Chapter 11
(taken from the book "I Will Give You Rest" by Edward Kurath)

Emotions Are Your Friend
Suppose you are in your car and you are in a hurry.  You get
stopped at a stoplight (of course, it always happens when you
are in a hurry).  The light finally changes to "green" and the
driver in front of you does not notice it.  They just sit there.

What would you do?  Likely, you would honk your horn.  How
would you feel?  Wouldn't you be a bit upset?  When the other
car finally gets going, it is too late for you to get through the
light.  You then have to wait until the light turns green again.  
Now you are more than a little upset.  How long would it take
you to calm down?  What would you do to calm yourself down?

How We Cope
We all have developed ways of dealing with our negative
emotions by trial and error.  We try something and it brings a bit
of relief, so we add that to our repertoire as a way to deal with
such unpleasant moments in the future.

Still, for most of us our emotions are a bit mysterious, and we
don't know what to do with them.  Likely we have only been
modestly successful in dealing with them.

One Way Is To Ignore Them
As a child I learned to avoid my negative emotions if at all
possible.  This was the message that I got from living in my
family, and it was the method I observed in my parents.

My experience is not unusual, because our culture (and
unfortunately some of the Church) say that our emotions are
unreliable.  Regardless of how we try to ignore them, they
persist.  They come and go in a seemingly mysterious way, in a
way that we do not find ourselves able to adequately control.  
Negative emotions are a "problem" we all share.

What Are Emotions?
Are emotions simply random?  Are they unpredictable?  Did
God make a mistake when He gave them to us?  Or were they
useful before Adam and Eve sinned but are now corrupted by
The Fall?  Are some of them “bad?"  Is it a sin to feel selfish?  Is
it a sin to feel jealous?  Is it a sin to feel angry?

I have a burglar alarm in my home.  On a couple of occasions I
have accidentally set if off, and the sound the loud speaker
made was ear splitting.  The pain was unbearable.  I had to do
something right away to escape the pain.  So I plugged my ears
with my fingers and went to the keypad and entered the code.  
Then the alarm immediately stopped, so the pain stopped.

Ways To Stop The Pain
But what would I do if I didn’t know the code?  My fingers in my
ears were only mildly successful in reducing the pain, so I
would have to do something else.  I could leave and wait
outside until the noise stopped (and the police came).  Or I
could find the loudspeaker and cover it over with something.  
That would likely not work any better than covering my ears.  
Better yet, I could cut the wire to the loud speaker.  That would
stop the noise.

The purpose of the alarm was to make known an intrusion into
my house. If the alarm had been set off by a burglar instead of
by me, that would be important information.  If a burglar entered
and I did not have an alarm, something really bad might happen.

The Pain Has A Purpose
The burglar alarm was purposely designed to be impossible to
ignore, because it is important that the "intrusion" stop.  The
neighbors and the police need to be alerted, and the intruder
needs to know they have been discovered so they will stop
doing their dirty work.

Our negative emotions are like that.  Some of our emotions are
“ear-splittingly” hurtful, because they are giving us very
important information that we must not ignore.  For instance,
when you are in front of a group of people and you tell a joke
and nobody laughs, you may feel a strong rush of shame, and
your face may turn red.

Or suppose a large dog rushes towards you, growling and
showing its teeth.  You will likely feel a large surge of fear go
through you.  Fortunately not all our negative emotions are that
severe.  God designed them to be proportional to the bad news
they are giving us.

Pleasant Emotions
You also have pleasant emotions which were given to you so
that you would be attracted to whatever is making you feel
good.  What makes you feel good are the things that fulfill the
many needs you have, such as the need for love, affirmation,
sex, etc.

"Feelings" and "Emotions"
We receive various signals from our Treasure Inside to our
Head.  Some of these signals relate to the physical status of
our body, and some of them relate to our
psychological/spiritual status.

When I use the term "feelings," I am including both categories.  
When I use the term "physical sensations" I am referring to the
physical signals, and when I use the term "emotions" I am
referring to the psychological/spiritual signals.

