Last night Norma Jean and I were watching a Hallmark movie where the two lead characters, Jessica and Ted, were best friends from childhood.
When Ted reveals that he’s engaged to Jennifer, a high school classmate who Jessica remembers as “the queen of mean,” all kinds of feelings for Ted began to surface. To complicate matters Ted wants Jessica to plan their wedding.
All of Jessica’s friends believe she has feelings for Ted beyond a platonic friendship. Something Jessica initially denies but eventually admits. It’s a Hallmark movie, so you can guess how it ends.
Today, and for the next three days, we want to explore the topic of feelings.
Feelings. We all have them. Romantic feelings. Feelings of joy. Delight. Exuberance. Contentment. Gratitude. Acceptance. Peace. And love.
But sometimes we experience negative feelings like anger. Disappointment. Humiliation. Anxiety. Guilt. Resentment. Frustration. Fear. And Hate.
Feelings are one of the four chambers of the heart along with the intellect, will, and conscience. God made us with the capacity to feel. In fact, our emotional makeup is a sign that we’re created in the image of God.
The Bible speaks of God’s feelings for his creation. His compassion. His empathy And His love. We’re encouraged to take our cares and concerns to God’s throne because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7).
The Psalmist often spoke of his broken, hurting heart. But that he could trust God to provide comfort and affect healing. (Ps 34:18; 51:17). “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him” (Ps 103:13).
Understanding our emotional makeup calls for us to be honest with our feelings. Not to ignore them. Deny them. Or to unnecessarily repress them. Typically, expressing our feelings is better than suppressing them. Be honest with yourself and others about your feelings.
Discretion, however, is essential in deciding when to share your feelings with others and when to keep them to yourself. The wise man counsels, “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back” (Prov. 29:11). There are just some things others don’t need to know. Sharing those feelings will do more harm than good.
Our feelings, therefore, must be controlled and channeled in an appropriate way. Some feelings may be undesirable, unlawful, or unholy. I’ve heard people justify inappropriate behavior or hurting words with the refrain, “I can’t help it. That’s just the way I feel.”
Feelings of the flesh that are lustful, arrogant, or greedy, can be subjugated to the will of God as we walk by the Spirit. The Bible tells us we can control our evil desires. Our carnal inclinations. And our sinful feelings (Gal. 5:16-26). When we know that our feelings are not right, remember the advice of O. H. Mowrer, “It’s easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of acting.”
Furthermore, our feelings toward others ought to be motivated by their best interest and not ours. The word “sympathy” literally means “to feel with.” In this regard, the Bible admonishes, “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves” (Phil. 2:3-4, CEV).
Finally, the nobility of good and godly feelings is well expressed by Helen Keller who was both blind and deaf. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman