Christianity Is Emotionally Healthy
By Dennis Edwards
Sometimes when you are sharing your faith you might find that your intellectual or evidence-based arguments for belief in God are falling on deaf ears. In moments like that, you might try another tactic. You might try to show the person you are witnessing to the emotional benefits of faith in Jesus and the Bible. Let’s look at some of the difficult emotional situations in life and see how having a Christian outlook is healthy emotionally.
Fear: God’s Word tells us not to fear. Some 365+ times in the Bible, God says “fear not,” or a variation of that expression. “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”1 God knows our human frame, and the fears, misgivings, and discouragement that we can be prone to. God promises He is going to be with us, help us, supply our needs, and keep us. No matter what we face in our earthly life, God will help us to bear it.
Many of the early Christians died as martyrs for their faith. God gave them power over fear even though they faced some very horrible deaths in the hands of their enemies. They were able to die with faith and not fear. Their Christian faith gave them hope of eternal life. Their own leader had told them to “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”2 By walking in the fear of God, Christians were able to keep His commandments of love and truth. Jesus had told them and showed them that the best choice was to live and die for those principles. Therefore, belief in God gives us victory over fear.
Death: God promises to be with us “through the valley of the shadow of death.”3 He offers to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,”4 or “slavery,” as another translation has it. He offers us eternal life and victory over physical death. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus said to Martha, his sister: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”5
As Christians, we don’t have to fear death; we can embrace it when it comes because we have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus rose from the dead to prove He was telling the truth. The empty tomb was one of the greatest proofs of His resurrection. The Roman and Jewish authorities could have stopped Christianity in its tracks if they could have produced the dead body of Christ. But they couldn’t, because He wasn’t there. After His resurrection and subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit, His formerly fearful disciples were transformed into fearless propagators of His message of love and truth. The truth of His resurrection is the best explanation of all the circumstantial evidence we have of that event.
Grief: Jesus promises to be with us in our grief. His Holy Spirit is a comforter to us in times of trouble, not only to comfort us, but also to help us later be able to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted by God.6
Suffering: God promises to be with us in the suffering we experience in this life. He promises strength and endurance, and He will reward all those who suffer for His name’s sake. Many passages in the Bible speak of the benefits of suffering. The book of Job deals with the problem of suffering. The Bible tells us that God is compassionate and merciful with His children’s suffering.7 Jesus Himself said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”8
Anger: God has a solution for anger and admonishes us to flee from anger.9 Through confession and prayer10 the Christian can get victory over uncontrolled anger as God gives us “self-control” or “temperance” as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.11 Then we can be slow to anger, and put it away with all clamor, and slander; and instead be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.12
Guilt: God offers us relief from our guilt.His Word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”13 In another verse He says if we confess and forsake our sins, we shall have mercy.14 So, we see that Christianity offers that relief from carrying the guilt we feel when we have done wrong. Jesus promised us freedom from guilt. We are all guilty because we have sinned or done wrong, and we know it. But Christ died for the sins of the world and offers us a pardon. If we believe on Him, the pardon is ours.
Worry: Modern psychology has told us that we are worrying ourselves to death and that many of our sicknesses and psychological problems are related to our worrying. Jesus told us specifically not to worry about tomorrow, to not worry about not having our needs met, because God would take care of us, just like He cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. Faith and trust give us power over worry.
Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Jesus said, “Take no (anxious) thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”15 We often have to reach out to Him moment by moment and cling to His Word and truth when we face fear or worry.
Forgiveness: Christianity offers us a pardon for our failures, sins, and mistakes. God promises if we believe in Him, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus forgives us and teaches us to forgive others. Christianity offers the highest moral code ever offered to man, the code of forgiveness and love. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”16
Love: Christianity tells us the greatest behavior is the loving one. The highest code of ethics is the one based on love. “And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”17 Charles Dickens, the great British author from the 1800s, said, “The New Testament is the best book that ever was or will be known to man. It teaches you the best lessons by which any human creature who desires to be truthful and faithful to duty can possibly be guided.”
Thankfulness and praise: Nick Vujicic said he never met a bitter person who was thankful or a thankful person who was bitter. Christianity offers a solution to many negative emotions with its admonition to be thankful and walk in praise. Proverbs teaches that a merry heart does good like a medicine. The apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks.”18 He told his disciples that whatever happened in life, no matter how difficult it seemed, God would work it together for their good if they continued to love and trust God19 and rejoice in their tribulations. God’s Word tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength.20 There is something extremely powerful about facing the troubles of life with a thankful and positive, even praiseful attitude.
Positiveness: Closely related to the above, God’s Word tells us to be positive. Positive thinking can help us to overcome negative thinking. If we can control our thoughts and what we put into our minds, like one would control his diet if he were diabetic, we can help ourselves create positive thoughts which will affect our emotions positively. Paul wrote, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”21
Christianity offers the best solutions to facing and overcoming the problems of life, with the promise of life ever after, where there will be no more death, or sorrow, neither will there be any more pain or crying, for the former things will be wiped away.22 We won’t even remember the anguish and pain we passed through for the joys and pleasures that await us. “For eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”23
1 Isaiah 41:10.
2 Matthew 10:28.
3 Psalm 23:4.
4 Hebrews 2:15.
5 John 11:25–26.
6 2 Corinthians 1:4.
7 James 5:11.
8 John 14:18.
9 Proverbs 22:24.
10 1 John 1:9.
11 Galatians 5:23.
12 Ephesians 4:31–32.
13 1 John 1:9.
14 Proverbs 28:13.
15 Matthew 6:34.
16 Ephesians 4:32.
17 1 Corinthians 13:13.
18 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
19 Romans 8:28.
20 Nehemiah 8:10.
21 Philippians 4:8.
22 Revelation 21:4.
23 1 Corinthians 2:9.