"Emotions" can be telling us about unmet psychological needs
("I need a hug"), or the presence of a root of sin, usually a Bitter
Root Judgment.

"Physical sensations" and "emotions have a great deal in
common, and the purpose of all of our "feelings" is to make us
consciously aware of something that is going on below our
level of consciousness.  Most of us do not have difficulty
understanding our "physical sensations (for instance I am
thirsty, or my feet hurt), but our problems tend to relate to
misunderstanding our "emotions."

Because of the similarities between "physical sensations" and
"emotions," I will often use parallels between them to clarify a
point I am making about "emotions."

Feelings Are Indispensible
If God had not given your "feelings" to you, you would not
have any way of knowing the status of what is going on inside
of you.  You would not know what your needs are, and so you
would have no way of fulfilling them.  If you did not feel thirst,
you would not drink something, and then you would die.

Our Attempts At Bringing Peace
As a child I knew what to do when I had a physical need.  When
I was thirsty, I got a drink.  However, I didn't now the “code” to
turn off the emotional pain.  When strong negative emotions
came to me I had to find a way to reduce the pain.  It was as if I
started out by "plugging my ears" (I tried to ignore the

Since that was only modestly helpful, I searched for a more
effective means.  I could not "leave," because the noise was in
me.  So eventually I "cut the wire" (I made an Inner Vow not to
hear), and then the pain stopped.

Unfortunately, then the "intrusion" (the cause of the emotional
pain) had not been fixed, and so the "burglar" had not been
dealt with.  Cutting the wire, or anything else I would do to
reduce my sensitivity to my negative emotions, had bad side
effects.  Not hearing the alarm going off, I would not know
when a "burglar" came inside and was doing his destructive

An Illustration
"Physical Sensations," since they are messages from the
Treasure Inside, can illustrate the extreme consequences that
can come from not physical pain.

When I was a boy I had a friend whose father had experienced
a stroke, and he had lost the feeling on one side of his body.  
One day my friend and his father and I were standing in their
basement and we smelled something burning.  It was his father’
s hand!  He was leaning against the furnace.

Since he could not feel the heat, he did not withdraw his hand,
and he was badly burned.  The physical pain that I feel when I
touch something hot is my friend, because it motivates me to
stop the pain.  I quickly remove my hand from the hot surface,
and thus I limit the damage to my body.  Physical pain is my

Emotional Pain Is My Friend
My emotional pain is just like that.  Bad things happen when I
can no longer clearly hear my negative emotions, because I
have built The Wall inside.  Then, when something bad would
happen inside, I would not know about it.  Using my metaphor,
because I do not know the "burglar" is there, he is free to do
his damaging work inside.  I would not know about his
presence until there had been so much damage that I could no
longer ignore it.

Unmet Needs Accumulate
Tom had daily frustrations with his boss.  His boss always
talked down to him and made him feel small.  Tom had not had
a raise in years, and yet the boss would give him so much to do
that he would have to take work home at night.

But Tom did not know when he was angry because he had
built The Wall, and he did not feel these moments of anger.  His
heart was filling up with bitterness, but he was not aware of it.  
After he would get home from work, his wife would do some
little thing that irritated him, and he would explode with anger at

She did not just receive Tom's reaction to what she just did, but
she also received the entire load that had been building up
inside Tom towards his boss.  It was like an avalanche.  One
small disturbance was the trigger, and all the "snow" that had
accumulated came surging down in one deluge and buried her.

Ski areas understand avalanches.  They know that if they can
keep the snow from accumulating on the mountain slopes
above them they can prevent an avalanche.  So they regularly
set off small explosive charges in the snow to bring down small
snow slides that are harmless.  In this way they prevent huge
buildups of snow that would inevitably come down in a
devastating rush.

