When we have to make a decision or analyze a situation, it is better to use the facts than our emotions. This advice is practical for all areas of our life including our love life.
The religious authorities of the apostle Paul’s day were very angry with him. Paul’s testimony about Jesus gave them a bad reputation. If what Paul said was true, that made them murderers. Stung, they could not analyze Paul’s message objectively. This is why the apostle preferred to be judged by Romans because the latter were not bound by their emotions. “When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself : Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all” (Acts 25:7-8 NKJV). Chained by their emotions, the Jews had even come to make false accusations against Paul. Knowing that they were driven by their emotions, Paul chose to have the situation analyzed based on facts, so with the law of the day, instead of on their emotions. A beautiful lesson that we should do much more often in our lives.
When we refuse to help a co-worker, are we motivated by our emotions or by an objective fact? Is it because we despise this employee for stealing our ideas? Maybe we are still mad at him and we are definitely not going to favor him. It is probably our emotions that lead us here. If we analyze the situation from a factual point of view, we may have another conclusion. Same situation at the church. Are we driven by our emotions when we have an outsized admiration for our pastor, or do we base our relationship with him on true testimonies? If we take the time to analyze the situations around us by putting emotional glasses aside, we will make much wiser decisions.
Many singles reject a potential partner because they say they didn’t have “butterflies”. The sparks are very nice, but they are unreliable. Since they will eventually disappear, why rely on that in the first place? Even when it comes to loving God, our neighbor, or loving the person who will share our life, the apostle Paul wanted us to use our intelligence. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9 NKJV).
Emotions are important; it is God who gave them to us. They are a good indicator of the state of health of our heart. If we feel contempt for someone (or for ourselves) it is certainly because there is an unhealed wound there, or one that we need to forgive. Negative emotions are therefore an excellent tool for introspection. But they are not a good judge of the circumstances. This is also what the prophet Jeremiah saw. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV).
When we are discouraged or on the contrary, way too excited about a situation, it is good to take the time to reassess all this by separating the emotions and the facts. We must also not forget to separate the visible reality from the spiritual reality! Emotions are not objective, but our eyes can also distract us from God’s plan. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV).