachings, the mystical, the occult, and other spiritual practices, he found that nothing made a lasting difference in his life--which was becoming increasingly confusing and wrought with hardship. No matter how hard he worked he was left with more problems and questions. Then, a few years later he found the one solution that would change his life forever--giving his life to Jesus Christ. Once a strong skeptic and opponent of Christianity, now Jason is completely in awe of the God who, in His mercy, still made Himself known to him, despite his aversion. Now he is passionate and committed to searching for answers exclusively from God’s Word. His ministry seeks to target any and all individuals attracted to the success and personal development industry, as well as the new age movement, and deliver God’s truth. Visit www.elevate2great.com to see more of his work.

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4 comments

  1. Emotions are very much a part of the human experience. Why limit God’s all encompassing grandness? It seems to error on the side of arrogant to assume God on our level of understanding.

    • No one is trying to limit God’s grandness Joanne, nor assume we understand all their is to know about Him. The purpose was just to reflect on the fact that God clearly does have and exhibit emotions as revealed in the Scriptures. The last article I posted (http://www.tblfaithnews.com/faith-religion/the-good-news-about-god-youre-not-good-enough) I mentioned that God’s love is an “unfathomable abyss” and even if we devote our entire life to learning of Him we could barely scratch the surface. I personally just find it awe-inspiring that our God can relate to and understand our emotions because we are made in His image and He has them too. God Bless

      • I can appreciate what you are saying, and I think you have the right idea, but I feel it needs to be expanded upon. Of course, this is just my two cents, I can only speak from my humble human experience; it still seems that you are attempting to fathom God’s grandness, so much so, that you are assuming He has a personality and more so, what he feels, ..his “heartbreak” …
        He is unfathomable and un-comprehendable, so how is it that ‘you’ have you scratched the surface?

        I’m wondering, in regards to your formentioned article, as a devotee to Lord Jesus Christ, how do you begin with “you’re not good enough”? Can you imagine Jesus himself taking this approach to teaching, to loving? Jesus was from what we know, a wise and compassionate man. He taught with humility, he didn’t chastise with hate. He didn’t shove truth down the throats of the lost or the weak willed. Even as he was beaten upon he gave Love. I can’t imagine he would have gained the adoration of so many had he.

        If you truly want to spread the word of God, I believe you are going about it teh wrong way. I of course don’t claim to know for fact what Jesus would in fact do, but my heart tells me that he would not start by telling us how bad we are. No, I believe he would shine love upon me, and through his action, through his true, unwavering, unfaltering compassion, we are called to listen to him with our deepest of hearts.

        Please do not spread hate by pointing fingers. Elevate our community to higher more aware versions of themselves through unfaltering love and compassion.

        “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
        ― George Carlin

        Because humor. 🙂

        • Well I’m really sorry you don’t get the heart of my messages Joanne, or what I was trying to convey. I really apologize if my writing has offended you in some way.

          We will just have to disagree on certain points however. While I agree none of us could ever COMPLETELY fathom God’s grandness, to say we can’t understand anything at all, or deduce that God does in fact have a personality and experience emotion is to completely ignore everything God left us in hopes we would be able to devote our lives to worshipping, serving and learning about Him.

          God left us His word, and in those 66 books, over 1,100 chapters, 31,000+ verses and 800,000+ words God said A LOT! So I certainly don’t think I’m being arrogant for simply relaying what God said in His word about Himself. I apologize if you take it that way.

          Lastly in regards to the other post, FYI my editor added that part of the line, about not being good enough. It wasn’t my intention to put people down, if you read it that is not the heart of the message. However again I think that many would completely disagree with you about there being something wrong in telling someone they aren’t good enough

          Ecclesiastes 7:20 says “For there is not a just man on earth who does good
          And does not sin.”

          Also the Apostle Paul said this:

          “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

          The point is we aren’t good enough to earn salvation and the crux of our salvation comes in admitting our weakness, repenting of our sin and accepting the free gift of salvation by faith through Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross.

          Side note, no offense, but quoting a crude atheist like George Carlin, isn’t in good taste, on a Christian website. 🙂

          God Bless you!

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