Don't Allow Them To Accumulate
In the same way, Tom needed to listen to, and learn to
recognize, every surge of anger that he felt.  Then he could
pray about it immediately and avoid the "accumulation" that
would otherwise eventually (and inevitably) come out as
outbursts of rage.

If there is not an "accumulation" inside him, when people
irritate him they only receive the reaction that relates to that
single transgression, not his pent up reactions to all the other
accumulated hurts inside him.

We Are Needy
We are needy creatures.  God made us that way.  We need love,
we need water, we need sleep, we need exercise, etc.

There is nothing "selfish" about getting our legitimate needs
met in a legitimate way.  When our legitimate needs are not met,
we are "hungry" and settle for meeting our needs in any way
we can, perhaps including "illegitimate" ways, or groveling for
whatever "crumbs" we can find.

For example, at this moment if I were to hand you a dirty, smelly
glass of water, you would likely say, "No thank you," because
you aren't that thirsty.  However, if you had been wandering in
the Sahara Desert for three days with no water, and then I
offered you the dirty glass of water, you would eagerly snatch it
from me and instantly consume it.  Why?  You would drink it
because your need had become so great.

That is what happens when we deny our legitimate needs (or
perhaps are unaware of them because we have ignored them
for so long).  We become so empty inside that we are driven to
accept inappropriate substitutes to stop the screams coming
up from inside us.

The "Code"
To appropriately end the turmoil of our negative emotions, we
need to know how God intended for us to eliminate the pain,
rather than to cover it up.  He intended for us to eliminate the
pain by addressing the
cause of the pain.

When we have a toothache, we can take a pain killer, or we can
have the tooth fixed.  When the tooth is "fixed," the pain stops.

Remember that emotional pain relates either to unmet
psychological needs or to roots of sin that exist inside.

Eliminating Emotional Pain
There are therefore two things we need to know about
eliminating our emotional pain.

    1.        We need to listen to the pain rather than run from it.  
    This way we can discover what it is telling us.  When our
    tooth hurts, we know something is wrong with our tooth,
    rather than our foot.

    2.        Then we need to address the cause of the pain by
    applying the appropriate "cure."  We need to have our
    tooth fixed by a dentist.

Unfortunately, nobody taught us how to do either of these,
especially regarding the roots of sin.  But it is possible to learn
how do both, and therefore, it is possible to eliminate the cause
of our emotional pain so that the pain will stop.

Understanding The Language Of
Our Emotions
God gave us our "emotions," and He intended for them to be
useful to us.  It is therefore possible to learn this mysterious
language that our Treasure Inside speaks to us.  In later
chapters I will go into more detail about learning this language,
but here I want to point out a few important characteristics of
our "emotions."

    1.        A negative emotion may be telling us of an unmet
    appropriate emotional need.  If that need is met in an
    appropriate way, the negative emotion will go away and
    will likely be replaced by an emotion that feels good.  We
    have received what we needed.  For instance James, who
    is a little boy, needs a hug.  The parent picks him up and
    holds him.  The negative emotion will likely be replaced
    with a good feeling of satisfaction, which tells James he is
    no longer needy.  Now he is ready to be put down and
    again explore the world.

    2.        A negative emotion may be telling us about a root of
    sin that we have just planted inside.  These events cause
    us the most difficulty, and are the most mysterious to us.  
    If unresolved, such a root will cause problems in our life
    (See Chapter 2 about the laws of God).

    3.        The emotional pain may also be telling us about an
    older root that we have not yet eliminated. In this case the
    current event has touched this old root and triggered a
    response from it.  It is like stubbing your toe.  When you
    first injure it, there is pain.  But until it heals, it seems as
    though you are constantly hitting it on something.  
    Actually, you are probably not again hitting it hard enough
    to injure it further, but the toe is hyper-sensitive to pain.  It
    is hyper-sensitive because of the previous injury.  
    Therefore, one symptom of the presence of an old root
    deep inside us is when a small situation triggers a big
    response, a response that is out of proportion to what just
    happened.  This is what happened to Tom in the previous
    example.  His previous Bitter Root Judgments
    accumulated and eventually he exploded in anger at his

    4.        All negative "feelings," both physical and emotional,
    are proportional to the need.  The more urgent or
    important, the more intense is the pain.  If I have a slight
    discomfort in my tooth, I can take my time about getting it
    fixed.  If the pain is intense, I need to get to the dentist
    immediately.  I can't stand to wait!  That is exactly why
    God designed feelings this way.  The intense pain tells me
    there is a serious problem that needs immediate
    treatment, and the pain motivates me to take action now.  I
    find myself unable to postpone getting treatment.

