Thursday, January 14, 2010
Go with your feelings? Not.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2: 6-8
I was once elected foreman of a jury on a felony assault case. I had a difficult time keeping the other jurors on task and focused on the instructions and statement of law. Sometimes I felt as though I was babysitting a bunch of little kids in an unruly classroom.
The biggest challenge I had was to keep the emotions and feelings of the other 11 people reeled in. It was a revelation to me how fast things could get out of control because people were going by their feelings to make a decision that would effect the life of another human being. Facts and letters of the law were easily set aside when emotion ruled the room. At times, I felt I was the only one who understood the evidence and could see that our only choice was to convict the defendant. Had I gone by my emotion, I would never have been able to send someone to prison.
Isn’t it the same way with trying to live out the Christian life – making important decisions and walking daily in God’s will. We have a foreman who keeps reeling us in, and a book of “law” to keep us focused on the real truth.
Living by emotion and making decisions based on feelings is a dangerous thing. We walk by faith in what we have learned from bible, and consider all the evidence that is put before us regularly. Then we compare the evidence with the word to make sure we are on the right track. How very easy it is to get sidetracked by fear, pride, sympathy or even carelessness. It is a sad thing when we skip a step in the process of finding out where to go and how to live. We are bound to miss the mark, hurting ourselves and others along the way.
In my case, we did convict, and when the judge met with us afterward, he shared with us things that left us with no doubt that we had done the right thing. Some of the ones who had gone on an emotional tangent, unable to bring themselves to face the truth, were brought up short. The judge knew things that we didn’t know, but according to the way of democracy, he had to let us come to the right conclusion with the tools we had.
Isn’t that just like God? He knows, but gives us tools to make up our own mind. It’s free will, and let’s hope we all set aside the things that hinder us from using it properly. I am thankful He gave me discernment when I was put in a position to need it. Without his guidance, I might have been sucked into the vortex of emotion.