Facts and Feelings
A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” Luke 23:22
I often don’t feel like doing the things I know I should. I sometimes don’t feel like going to work. I often don’t feel like eating healthy and occasionally, I don’t feel like getting up early to go to the gym. Sometimes, I feel like staying home instead of attending my regular recovery meeting.
This is a problem for the addict, who has followed his destructive feelings and desires over what is right and healthy. Following his own preferences is what got him addicted in the first place. Feelings are a powerful force though, often overriding facts and truth.
In today’s passage, Jesus had been arrested and delivered to Pilate, who could find no guilt in him worthy of death. Three times he told the crowd that Jesus didn’t deserve to be crucified and three times, the crowd ignored the truth, demanding his death. In Matthew’s account of the same event, we’re told that Pilate washed his hands of Jesus’ fate and that the crowd, in their emotionally frenzied state, gladly accepted responsibility, His blood be on us and on our children (Matthew 27:25)!
Often, we follow our feelings over what we know to be right. We want something so badly, that it blinds us to the inevitable consequences. Whether it’s porn, drugs, gambling, explosive anger, greed, or an inappropriate relationship, our appetite overrides what we know to be right and good for us. We follow our desires, making poor choices which lead to misery. Then, in hindsight, we look back, asking, How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking?
It’s not that we should be emotionless robots. It’s just that we must recognize that we shouldn’t be enslaved to our impulsive feelings. God is love and he has made us to experience emotions and desires. Our feelings though, must be guided by the boundaries of what is true and right. Love needs truth, just as truth needs love.
Daily, in all things, we need to be honest enough to examine our motives. Am I doing this because it’s right, or simply because it’s what I want? Living enslaved to our feelings leads to misery. Following God’s path leads to joy and peace as he shapes our desires.