    5.        The language of our "emotions" is not a language
    like English, or Spanish.  It is made up of little sensations
    which are specific to the nature of the hurt.  I will ask
    clients how they feel about something, for instance how
    their husband treats them.  Often the response is
    something like, "I feel as though he doesn't listen to me."  
    This is not an emotion.  This is an analysis.  The emotion
    would be something like: "I feel abandoned, unimportant,
    demeaned, alone."  If this concept is new to you, or if you
    are not used to naming your feelings, see Endnote #11-1
    for a list of "feeling" words.  You will find these lists useful
    in helping you to describe what you are feeling at a given

Eliminating The Cause Of The
Therefore, if there is a Bitter Root Judgment planted inside us,
our negative emotions are our friend telling us about this
problem.  What do we do in response to the negative emotion
(the "alarm" going off)?  We need to key in the "code."

When the cause of the alarm is sin, there is only one "code"
that works.  
The "code" that God has provided is the provision
for the washing away of our sin through the forgiveness
provided by the sacrifice of Jesus.

This Way Works
This "code" works.  When we forgive and are forgiven, the
negative emotion stops.  It stops because the wound that the
pain was warning us about has been healed.  The sin has been
washed away, and Jesus has come into that place in our heart.  
The "burglar" is now gone.  Jesus' provision truly is Good

When I was angry with the other driver who didn't go through
the green light, I had judged him.  I needed to take care of that
as soon as I could, immediately if possible.  That way I could
catch the "burglar" before he had a chance to do any damage.

My Emotions Are My Guide
After I pray, if I still find myself agitated, especially if my anger is
extreme and is contaminating my day, I need to look for a long
buried root of sin.  Perhaps I had judged my parents for never
paying attention to my needs.

Even worse, perhaps I judged myself as being unworthy to
have my needs met by others; and therefore it is left up to me
to take care of myself.

Certainly, it is true that the other driver was not sensitive to my
needs, and it was his behavior that touched that wound deep
inside me.  But it wasn't what he did that was the problem.

What planted the bitter root was my reaction to what he did.  
Feeling the emotion gives me an opportunity to face what I did
and thus to be set free from the consequences of the bitter root.

It Is Complicated,
And Yet Simple
The code to my home burglar alarm is simple, but this “code”
to end my negative emotions appropriately is complex.  It is
complex because many of the old roots of bitterness are
deeply buried and I have forgotten about them.  I cannot
remember many of them myself.  It is therefore too complex for
me to understand.

But it is not too complicated for Jesus, and He will lead me in
this process of finding the bitter roots and being healed.  I may
also need another person to walk through this with me, such
as a trusted friend, or a counselor.

I Need To Listen Inside
I also need to listen to my Treasure Inside, who is telling me
what is wrong inside.

Ideally, teaching me how to listen to my emotion and to then
pray was the job assigned to my parents.  In my own
childhood, my parents were as ignorant about this as I, so
there was no way for them to teach me.  In fact, they did the
opposite of facilitating my ability to hear my Treasure Inside.

They wounded me and I built The Wall, which reduced my
innate ability to hear my emotions.  Unfortunately, many
parents are unable to mentor their children in order to help
them hear what is going on in the Treasure Inside them.

It Is Never Too Late
If this is true of you, now as an adult you need to have The Wall
dismantled, and then to learn what your parents should have
taught you when you were very young --- how to understand
the valuable friend you have in your Treasure Inside.  It is never
too late.

