Jul 26, 2009
One of the popular church teachings that I regret having any part of is the teaching that our feelings do not matter. You've probably heard it said by more than one preacher in your life. I was even guilty of preaching it a time or two in my day. It was always for the purpose of getting people to believe that God lived inside of them and was doing a work whether they "felt" something or not. I still stand by that statement, however I think that in our efforts to encourage people to believe in the promises of God despite their feelings, we have thrown the baby out with the bath water.
I think for many preachers, feelings have become the enemy. Because we had to answer so many people who were worried because they didn't feel anything, I think we began todespise the entire concept of human feelings. Many of us looked "feelings" up in the Bible and discovered that there is very little said about them. We naturally (and excitedly) concluded that God didn't care about feelings. We would say things like, "It doesn't matter how you feel, God has promised it and He never lies," or "God never asked how we felt about something because feelings are deceptive; they come and go."
I think I've heard Christians give the disclaimer, "I know it's not about feelings" about ten thousand times in the last few years. It seems that we believe our feelings have no place in the kingdom realm whatsoever. I think that we Christians have bought into this concept so much that we even crucify ourselves for having feelings at all. Because our religion has outlawed 90% of human emotion altogether, it's not surprising that so many of us have to be put on some sort of medication after a lifetime of feeling abandonment.
I was on a psychology website awhile ago, and I came across a list of human emotions. It
Scared teen-aged girls enter an abortion clinic hoping to find some way out of their mistake, and Christians heckle and berate them from the parking lot, calling them "murderers" and "baby killers" for no other reason then they found a verse in the Bible that forbids abortion. How this poor girl feels is the last thing on their mind. What's going on inside of her terrified heart is irrelevant to someone who'sblindly following the law.
In all my years, I don't think I've seen anything quite as loathsome as a Christian who has mastered today's "feeling-less faith." There is something so sickening about someone who rattles off Bible verses in an, "I believe it because the Bible says it" kind of way. We exalt people like this in the church because they seem to have reached a spiritual headiness that we all aspire to. Every time we see them, they present happiness and joy on their faces mixed with an unwavering determination to follow the Bible at any cost. They do not believe the Bible because they've actually experienced the truth and tasted its life. They believe it out of principal. To accomplish that level of belief; feelings must be completely snuffed out. What you think, must be intentionally ignored and routinely shot down.
The odd thing about this modern day Christian mind-set is that the same churches who encourage emotional paralysis, also rely on pure emotionalism to define the presence of God. I believe this is why so many Christians are so confused. In one breath we are told we can't trust our feelings and seconds later we're sitting through an emotional roller coaster ride of a sermon that gauges its "anointing level" by how emotional you get towards the end. Everything from the "‘worship service" to the sermon is carefully designed to get to that part of you that you were told not to trust. Today's church experience is a feeling extravaganza, with mood lighting, back ground music, and quivering voices all working together to provide you with the most emotional hour and a half of your week.
I would like to put forth the idea that the time in your life when your feelings can be trusted the least, is when you're sitting through one of these church services that are specifically designed to manipulate your emotions. In the daily course of life however, your feelings about things are surprisingly accurate. They can and should be trusted way more than you've been taught to believe. I do believe that we shouldn't base everything on our feelings, but that doesn't mean our feelings are always deceptive. The great thing is that you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, and the truth is; you know when to trust your feelings and when not to. Think about it. You really do!
I think many people living in the wild are just now getting back in touch with their feelings for the first time in years. Some of us aren't even sure how we feel at any given time, because we've been taught to ignore that part of ourselves for so long. I encourage you to reconnect with that part of you and learn to take control over it again. Many of us living in the wild are recovering victims of repeated emotional rape by our particular church. We are afraid to trust our feelings because our feelings were used as a tool to manipulate us for so long.
I think we should embrace and guard our feelings. They matter.
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