When are emotions wrong?


When are emotions wrong? If you feel something, does that make it automatically wrong, or is there more to it than that? One thing I really struggle with is when I feel certain things, I automatically get upset with myself for having felt them at all.


"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).

Feelings reflect your mood, but your mood should not be the basis of your decisions. Thus, my feelings are really neither good nor bad. They are only my current emotional outlook.

Let me illustrate. Suppose I have a really annoying neighbor who plays loud music at all hours of the night. Suddenly, the nights are quiet again and I find out that the annoying neighbor is in the hospital. I may feel happy about the quiet, but I should not celebrate over a person being ill. "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the LORD will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him" (Proverbs 24:17-18). Here my reason has to reign over my emotions. People need to be treated with respect -- even annoying people. It doesn't mean my feelings are bad, it is just that the situation caused my feelings to be inappropriate if I focus on the wrong thing (my convenience or my concern for a fellow human being).

If a person follows his feelings, he will naturally make decisions that benefit himself because those are the things that make him happy. In other words, there is a tendency to become selfish. But God teaches us to put other people ahead ourselves. "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 4:3-4).

Thus, we are not bad because our feelings are incorrect. It simply means we are probably focused on the wrong thing at the moment. Therefore, I need to make adjustments to focus on the right things. When at a funeral, I should be daydreaming about where I'm going to spend my next vacation. When at a celebration, I shouldn't focus on my sore muscles from yesterday's gym session.

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