When I first realized how shut down I had been inside, I
questioned the Lord, "Why didn't I know this earlier?"  I felt
bitter because I had to suffer for many years before I became
aware of the truth.  But then I realized how blessed I was.  Many
people never learn about the "code," and they suffer for their
whole life.  We are blessed to know this now.

Are “Bad” Emotions Sin?
Many of us have been taught that "bad" emotions are sin.  For
instance we may have been taught that it is a sin to feel jealous.

However, it should now be clear to you that it is not a sin to feel
jealous.  There is nothing wrong with that emotion, and so we
do not need to repent of feeling jealous.  The emotion is simply
the message system.  
There is a sin present, but the sin is not
the feeling.

The Negative Emotion Guides Me
There is a root of bitterness inside us (planted by a sinful
reaction of judging), and we need to know about the presence
of this bitter root.

    •        The judging was sin.
    •        The message (emotion) telling us this fact
                   is not sin.

We do then need to find out what the root is and be healed of
that.  This may sound like hair splitting, but there is a profound
difference between the feeling and the root.

The bitter root of sin exists, and the feeling is just the signal
telling us about the root.  The signal is not sin, but rather it is
just our faithful messenger, our helper, and our friend.

Killing The Messenger
In ancient times, when a messenger brought bad news, the
king had the messenger killed. Of course, the problem wasn't
the messenger or the message he carried.  The messenger was
simply a mechanism for informing the king of what was going
on elsewhere.

When something bad was happening elsewhere, the news was
bad. We now look at the king's response and see how
ridiculous that is.  And yet that is exactly what we have done if
we have shut off our emotions because they are "bad."  

Repressing Emotions Hurts Us
Repressing or trying to squash our emotions produces
negative consequences in our lives.  We are the ones who
suffer.  When we repress the negative emotions to keep from
feeling the pain, we miss out on the awareness that something
inside needs attention.  That is what the negative emotions are
telling us.

If we continue to ignore them, there will be unfortunate
consequences.  Whatever is wrong inside will eventually come
to the surface in some fashion, because the problem inside will
become too large to ignore.

Ulcers, insomnia, and uncontrolled outbursts of anger are
common examples of this.  When we do not allow emotions to
come "straight out" (listen to them and resolve them) as God
intended, they eventually come out "sideways" and produce
problems in our life.

The Paradox Of "Selfishness"
Some people believe it is "selfish" to seek to have their own
needs met.  They believe that it is pleasing to God for them to
always give up their own needs for the benefit of others, and so
they believe it is a sin to seek to get their own needs met.

This belief brings about a paradox.

    1.        When these people thus try to always give up their
    own needs, they become more needy inside, and thus
    more focused on getting their unmet needs met.  When
    they ignore a need, the message from their Treasure
    Inside gets louder and louder and eventually becomes
    difficult to ignore.  Thus they become highly motivated to
    fill the need.  They become more "selfish."  To the degree
    they do succeed in denying their own need, they
    experience the unfortunate consequences which I have
    just listed ---- the emotion comes out "sideways."

    2.        On the other hand, when they understand that they
    have legitimate needs and recognize that the message
    coming up from their Treasure Inside is their friend, they
    are able to get the need met in an appropriate way.  
    Because the need is not yet so severe that it is screaming
    at them for fulfillment, there is not an urgency about
    meeting the need.  They are then still in a position to be
    particular as to how the need is met.  They can thus
    succeed in having their legitimate need met in a legitimate
    way.  When their need is met, they are no longer focused
    on themselves and are free to give to others.  They
    become less "selfish."

Thus the paradox is that for those who try not to be "selfish,"
what seems so right (not being selfish) brings about failure.  
What seems so wrong (getting their own needs met) would
bring about success.

This seeming paradox is fueled by their neediness.  Unmet
needs scream at them for fulfillment.  Met needs bring about
peace inside, freedom, and the ability to love others as they
love themselves.

