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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Feelings are a Choice

In our world today, feelings appear to be the number one motivation for decisions being made in every walk of life. It’s as if everyone is consumed with how others feel, or they feel and wanting everyone else to know it and adjust their lives accordingly.

Our governments, educational institutions, our churches, even the way people are parenting their children, all seem to be focused on eliminating the possibility of hurting someone’s feelings.

Though, I don’t believe there is anything patently wrong with considering how what we say and do affects others. The problem I see is our “feelings are a choice “.

The truth is, many times, nothing we say or do can change the way someone else feels. We may try and be empathetic and sympathize with someone, but even then, we cannot control the way they feel.

So, what can we do? How do we navigate the turbulent waters of a world who is carrying their feelings on their shoulders?

It starts with understanding and acknowledging the power of feelings. This can be done by asking ourselves why we feel the way we do about the issues we are passionate about.

You see, in almost every case, even our motivation to help someone else is because it makes us feel better. If we can agree with this, perhaps we can learn “feelings are a choice “and we can choose to feel differently.

Then, just maybe, our feelings will be genuine and motivated by caring instead of as aspiration to be seen as virtuous.

I am not trying to minimize the hurt and pain people have from both present and past hurts. I am just saying, ultimately getting over those issues is up to the individual.

As always, Jesus is our model for doing this.

After three years of teaching, preaching, and healing, He was arrested, beaten and crucified. Yet, even as the people hurled insults at Him, He chose to forgive them. I am sure His feelings, just like you and me, were real. Still, He choose to push beyond the natural selfishness we all share and forgave the people who led Him to the Cross.

What about you? Do you know your “feelings are a choice”?

If so, are you choosing to allow your feelings to lead you, are you aware you could be making choices you should not make? Or are you simply making choices because of the way they make you feel?

Either way, how we feel is our responsibility. This is true regardless of whether we like it or not!

Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

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