Feelings (whoa, whoa, whoa)

In 1974 Morris Albert released a song and album names ‘Feelings’ which led to great fame and the song has been covered by numerous other artists over the years. I believe the connection this song has had with generations is simple; we all have feelings. And every generation has its anthem trying to convince the people that they should follow their feelings. We want to believe that following our hearts will always lead us down the right path and that if something feels good then it must be good for us.

The problem with this cultural phenomenon that affects every generation is that it simply is not true. Just because something feels ‘good’ or feels ‘right’ does not make it good nor right. As a person who has struggled with being their weight and living a healthy lifestyle over the years I can promise you firsthand that it feels good to sit on the couch and be lazy and that eating at the buffet feels right. We all know that this kind of a lifestyle is not healthy and will eventually lead to poor health and a shorter, less enjoyable life.

Why is it then that we have come to believe that our feelings are a good moral compass? Why do we let how we feel lead us in one direction or another? The Bible teaches us that selfishness is the root of sin. Think back to the first sin in history back in the Garden of Eden; Adam and Eve did not sin by simply eating fruit. They sinned against God by refusing to trust him and his plan. God did not want humanity to know the difference between good and evil but rather to place total trust in him.

Sadly, our culture no longer wants to call sin immoral; we want morality to be relative to each person and each person to have the ability to decide what is right and wrong. We tell each other not to judge and to do what feels good. We are told to be tolerant and that if we call something wrong in an absolute sense then we are bigots or prejudiced. As every year passes it seems as if our culture is opening up more and more doors for people to choose for themselves rather than having a set cultural standard.

How do we react to this problem be effective ambassadors for Christ? The answer is that we must communicate truth in love. We must stand up for what is right and not be afraid to proclaim the standard of morality that God has set forth and to teach others that there is such a thing as absolute truth, concrete morality, and a God who defines those things. We must do our homework, study, and prepare to have those hard conversations but also do so in love.

We must also put aside our feelings to do what is best; even if it doesn’t feel good. Exercising does not feel good; neither does healthy eating or anything else that goes against our desire for gratification. These things are, however, part of healthy living. In the same way, we must tell ourselves that our feelings do not define right and wrong. Sex outside of marriage is wrong even if our culture says it is right. The list of things could go on and on.

Consider what the book of Proverbs says:

[12] There is a path before each person that seems right,but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12 NLT)

[4]Lazy people want much but get little,but those who work hard will prosper. (Proverbs 14:4 NLT)

[24] Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NLT)

[11] A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense. (Proverbs 12:11 NLT)

 

While there are many others that speak to this topic this handful goes to show that it is wise to not follow your heart but to use wisdom. Just because something feels good does not make it right. In my experience, many things that feel right are the best things for us. Many times the opposite is true. As a teacher I have seen many students fail because they were too lazy to study. Hard work never feels good; it just pays off in the end.

Starting right now I want us to begin to look at life not based on how they make us feel but rather on what God has to say about them. Just because dating that guy or gal feels good does not mean they will be a godly partner for you to marry. Just because it feels good to drive that new car does not mean it is a wise financial decision. Just because that new job promotion will feel good because of the new respect or money it will give you does not mean it is what is best for your family. Use wisdom to look past your feelings and see the truth.

I know this goes against what our culture teaches; look at any television commercial and you’ll see. But if you examine the life of those who have had a great impact on history you’ll see that they did not do what felt good, they did what was good. I am thankful that the founders of our nation did not sit in comfort behind their wealth but put their very lives on the line to begin our great nation.

I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in the military who did not stay at home where they were safe with their families but risked it all to protect this nation. More than anything, I am thankful that Jesus did not follow his feelings when it came to the cross. He did not want it (who would?) but he was obedient unto death so that we could have a restored relationship. This is the model we must follow and be willing to put aside our feelings and do what is right.

On a final note, good things do feel good; that’s why feelings can be deceptive. Good things and bad things can both feel good. When I serve my family I can feel good about how I showed them love. But, it doesn’t always feel good while I’m doing the serving (washing dishes, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, etc.). Be careful of your feelings and stay on guard not to let them rule your life. Trust God’s word over the teachings of our culture to find true wisdom. 

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