The Role Of Positive Emotions
God gave us both positive and negative emotions.  So far we
have been focusing on the negative ones.  Remember, He
made the negative ones unpleasant so we would avoid
whatever was causing them.

The positive ones are also useful.  God made them pleasant so
we would
approach whatever causes them.  They signal the
receipt of something good for us.  When children need to be
held, they hold up their hands so that their parent will pick them
up and fill the need.  Once they have been filled with the touch
of the parent, they are ready to get down and again explore the

Knowing What We Need
Since we are needy creatures, it is important that we have a
way of knowing what is good for us so we can seek it out and
receive it.  Feeling both positive and negative emotions is
therefore meant to be our way of navigating through life.

Unfortunately, when we repress our negative feelings, we lose
the good ones too.  "The tragic thing about burying or
smothering negative feelings is that it doesn’t stop with them.  
The good, positive ones get clobbered at the same time."
(Jacobs, p.25).

Jesus Felt His Emotions
The Bible describes Jesus as experiencing many emotions.  He
was sad, He wept, He was angry, and He had compassion.    
We are also instructed to experience emotions.   We are given
permission to be angry, but we should not let it drive us into
sinning.  We are encouraged to be joyful.  We are told that we
can experience peace.

Can You Rely On Your Emotions?
It may shock you to know that your emotions are always
100% accurate
.  Your emotions are not sometimes accurate,
or often accurate.  They are
always accurate - - -  in one way.  
They always tell you exactly what is going on
inside you.

Because of old wounds and the reactions that are triggered by
their presence, our emotions
may not be an accurate measure
of what is going on
outside of us.

For instance, I might feel rejected by the host at a party, only to
find out later he liked me!  My emotion was not an accurate
indicator of what was happening in my relationship with the
host at the party (what was happening
outside me).

What Was Going On Inside Me
Nevertheless, the feeling was giving me very important
information about what was happening inside me.  In this
situation, my emotion was saying I have an old root of
bitterness that was triggered when I felt rejected.  I need to
know this so that I can find the old root of rejection and be

Whenever my emotions are not appropriate to the
circumstances, this is an important clue that there is a wound
inside me that needs to be taken care of.  In these situations, if I
blame others, or circumstances, or if I dismiss my emotions as
undesirable, I rob myself of the opportunity of seeing that I
have a wound inside me.  Then I miss out on the opportunity of
being healed.

My emotion was my friend giving me important information
about what was going on inside me.

Leave No Negative Emotion

Be aware that subtle negative emotions also give you
important information.  The walk of constantly listening to your
negative emotions should not be limited to "nuclear blasts."  In
fact, the majority of negative emotions that you feel will be fairly

For instance, you may be a bit irritated because your wife left
the top off the toothpaste tube, but you may not be so angry as
to start an argument.

The Small Emotions Count
Nevertheless, this emotion is still a signal that you judged her,
and so you need to pray.  Otherwise these little bitter roots will
accumulate (a bundle of bitter roots will be forming in your
heart), and at some point you may explode at her over
something minor.

For most of us, these sorts of mild reactions happen many
times a day, and we therefore need to pray many times a day.  If
we do this we don't have to carry the burden of those sinful
reactions, because Jesus takes them.  We then experience the
rest that Jesus promised.

A Strange Language
If you have not been listening to what your emotions are telling
you, their "language" will likely be strange to you.

Our parents were supposed to teach us how to understand this
language.  If they didn't (and mine sure didn't, because they
didn't know it themselves), and if we have been running from
our emotions, we are probably not very adept at describing
how we feel.

Describing Feelings
Saying, "I feel like he doesn't listen to me" is not a feeling.  It is
a conclusion.  Saying "I feel unimportant," or "I feel lonely," are
descriptions of emotions.

If you have difficulty describing what you are feeling, the list of
negative and positive emotions referred to at the end of this
chapter may help you put a name to what you are feeling.

