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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






19 October 2005

Emotions and Faith


Q: How do people’s emotions effect or play a role in their love for Christ?

A: Emotion, like intellect, must be subject to faith. If thoughts or feelings get ahead of trust in Christ and His saving work, they can lead us astray. The negative emotions certainly deserve much blame. Often, because people don’t feel loved or saved or forgiven, but instead feel hated, lost, and guilty, they assume that God ignores or hates them.

Conversely, the positive feelings, such as romantic love, friendship, and loyalty elevate our feelings about ourselves and we can become like strong, rugged, and boastful Peter — who bragged that he would never desert Jesus before running away, then denying Him three times.

So Christians pray that God would take captive all our feelings, using them in a manner that benefits us and blesses those around us. And when feelings point us in one direction or thoughts in another, we ask that God would, instead, guide us by His Word and Holy Spirit.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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