Human feelings have a great role in living a happy life. The measure we achieve integrating our feelings, will be the measure we achieve happiness and sanctity that we want to possess. From Christian point of view, we understand that disorder of emotions occurred in human nature due to original sin, which was the result of the desire of the First Parents, to become greater than God.
Christianity gives importance to fostering and guiding the emotions, because they either foster or hinder our psychological and spiritually healthy life. Hence, Jesus insists that refraining from doing evil or adhering to certain external rules alone is not enough but a radical change of heart is needed for directing our emotions: “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts … wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy … All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). In another context Jesus states: “The good man out of the good reassure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
All of us have the possibility of channeling our feelings. We should not think that we are necessarily formed either generous or envious, affectionate or cold, optimistic or pessimistic and so it is impossible to change. The atmosphere in the family, school or even the culture in which we live and particularly our faith can influence powerfully to form and guide our emotions either for better or for worse. Above all, with God’s grace, we can improve and help other members of the family to improve our emotions and form our character.
Our actions are induced by feelings. However, with God given faculties of freedom, namely, with our intellect and will, we can direct the negative feelings to act positively. For example, one can feel fearful but can act courageously; one can feel hatred, but can act with forgiveness. Our human dignity is maintained depending on how far we are able to direct and guide our emotions for our positive growth.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.