We need to learn this language so that we can understand
what our emotions are telling us, and thus to benefit from the

At the bottom of this page is a helpful practice
that will begin taking you down the road to
understanding your emotions.  It can be the
key to your healing.

Our "feelings" are special, wonderful gifts that God has given
to us so that we can know the conditions that exist inside us.  
These messages are our helpers, and we need to listen to them.

Our "bad emotions" are not sin.  They are simply the message
system God gave us to alert us to when all is not well inside us,
when something needs attention.  We may have an unmet
need, or we may have a root of bitterness inside.

It is important for us to "leave no negative emotion
unexamined," because our negative emotions always tell us
accurately when there is a root of sin hidden inside us.

The living God has provided the way to fix all these things by
washing away our sin.  He also wants to walk with us in our
Treasure Inside to show us what He wants to heal inside us.

Our positive emotions are also important.  They are enjoyable
and fun, and they will also guide us into those things that
minister to us.  Each of us is a unique person who finds
fulfillment in unique ways, and the positive emotions are the
signposts directing us to our fulfillment.  In addition, these
good feelings are a
reward for achieving cleansing from our
sins, and obtaining fulfillment of our needs.

A Way To Listen to Every
Negative Emotion
(Note that the way to pray about the emotions once
you identify them will become clearer as you read the
rest of the book chapters posted on this website)

It is of utmost importance that you actually act in
applying the blood of Jesus every time you judge, or
you will have no change in your life.

You will have the most success in walking out your healing if
you have a practical routine to use.  Otherwise it is easy to slip
back into your old pattern of not listening to your emotions.

I suggest that you make it a practice to
listen to every
negative emotion
, and I have created an assignment that
you can do daily.

The following are common questions people have
expressed about their healing walk:

    •        How can I truly make peace with myself and come to
    love myself?
    •        How can I hear the voice of God so He can lead me in
    my healing?
    •        How can I take down the wall inside me?
    •        This healing thing is so complicated.  How can I
    possibly get it right?
    •        How can I keep from losing the healing I have
    already attained?
    •        How can I know that the Lord has healed a bitter
    •        How do I know when there is a deeper root behind
    what just happened that triggered me?
    •        How can I know when I should be done praying?
    •        How can I possibly "count it all joy when I encounter
    various trials?"

Listening to every negative emotion is a very powerful practice
that can provide the answers to these questions and peace for
the anxiety that results when emotions are stirred up.  

Your negative emotions are a powerful tool that the Lord can
use to direct your healing.  He is in charge of your healing, truly
wants you healed, and knows the path you need to follow to
get healed.  Therefore He puts you into situations that are
divinely ordained to bring up the next issue He wants to work
on.  He will tell you about it by the negative feeling that comes
up.  It is like a dentist poking around in your mouth.  When he
touches a sore spot, you know it.

Therefore, your negative emotions are a powerful way that the
Lord can lead you, all day every day.  Therefore, you can
"count it all joy," because the pain is going to lead to healing.


Pay Attention
Keep a pad of paper with you to write down every incident of a
negative emotion, no matter how small.   It can be a short note
or a long journal.  It is your choice.

A major purpose of keeping a written list is so that if at the end
of the day your paper is blank, you will know you haven't been
listening.  We all judge (and therefore have a negative emotion)
many times every day.  It is very easy to fall back into the old
pattern of not listening if we aren't careful.

Pray over each item on your list
Be diligent to set aside time to get quiet and comfortable where
there is a minimum of distractions.  Look at each item on the
list.  Close your eyes and remember the recent incident that
triggered the negative emotion.
•        Choose a feeling word to describe the feeling. Most
negative emotions are signals that you have judged.  If you
need help naming the emotion, see the attached list of
•        Forgive whomever/whatever you have judged.
•        If your Treasure Inside is the one you have judged, ask
him/her to forgive you.

Ask the Lord to forgive you for the judgment,
•        To remove the bitter root
•        To cleanse that place with His blood
•        To fill that place with His spirit.

