(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, this theme that’s all over Proverbs, I call, “Sadness and Celebration.” It's about emotions; there's something interesting that comes to the surface in Proverbs, and it is the rich multifaceted emotional life of people made in God's image. Godliness is far from stoic. God never asks you to deny your emotional life, never.
In fact, think of the theology of emotions that comes across in Scripture. The Bible presents God as an emotional being, even in his infinite, holy perfection. God gets angry, God has pleasure, God hates, God loves, God rejoices. And so, it makes sense that if we are made in God's likeness, if we are made in His image, then that dynamic, that created truth about us sanctifies emotions. Emotions are a place where we’re God-like, and we’re more like God than we are like the rest of creation.
Man, the range is here in Proverbs. You have hot-tempered, glad heart, sorrow heart, anger, joyful heart, hatred, laughter, joy, grief, aching heart, stricken heart, fear, restless heart, and the list just goes on and on. But the Proverbs does something with emotions that I think is just so helpful and so important. It presents emotions as a moral barometer.
You could argue that your emotions are never neutral because they're attached to what rules your heart. If you want to know what you’re really living for, if you want to know what really controls your heart, don't look at your confessional theology; look at where you find joy, look at where you run after pleasure, look at what makes you angry, look at what you hate, look at what you love, and you will begin to understand what is really an effective, functional, street-level control of your heart. Every emotion can be an expression of what is deeply unrighteous or what is beautifully righteous in God's eyes. We need to pay attention to our emotions because they are a barometer.
The Bible will tell us that there is righteous anger; that in a fallen world, there are reasons that we should be angry. In a fallen world, there are things that we should hate. But the Bible also presents that there's dark and evil anger, selfishly oriented anger, anger that’s about me and not about God, and there is evil and dark and destructive hate. In a fallen world, there are reasons to fear. In a fallen world, there are reasons to be sad and to mourn.
And so, the Bible never, never calls you to deny your emotions. What the Bible tells you is that your emotions are never neutral. Your emotions are a barometer of the moral condition of your heart.
Now, I don't know about you, but I find that deeply convicting. I wish I could say that all of Paul Tripp’s anger is completely righteous, but I can't. I wish that I could say that all the things that make me sad are the things that would bring sadness in the heart of God, but I can't. And so, once again, as I think of the moral nature of even my emotions, I know how much I need the work of Jesus in my life!