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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Life is full of choices...how do you feel about that?

While my intent to return to discussing the Church remains, the topic of emotion seems most relevant to many at present. An article has been posted by my scriptural attorney that provoked yet another lengthy response from me. This post is actually a comment to his article so while your comments are always welcome here I would ask that if you can contribute to the discussion please do so on his post.

In my previous article I stated that how we feel is determined by our own actions. I concluded with an admonition for us all to learn to be aware of our feelings and to learn the proper response for each. Feelings also play an enormous role in becoming the compassionate, caring people God intends for us to be. Often they are the only scale available by which to measure the merit of our choice in what to do and say. When presented with a choice our feelings should at least be as valuable to us as our reasoning. If we learn to apply both properly we should find ourselves making wise decisions

Life really is full of choices. Some are presented to us while others are created by us. Some choices have more options than others and some are as simple as whether or not we should or should not take part in some activity. We are even responsible for the words we choose to use and we should always consider the consequence of our choices. Regardless of the origin and type of choice, knowing that our future feelings, including our feelings of happiness, are determined by our present deeds we should also learn to give due consideration as to how we might feel if we follow through with any given decision under consideration. Some of our biggest mistakes are made when we reason away a negative feeling. This process is called justification and there is no valid justification for the just outside of faith. Alternately some of our biggest blessings go unclaimed when we fail to accept that our desires are important to God and we then reject His providence because of a fear it might be selfish.

In order to apply our feelings productively we need to learn to separate our present feelings from future feelings. Sounds silly huh? It may be surprising to realize that a vast majority of our feelings are based on events that have not and may never occur or on some specific knowledge we have that cannot be known. We have those feelings when we believe we know the future or when we believe we know the intent of others; those very privileged moments when we are granted the divine ability to "see" how things are and will turn out given the present situation. It's at moments like this we need to realize that faith necessarily requires that we can't see the future. No matter how awful the situation God's part in it can change the outcome in an instant. We need to realize we can't even know our own heart, let alone the heart of another. Knowing this we will then give much less value to what our future feelings might be given the potential action of others and pay much more attention to the future feelings of others if we do as we intend based on this knowledge that can't be known. This is commonly known as the Golden rule and it is how we learn to love. This consideration of future feelings should always begin with God, followed closely by the feelings of others and then we can safely consider our own feelings. Good reasoning has good doctrine as a foundation and good doctrine is founded on the scripture. Our feelings should likewise be subject to our conscience and that guided always by the Holy Spirit.

Given the above circumstance and after due consideration of the consequences, you still feel good about your decision, it is likely the best course of action. If there is any doubt then you may do well to wait on the LORD. Remember, whatsoever is not of faith is sin. It might not be time to take action yet or you might lack some critical information necessary to make a wise decision as to what action, if any, should be taken. Making a good decision may not feel good at the moment but will eventually result in good consequences and good feelings, in other words, what is best for all.

Authors note: The above is much easier for me to say than to do! ;-)

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8 Comments:

Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I don't really know how to respond...give me sometime to sleep on it.

10/09/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Zeke said...

It may be surprising to realize that a vast majority of our feelings are based on events that have not and may never occur or on some specific knowledge we have that cannot be known.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: I have known a great many troubles over my life, most of which never happened.

10/10/2005 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

"Alternately some of our biggest blessings go unclaimed when we fail to accept that our desires are important to God and we then reject His providence because of a fear it might be selfish."

kc,I quoted your sentence above.
This is the statement of the century that slaps most fundamental and evangelical teachings in the face. I place most of my thinking right in line with both camps.
I tell you this is very hard for me to accept. I do believe its true though. At the core in the thinking that asking for things for ourselves from God is selfish is that dreaded word P R I D E.
I want to think it is humility or piety or denying myself, but its nothing but pride in thinking I don't want to tell the Creator of the Universe who IS love that I could do without your blessing on this or that. I am trying to find something to boast about and tell God how He doesn't have to do as much for me as He does for others.

Wow this is hard stuff to swallow......really hard.

10/11/2005 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

My friend, logic has never failed me. I have been fooled by fallacious reasoning, but it is not the reasoning that was wrong, it was my misunderstanding of it. But, I have been fooled continuously by my own feelings.

Do I like her? I love her. I hate her now. How could I feel so strongly in love with one person and yet it be so wrong? Because my feelings deceived me.

So, I fall back on my reasoning. I distrust my feelings. I am somewhat like Descartes. He rejected all senses based upon being routinely deceived by said senses. I reject all feelings based upon routinely being deceived by said senses.

I recognize though that just as God tells me to love Him with all my mind, I am likewise to love Him with all my heart...that is harder.

I don't want to love God right now, I want to go sleep...

What I am trying to say is that I somewhat agree with you. I SHOULD place more emphasis on my feelings. But you have to recognize as well that although I do believe more emphasis should be placed upon feelings, I never would say that they are of equal status with that of reasoning. If it feels right and yet all reasoning screams that it is wrong...it is wrong.

10/12/2005 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Zeke, Samuel is one of my fav philosophers. ;-)

Kris excellent point. If we can realize that pride is at the root of our rejection it will make it much easier to accept.

Adam it may be hard to accept but that makes you a prime target for manipulation. I offered a post admonishing believers to abstain from manipulation. I will prepare another post soon that explains how to avoid being a target.

10/12/2005 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Oh, this is so good!

There are some friends of mine who need so much to hear this!

10/12/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Joe thanks again. I think I need to hear it now again myself. :-o

10/12/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Nunzia said...

love the disclaimer at the end!

10/24/2005 01:31:00 PM  

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