What do we do with friends and family whose decision making skills resemble those of a squirrel trying to cross the street? (And for some reason they involve us as a passenger on their emotional roller coaster ride.)
At what point if any do we try to be that person who breaks through to be the one to speak into their life?
By getting our emotions stirred up we let our defenses down. Proverbs 25:28 says a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without (defensive) walls. To live by and make decisions by emotion only opens a person to destruction. They are unstable and to those witnessing their life it is plain to see their decisions have no logic, and just don’t make sense.
James 1:5-8 warns us that if we are seeking the Lord’s wisdom then to do so fully committed – a double minded man is as unstable as the waves of the sea “and let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord.” In other words, if your emotions are like a roller coaster when it comes to seeking God’s will, you will miss Him. You won’t recognize His leading – you won’t get the wisdom from Him you said you wanted. Serving God requires the whole heart, the whole mind, the whole body.
The problem of living by emotions
Because much of church culture equates emotions with the anointing it is no wonder people often equate God’s direction in their life with how they feel at that moment. If someone says to you ‘Last night I had peace but this morning I’m not sure’ – it means they probably had God’s peace and direction last night, but in the wee hours of the night and morning doubt and more importantly, fear, crept in and they allowed God’s peace to fall into the background – by their choice not by His! Their lack of self-control of their thoughts and feelings leave them confused.
You see this especially in people who are single or unequally yoked in marriage who have no spouse or close friend to speak into their lives, for such a person would round off those rough edges and level out the roller coaster ups and downs of their emotions. Social media is full of people like that and you can tell by the intensity of their focus in what they post, for a person with others who speak into their life would not have posted what they do.
You don’t have to feel that way! The concept of taking authority over one’s emotions is foreign to so many people, in part because no one ever told them ‘you don’t have to feel that way’, and part because it is also the world’s culture to live by emotion. There is a saying often used for children, ‘Boredom is a choice’. Boredom is an emotion that comes from lack of focus and activity. Boredom is a choice for if a person ‘feels’ like it they can get up and find something on which to focus.
Be mature enough to lay aside differences in order to love one another.
The feelings will come if you do right, but you don’t wait for warm and fuzzy before doing right. You just do it. Right emotions follow right thoughts and right decisions. You have in your heart that Jesus loves their sorry selves and you do too for that reason alone perhaps – but He died for them so there is a certain amount of respect and honor and well wishes that goes with Jesus’ love for them – once you fall in line with Jesus’ love and love them from your spirit to their spirit, perceiving the grace in them, then the rest falls by the way side. They could pick up the phone today and you’d pick up the relationship right where you left off before it went bad – but they are stuck in their backsliding mud and so live in the past, making the past current news to them while you’ve moved on and continued to grow in Christ.
How to handle such a friend?
II Timothy 2:23-26: “Foolish and ignorant questions avoid, knowing they only stir up strife. The servant of the Lord must not get caught up in other people’s strife, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those who oppose themselves if God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, so that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will.”
The question I asked is this: What are we to do with people who live by their emotions?
Notice the 4 points I underlined above – “…instructing those who oppose themselves”, “repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”, “that they may recover themselves”, and “…(from) the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Our part is to instruct. Period. Build a bridge to them showing them the path to right thinking
Galatians 6:1-5 says similarly that we are to ‘restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted’ – in other words, with understanding that we all sin, they are just sinning differently than we do. Paul goes on to say in Galatians 6:2 that if they hear us we are bearing one another’s burdens.
But he says, if they won’t hear us and instead reject our advice and think more highly of themselves than they should, then they must bear their own burden and walk it out, their decision revealing if they were right or wrong. (v3-5). He goes on to say God isn’t mocked, He will give to each of us what we deserve or have sown, for that is right.
In his II Timothy 2:23-26 message to Timothy he told him to instruct those who oppose themselves (they are blind to the fact they are fighting against themselves when they are caught up in the emotions of things) but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get caught up in their own strife. Remain emotionally separate even though you feel for them, even though you see where they are headed, even though you want with all your heart to rescue them – once you instruct them they must make the right decisions, they must bring emotions under control.
As the saying goes, the first rule for getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Because they are used to making decisions by emotion some people cannot see they are digging their hole deeper. There is no spiritual rapture to get one out of the bottom of a hole to instantly standing on top of it at ground level, or to fill in the hole. God gives to us what we deserve, and undoing what we did can take years, but it is just.
Notice again what Paul said of them in II Timothy – ‘repent to the acknowledging of the truth’. At some point an emotion-led person must calm down, start thinking, and admit their error. It’s that simple. No real progress towards emotional health can be made until their is a clear certainty, a revelation, an epiphany they have about their life.
And the worst thing of that person who lives and makes decisions by emotions is that ‘they are taken captive by (the devil) at his will.’ Again, “that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.” No one can do it for them, they must do it.
We’ll close it out next week, until then, blessings,