Sample Prayer
I always hesitate to give sample prayers, because we need to
be praying as Jesus leads, not in a rote prayer.  But I am
including an example to get you started.  As soon as possible,
try to begin to pray in your own way.
For example, suppose a man cuts me off in traffic.  I feel anger
spring up at him, I honk my horn and utter some words.  Then I
would catch myself and say something like,
"Lord, I have just judged that man."  I would name the feeling
behind the anger, in this case "demeaned", or "belittled."  I
would speak directly to the man,
"Mister, I forgive you for pulling out in front of me, for treating
me as being of less importance than you, for ignoring my
Lord, forgive me for judging that man, for taking Your place on
the throne as the judge.
I ask You to reach down inside me and remove that bitter root I
just planted.
Wash that place clean with Your blood, and then please fill that
place with Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, bless that man's day, and keep him safe.
I pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen."

After you pray
Review the incident and see if there is peace. If there is peace,
you are done. If not, there is more praying to be done. The
further praying may have to do with the current event, or there
may be an older, deeper root to be prayed about.
•        When you have peace, you are done. Peace means that
the work the Lord wanted you to do right now is done. It does
not necessarily mean that every bitter root with respect to that
person or type of situation is gone.  If there is more, in due
season the Lord will bring it up.
•        Once you have prayed and have peace, then just go on
and enjoy the day.

Continue Paying Attention
If on any given day you have an almost blank piece of paper,
this always means you haven't been listening.  We all judge
many times a day.

Making Friends With Yourself
If you have a history of judging yourself, once you begin to
listen you may be astonished at how awful you are to yourself.
A key to healing is to make friends with your Treasure Inside.  
This friendship, built on a growing trust, comes about by
listening every time your Treasure Inside sends up a negative
feeling,  It is a bit like a parent with a child.  If the child cries, a
good parent will ask the child what is wrong, with the idea of
correcting whatever is the problem.  When a parent does this
consistently, the child grows to trust the parent, knowing the
parent has their best interest at heart.

Positive Emotions
Also listen to your positive emotions, because they are also
directional.  They point you towards things that are good for

It is not selfish to listen to your positive emotions.  Of course,
no prayer is necessary, because they are not pointing out sin.  
Just enjoy them!

The Questions
What about the common questions posed at the beginning of
this article?  By letting the Lord lead you through your negative
emotions, and forgiving and being forgiven (applying the blood
of Jesus), you will find all these questions being answered.

You can't do it, but Jesus can - and wants to!  Through this
process you will be changed into the image of Jesus, step by

An Extra Bonus Of This Practice:
Listening to every negative emotion, recognizing I have judged,
forgiving and being forgiven, is in fact the giving up the
Lordship of my life, moment by moment, to the Lord Jesus.  It
causes me to become aware of my need for a savior many
times a day.  This is a very good thing, and draws me closer to

Negative Emotions
Anger (When you feel anger, you need to go deeper.  Look
below the anger, and you will find another emotion that is being
expressed as anger.  It is important to find the underlying
emotion, because it is a clue as to what went wrong how you
judged; and therefore to know how to pray.

An Important Clue About Emotions
When you are trying to feel the emotion in the above exercise, it
is important that you name the emotion.  Feeling words
describe your emotion, and they are things like: belittled,
betrayed, controlled, disvalued, exasperated, fearful are the
kinds of words to use.  If you say: "It feels like she did not listen
to me," that is not an emotion.  It is a conclusion.  In this case
you would name a feeling something like "disvalued," or
"ignored," or "unimportant."  Any time you start out with "It
feels like," you are not naming a feeling.

Don't be surprised if at first you have a hard time picking a
feeling word to describe an emotion.  You probably haven't
been doing it before.  

If you would like some help with naming emotions, you can see
a PDF file listing many feeling words.

Click here to see the list.

               of the previous exercise for listening
     to every emotion. .

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    Copyright 2003 Edward Kurath
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