Sermon quotes on emotions

David Brooks

The key to a well-lived life is to have trained the emotions to send the right signals and to be sensitive to their subtle calls.

Elisabeth Elliot

It is Christ who is to be exalted, not our feelings. We will know Him by obedience, not by emotions. Our love will be shown by obedience, not by how good we feel about God at a given moment. “And love means following the commands of God.” “Do you love Me?” Jesus asked Peter. “Feed My lambs.” He was not asking, “How do you feel about Me?” for love is not a feeling. He was asking for action.

Elisabeth Elliot

Choices will continually be necessary and — let us not forget — possible. Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them.

Discipline: The Glad Surrender


P.D. James

“Feel, he told himself, feel, feel, feel. Even if what you feel is pain, only let yourself feel.”
 The Children of Men


Helen Keller

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” 


Peter Kreeft

The only way God can strengthen his presence in our will is to weaken his presence in our feelings. Otherwise we would become spiritual cripples, unable to walk without emotional crutches. This is why he gives us dryness, sufferings, and failures.” 

Prayer for Beginners

Ronald A. Heifetz

When you lead people through difficult change, you take them on an emotional roller coaster because you are asking them to relinquish something—a belief, a value, a behavior—that they hold dear. People can stand only so much change at any one time.


Brennan Manning

To ignore, repress, or dismiss our feelings is to fail to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our emotional life. Jesus listened. In John’s Gospel we are told that Jesus was moved with the deepest emotions (11:33)… The gospel portrait of the beloved Child of Abba is that of a man exquisitely attuned to His emotions and uninhibited in expressing them. The Son of Man did not scorn of reject feelings as fickle and unreliable. They were sensitive antennae to which He listened carefully and through which He perceived the will of His Father for congruent speech and action.”

Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging  

Toby Mckeehan

Faith isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice to trust God even when the road ahead seems uncertain.


Watchman Nee

The more one probes the workings of an emotional life the more he will be convinced of its vacillation and undependability. No one should wonder that a child of God who walks by emotion rather than by spirit usually comports himself in a wavelike fashion. He bemoans his existence because it is so unstable.

Eugene Peterson

Pity is one of the noblest emotions available to human beings; self-pity is possibly the most ignoble . . . . [It] is an incapacity, a crippling emotional disease that severely distorts our perception of reality . . . a narcotic that leaves its addicts wasted and derelict.

Eugene Peterson

A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.


Richard Sibbes

Measure not God’s love and favor by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.

Rick Warren

The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.


Clay Scroggins

Many of us tend to be passive with our thoughts and feelings. We treat them like they rule us, like they are in charge of us, and not the other way around. We forget that our thoughts and feelings are our thoughts and feelings. We own them. They do not own us.

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

Louisa May Alcott

“I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.”

Little Woman

Henri Nouwen

Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: “These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, The Crossroad Publishing Company.

Jean Kilbourne 

We are surrounded by hundreds, thousands of messages every day that link our deepest emotions to products that objectify people and trivialize our most heartfelt moments and relationships. Every emotion is used to sell us something…It becomes difficult to imagine a way of relating that isn’t objectifying and exploitive.

“Jesus Is a Brand of Jeans,” New Internationalist, September 2006.

Richard Plass and James Cofield

Not every emotion needs expression, but every emotion needs recognition.

Taken from The Relational Soul: Moving from False Self to Deep Connection by Richard Plass and James Cofield, Copyright (c) 2014, p.49 by Richard Plass and James Cofield. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Toni Morrison

I want to feel what I feel. What’s mine. Even if it’s not happiness, whatever that means. Because you’re all you’ve got.

Giovanni Frazzetto

Emotions make our minds speak to each other. They are the most faithful reproduction of our inner worlds, broadcast externally in the expression of our faces.

Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love, Penguin Publishing Group, 2014, p.11.

John Ortberg

Awareness of what I’m feeling generally brings the awareness that I am not my feelings. And then I can begin to see you more clearly and relate to you more intimately. It’s a little like shifting my focus from looking through a window to looking at the window and noticing the streaks and dust and cracks that are distorting my vision.

I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2017), Kindle Electronic Version.

Jennie Allen

I began to see a pattern at work in many of us. Our emotions were leading us to thoughts, and those thoughts were dictating our decisions, and our decisions were determining behaviors, and then the behaviors were shaping our relationships, all of which would take us back to either healthy or unhealthy thoughts.

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts, WaterBrook, 2020.

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock)

“What am I allergic to? “Pine nuts. And the full spectrum of human emotion.”

The Proposal, 2009.

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