I believe there's a common misunderstanding among Christians as it relates to our emotions; and in turn, our decisions. How and why we respond to our God-given emotions will not only tell us a lot about our own spiritual maturity, but it will tell others as well. Ever made a bad decision? This one's for you.
The two extremes are easy to see. On one hand, at one extreme, we find the "free for all" chaotic random actions of the emotionally immersed where how one feels is the filter by which one should determine to act. You'll hear the following from these kind of people:
"I didn't feel like doing it." or "I don't feel that's important." "I do what I want"
At the other extreme we find the "robotic" religious proceedings of the emotionally disconnected where emotions are not real and should be hidden, controlled, or ignored. You'll hear these kind of statements:
"You shouldn't feel that way." or "That feeling is wrong." "It's wrong for you to feel that way."
Where we get caught up is in the day to day meddling out of the two extremes whereby, I believe, we find ourselves, aware of our emotions, unsure of how to respond to them and yet unhappy with our actions as a result of them. We'll flock to any and everyone who can explain our emotions to us or provide us with some sense of justification as to why we feel the way we do. We end up with friends this way; people who feel how we feel to such an extent that we can breathe around them and let our guard down so we don't have to risk feeling or doing something we shouldn't. Right or wrong doesn't matter, as long as they can't or won't judge us for the things we do as a result of the things we feel.
What happens then, is we wait for the Right Feelings before we make Right Choices. We end up unhappy, discontent, condemned, worthless, and weary with the bad decisions that we've made, yet cyclically find ourselves in the same situation: feeling like junk because we made the wrong choice, somehow hoping that we'll start feeling better and then we can make right choices - because we make choices based on how we feel. Right Feelings produce Right Choices, right?
Not exactly. And you know it.
I can't tell you that what you feel isn't real. After all, you feel it. It's there. That greed, anger, jealousy, hurt, betrayal - are probably legitimate feelings based on the circumstances you've had to face. But just because they are real emotions doesn't mean that you have to act on those emotions, in the way that they're leading you to.
You don't have to keep ignoring their phone calls.
You don't have to quit attending that church.
You don't have to harbor unforgiveness toward that person.
That ecstasy, passion, love, and acceptance are all probably legitimate feelings for that person in your life but,
You don't have to lie for that person
You don't have to allow them to treat you badly
You don't have to sleep with them
Consider this important truth:
Emotions are not loyal. Our emotions will lead us one way one day, then the other the next.
What we allow to interpret our Emotions, Good or Bad will lead us to either make Right Choices or Wrong Choices. Look at this diagram:
If I don't allow the Word of God to interpret my situations and my feelings, the World will. Without the Word of God in your life to help you interpret how you feel and why you feel that way, your feelings will lead you on a path of Wrong Choices and Wrong Feelings.
As the Word of God helps me to interpret my feelings and my emotions, I am able to make Right Choices, which in return help me to feel right.
More simply put (and the whole purpose for me writing):
Right Choices produce Right Feelings.
This means I'll have to make Right Choices, even when I don't feel like it. That's how I work toward Righteousness, or Right-choice-ness.
Through what filter are you allowing your emotions to be interpreted? Are you acting on your feelings based on what the Word of God says to do, or based on what the World says is OK? Did you do that because you "wanted to"?
That might just be why you keep making the same bad decisions time after time.