Emotions are a contentious topic in Christian theology, because they are both powerful and morally ambiguous
The Bible is both deeply affirming of human emotions, and acutely aware of the danger of being controlled by them.11
To be human is to have emotions, and the Bible is full of them. Jesus, too, shared the emotions common to humanity, both negative and positive. He felt extreme grief at the prospect of his death (Matt ); he was consumed by jealousy on the Lord ‘s behalf (John 2:16–17); he exulted when the Spirit showed him what the Father is like (Luke ).
Not all emotions are desirable, of course, and the Bible uses language of being ‘overwhelmed’ for unwelcome emotions, emotions that come from outside and ‘prevail against’ us, such as terror, guilt, or grief (e.g., Pss 55:5; 65:3; 88:7–8). Not that there is anything wrong with feeling them – it’s part of living in a fallen world. However, ‘passions’ are another story. The word ‘passion’ is used to translate a wide range of Greek and Hebrew words whose meaning spans craving, strong desire, lust, jealousy, rage, or anguish. What these very different internal states have in common is that they tend to overwhelm us and control our behaviour. They pull at us so that we will give in to them. They long to direct our lives in place of the Holy Spirit.12