Control of the Emotions
A WIDE-EYED ten-year-old boy sat transfixed recently as news of war poured from the newscast. His dad watched as anger showed on his son's face. Dad, too, felt angry, but he remembered a valuable lesson he had learned about emotions. Later, when it was quiet, he asked his son, "Where is all that anger coming from?'' "From that war and those pictures,'' was the answer. "That's what I once thought too,'' Dad said. "But I learned that it's what we're thinking that actually causes the anger, and we can cont rol what we think.'' We sometimes believe that we have little control over our emotions. But we're not just helpless victims of inescapable feelings. Through the dominion that God gives us, we can master our thinking and our emotions.
Didn't Christ Jesus show us this? He demonstrated that God's love is all-powerful and well able to govern man. In the New Testament Mark's Gospel relates how Jesus healed an insane man. This man appears to have been ravaged by emotions, for as the Bible describes him, "Always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.''
Jesus arrived in "the country of the Gadarenes'' by ship. Immediately this man accosted him. Jesus' words "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit'' healed the man. Later, those that knew this man saw him "sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.'' God's love had helped him regain control of his own thinking and emotions.
God is good--completely good. So, God's thoughts, which man expresses, are likewise good and pure. Our true thoughts--those coming from God--have no element of evil in them. When Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to "come out,'' wasn't he asserting that the evil, self-destructive thoughts plaguing the insane man were not part of his genuine identity, and so could be cast out? Jesus freed the man to express his normal, God-derived thinking.
Jesus' work always lifted up those healed. In everything he did, evil was cast out with an understanding of the truth of man's perfection as God's own image. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow,- -thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.'' This "truer reflection of God'' includes perfect, spiritual models for us to use as patterns for our lives. And through prayer we can discover a little more every day of what these spiritual models are.
Only as we allow our love for God and man to control our thought will we be able to control our emotions and place ourselves in a position of doing something positive for peace. This is much more than just a positive outlook or an upbeat approach by the human mind. It is the refusal to allow evil any room in our thinking (including the evil of fear) by striving to express more the "truer reflection of God'' that Jesus taught.
Responding readily to God's thoughts is realistic in the most meaningful sense of the word, for only God, divine Truth, knows what is actually true of His creation. We need to get into the habit of listening to God if we are to play a stronger, more healing role in our world.