By Brother Michel Lankford
Neighbor I want to thank you for your question.
As It Is Written: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15 NASB95)
The first thing that we must do is we must learn to keep Feelings in their proper place. Feelings do Count. Feelings are real. Feelings and emotions do affect us. Feelings do have a place at the table of our decision-making process. To claim that feelings do not affect us, is to be naive and to deny reality. At the same time, way too many people are driven by their feelings. Far too many people, (many believers included), use how they feel about things to be the ultimate deciding factor in how they interpret reality, and they allow their feelings to be the determining factor in how they will make their decisions about various situations.
The problem is that feelings function a lot like unruly children. Feelings are often sincere about reality as they see it, just as little children are, but our feelings are often sincerely wrong or not accurate.
Think about it objectively. Most children are shortsighted. They are sincere, but they CANNOT see past whatever they want and desire at any given moment. Emotions often function the same way. With extremely rare exception, no child who is denied something he or she wants, actually says to themselves, “Wow, I really want something, and my parents are denying my desire for immediate gratification. They are loving you right now. Mom and dad are helping learn to deny myself for a while, so that I can learn self-control, so that I will not be dominated, driven and consumed by the false feeling that I must have my every feeling and desire immediately satisfied in order to be happy and feel loved. Therefore, I am being loved and trained by parents who love me and care enough about me to train my character, so they do not give me everything I want, just because I want it right now. I am really being loved and blessed by they’re saying no to me now.
Be honest. Be objective. Be rational. The child CANNOT be that forward thinking yet. They do not have the developed character, knowledge and experience to see the value of self-denial. From their emotional and ceilings point of view, the child sincerely believes that if mom and dad only truly understood how badly I want this thing, then they would surely say yes, and they would not deny me this thing that I want. The child feels this sincerely with all their heart. Nevertheless, they are sincerely WRONG. They have not learned the truth yet that just because I am sincere about something, that doesn’t automatically mean that I am also right about everything that I’m thinking and feeling. No child in their right mind believes that they’re being treated well as they are being corrected and disciplined for misbehavior. The default as for them to sincerely believe that the discipline is always too harsh and unfair, regardless of how utterly necessary the correction actually is.
Most of the time, our emotions function just like unruly and undisciplined children. It takes a lot for people to get our emotions under healthy control. Feelings always believe that what they think is true. Feelings always want immediate gratification. Feelings always want what they want, and they want it now. Feelings are always tempted to believe that a desire denied, and the gratification unmet is an injustice that should be eradicated, by force or by tantrum if we feel that it is necessary to get the result, that we think we want at any given time.
I said all of that to say this, when it comes to decision-making, our feelings do have a place of the table, but they should ALWAYS be the LOWEST ranking member at the decision-making table. Feelings maybe sincere, but they’re usually WRONG when it comes to making good decisions that will bless you and build good character. So, I our feelings it should NEVER be the ultimate deciding factor in anything. This axiom is a especially true when it comes to deciding the interpretation of Scripture.
Feelings do have a place in our life. They have a voice at the council table, so to speak, but our feelings are ONLY ONE INDICATOR of something that I need to pray through, to work through, to overcome, or to be thankful for, according to whatever may be happening in our lives at any given moment. The thing is, too Many people allow their feelings to RULE the council table of their decision making process. That’s a HUGE ERROR. While our feelings can be taken into consideration, our feelings were NEVER supposed to be the DECIDING VOICE for any issue. Feelings are meant to be at the back seat of the bus. They are NEVER supposed to be allowed to be the engine that tries to drive the bus.
I said all of that because it is a CRUCIAL Life concept that many up and coming disciples miss in a big way.. Here is the key point. Whenever my feelings are in AGREEMENT with what Scripture teaches, then my feelings are on the right track. However, whenever my feelings disagree or are resisting to what Scripture teaches, then that is an indicator that I am heading the wrong way. My feelings are wrong. It’s an indicator that I need to cooperate with God and let Him change me in that area, until I come into agreement with God and what His Word says and teaches.
The point is that Scripture is true, regardless of how I may feel about it at any given moment (John 17:17; Psalm 119:142; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 119:160; Isaiah 40:8; Proverbs 3:4–6; Deuteronomy 8:2–3). The point is that Proverbs 12:15 is TRUE, and should be taken seriously whether I feel good about it or not.
The key to understanding Proverbs 12:15 is realizing that before a person does the wrong thing, or before they adopt a sinful lifestyle, a person will first lie to themselves. They will convince themselves that what they are choosing to do is right even when it’s wrong. That way they can do the wrong thing that they want to do, and not feel as much shame or guilt about it.
Even a bank robber or a murderer usually has lied to himself first. On some level he has convinced himself that he has no other choice, or that he is somehow justified in doing what he is choosing to do.
That is why we MUST evaluate things by God’s Standards, because it is way too easy to lie to ourselves, (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 3:5–7; Isaiah 5:20–24; 1 John 3:7–10). Do not be deceived. Do not deceive yourself.
In the end, Scripture says with Scripture says. How I FEEL about it is largely irrelevant. How I feel about what a Scripture says, is actually an indicator of how mature I truly am as a human being.
- My job is to learn what Scripture physically says.
- My job is to learn what Scripture teaches.
- My job is to come into agreement with Almighty God, and to obey what Scripture says and what Scripture teaches.
- If I ever encounter some Biblical teaching, Commandment, or Instruction that seems disagreeable to my feelings, then God is right, and it is MY FEELINGS that are either immature or wrong. God is right. I am the one who needs to cooperate with God and allow him to change my feelings until they agree with Him, because God is the One who is right. I’m the one was mistaken.
- So, if I do not feel good about Proverbs 12:15, (or any other Biblical precept), then it is my job to submit to God, and to cooperate with God, until He brings five feelings into agreement with Him and what He says, because he is the one who is right, and not me. If I’m in agreement that God, and then I am right. If I disagree with God, that I and the one who’s wrong, and I am the one who needs to change. It is that simple.
I thank you for your kind attention…
Brother Michel Lankford