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The Failure of Feelings

We all have feelings. We respond to what we perceive around us and within us. Typical feeling statements might include: I feel hungry, I feel sleepy, I feel thirsty, I’m tired, I’m hot, etc. All of these statements describe needs or deficiencies that can be “felt.” You have never asked anyone, “Am I sleepy?” That would be foolish. You are the only one who knows how you feel. But there are some things our feelings cannot do. Our feelings can’t tell us all of our needs.

There are places around the country that simulate skydiving. There are powerful fans that blow enough air upward that people can actually be held up by the air. The air going past them is the same speed as if they were actually falling through the air. If a person were to close their eyes while skydiving and close their eyes while in the simulator, it would feel the same!

Is being in a skydiving simulator and skydiving actually the same? Definitely not. The skydiver is falling toward the ground at about 120 mph! If they do not safely deploy a parachute to slow them down they will die in a very short time. The person in the machine is being held up by air being blown up at 120 mph and can stay as long as the air continues.

Many years ago I sat with a family in a hospital waiting area while a loved one went to have a minor surgical procedure to check out a bump. After the patient was taken back the remaining family and I made small talk and shared stories sitting in a small private waiting room. After about 30 minutes the surgeon came into the room. His report was quick and concise. The bump was cancer and there were many more spread all over the internal organs. There was nothing that could be done for him. The patient came in feeling fine but he was not fine at all. About six weeks later we had his funeral.

Good feelings do not guarantee that all is well in health or religion. There is no indication that Ananias and Sapphira felt any concern about their lives. Their feelings were wrong and God struck them dead for their sin (Acts 5:1-11). In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said many people will feel good about their religious practices right up through the time they die, even if their feelings are wrong. Jesus said it will not be our feelings that determine our soul’s destiny, but (John 12:48) “... the word that I have spoken will judge in the last day.” Feelings can be a safe guide only when they are safely guided by truth.

- Tim Orbison


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