“Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139.21-24

I still remember the shock I felt as a young Christian when I first read David’s declaration of hatred for the ungodly. I wondered: how did such words come to be inscribed in a book of prayers to God?

Up till then, I had only heard people express positive emotions to God in prayer. I myself found it very difficult to openly express any negative emotions at all. In fact, I considered such emotions sinful, and whenever I experienced them, I would withdraw from God rather than share them with Him.

It was only when a friend challenged me to study the emotional life of Christ that I discovered that Jesus experienced the whole gamut of human emotion. If the sinless Christ even experienced negative emotions, then they could not be sin! In fact, for Jesus, strong emotions were signals that it was time to talk to the Father and seek His will, not withdraw from Him (Matthew 26:36-44).

That was the case for David as well. In today’s passage, David clearly expresses his hatred towards the ungodly, submitting his thoughts and feelings to God to be searched, corrected if need be, and directed, so that he could accomplish God’s will.

God may or may not arrange our circumstances like we'd want, but the most important thing is to draw near. Instead of keeping our distance, we must come boldly before our caring Father and express exactly how we are feeling. There is no place more secure and freeing.

Father, thank You that emotions, even negative ones, are not sinful; rather, they are aids to intimacy with You because they invite me to submit every thought and feeling to You throughout the day so I deepen my relationship with You and accomplish Your will in all situations. Amen.

Take Action

Right now in prayer, take down your guard and tell God exactly how you are feeling: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Then receive His wisdom and encouragement for your situation.

Tags: Psalms emotional health