The Two Basic Emotions

© Copyright 2011 by Joel R. Hall – All Rights Reserved

Emotions are funny things. We talk about them as if we understand them, but the truth is, we, or at least I, really don’t. They are abstract concepts and are, to a certain degree, arbitrary. What one person views as love another views as obsession. After all, who is to say? You can’t see emotions, although you can often see physical manifestations of them. You can’t taste, smell, touch, hear, or see the actual emotion of another and yet we talk about them as shared experiences. We say things like “I know what you mean”, and “I feel your pain”, when in fact we really don’t know what they mean or feel their pain. Emotion is truly a very personal thing. So much so that I believe that there is only one who actually understands emotion on a level that encompasses everyone: God.

Only God truly knows what we are feeling, so only God can judge between us. The interesting thing about this is that God indicates in the Bible that there are really only two basic emotions: love and fear (see clarification). Where, you may ask, does the Bible say this? I submit to you that it is in 1 John 4:18 which reads “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear…”

If you think about it, all other emotions are based either in fear or love. Anger is either based on fear which invokes a fight or flight response, or is based on love as in “righteous anger”. While loneliness can be due to being physically isolated (marooned on a desert island, locked in solitary, an invalid physically unable to move), usually it is the result of a deep seated fear or shame, a feeling of not being worthy of love, resulting in social, not physical, paralysis. It is practically impossible to feel lonely when feeling awash in love. Envy is based on fear that you are being short changed or deprived of something desirable especially when someone else has the thing desired. Hatred is usually invoked by acts that trigger extreme fear and, secondarily, anger in us. Impatience is simply fear of being made to waste time or fear that we are missing out on some pleasure. Courage is based in love since it allows us to overcome fear in order to serve or protect ones we love.

The bottom line is that His perfect love and only His perfect love drives out fear which in turn vanquishes all of the negative emotions engendered by fear. So, seek to love Him perfectly and you will find that your emotions trend toward the positive and away from the negative.


© Copyright 2011 by Joel R. Hall – All Rights Reserved


About Joel Hall

Onward through the fog!
This entry was posted in Musings on the Bible, Spiritual Living and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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