2 - Navigating Negative Emotions

Turn to the Lord


Emotions play an important role in the human experience, but negative emotions in particular can be difficult to deal with. What’s the best way to navigate negative emotions and help others do the same? In this second session, Eric Johnson offers practical tips for guidance and turns to Scripture for help.  



Eric noted some responses to negative emotions that aren’t particularly helpful. Saying things like, “Oh, it’s not that bad,” or “It could be worse,” isn’t comforting to someone who’s hurting. These responses essentially tell the person whatever they’re feeling isn’t valid. 

Do you find yourself responding to people’s negative emotions in unhelpful ways? Have you ever thought of your responses as unhelpful? Why or why not? What is your reasoning for your typical response?
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Eric said we are predisposed to want to be happy. Do you agree with him? What around you in your home, family, community, and the world makes you feel like you should strive for happiness?
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Eric said when we desire only happiness we’re “not trusting the emotional equipment God has given us.” What does that mean to you?
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What are some common reasons people you know feel sad? Angry? Anxious?
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When you experience negative emotions, what is the most helpful way for people to respond to you?
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Eric suggests listening and empathy as vital tools in helping people navigate their negative emotions. You can listen well by asking good followup questions, and be empathetic by validating how people feel in words.   

Would you consider yourself a good listener? Why or why not?
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Are you an empathetic person? What kinds of things do you do or say that show your empathy?
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Lamentations 2:19 (ESV)

19“Arise, cry out in the night,

at the beginning of the night watches!

Pour out your heart like water

before the presence of the Lord!

Lift your hands to him

for the lives of your children,

who faint for hunger

at the head of every street.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Psalm 22:1-2 (ESV)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,

and by night, but I find no rest.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Scripture is a good guide when it comes to expressing negative emotions. As Eric said, the psalmist takes everything to the Lord. As you share more and more of your emotions with God, they change, we become more honest, and we are better able to regulate our emotions.  

What emotions do you feel called to bring to the Lord?
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If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by negative emotion, turn to the Lord. His Word reminds us that He is for us—He’s on your side. And the people He’s given us are there for us to talk and listen to. It’s okay to have negative emotions, but God wants you to bring them to Him so His love can be a comfort and a guide.