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Dear Dr. Matt,
My name is Bev, I'm from Manatoba, Canada. I'm a single female, 32 years old.
As I've been reading your book, I get the impression that you are suggesting that people can actually have positive emotions come out of them, in response to negative moments. I'm confused about this, how am I supposed to be happy, when someone mistreats me or hurts me? Please explain?
When someone mistreats you, or hurts you, happiness is NOT the positive emotion that anyone is likely to experience. Normal people are NOT supposed to feel happy when abused. So, to answer your question: "No, feeling happy is NOT the positive emotion that the Lord would have you and I feel in challenging times."
Being mistreated by others is hard to bear; nevertheless, it is possible to feel positive and pure emotions flowing through us, even during tough times. Consider these words from the Bible:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Here's an idea from my book that likely spurred your question:
We know when we are following the Light and doing what is Right,
Question: What positive emotion might we feel, when others mistreat us?
Weigh these words from the Bible:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself,
As our spiritual integrity is in order, we will feel Christlike love for those who try to hurt us and abuse us. Jesus provided the supreme example: When He was physically abused in a most violent manner, the Savior refrained from feeling bitter emotions; instead, Jesus showed compassion for those who beat him, mocked him, and crucified Him:
Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and did strike him with the palms of their hands . . .
Take time to reflect upon moments in your life when you have felt Emotions that fall short of Love and Light. On page 196 of Changing Your Stripes you will find a list of positive and negative emotions: One set represents the emotions we feel as we follow the Light, and the other set of emotions are felt when we are deceived by Darkness.
We know that emotions of suspicion, fear, and confusion are negative emotions, because they fall short of the peaceful clarity associated with the warmth and love of God. Emotions of suspicion and confusion are first cousins to fear; the Bible teaches us about fear:
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. . . .
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. . . .
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
There is no fear in love;
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
As we live true by walking in the Light, you and I can respond with loving words and deeds, and feel peace within, even amid abusive situations. My book, "Changing Your Stripes," teaches the principles that lead to lasting change, making you a new kind of creature capable of responding with calm, even as storms of adversity swirl.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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