Let's talk meme theology.... this is a mini-series and not a part of my regular deeper discussions on apologetics, church and overcoming anxiety and adhd.
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There is a recent meme that is proclaiming the statement “Your nervous system will naturally feel calm around people with pure intentions and authentic energy – trust it.”
Some versions go on to add “Your inner guidance comes to you through your thoughts, feelings and body wisdom. You should listen to your body.”
On the surface this sounds wise and healthy… but is it? Let’s dig into it a bit and see where it lands…
If you read this blog regularly or have been following it, I’m sure you already know how I do not trust feelings as a confirmation of truth or of Gods will. I don’t trust my feelings for my mental well being either…
So, what are feelings useful for? I mean… today feelings are everything… even over facts. If you feel bad in a relationship you end it. If you feel bad in a conversation you leave it. If you feel comfort in food you eat it. If you feel joy in a substance you use it…. This is our disease… and it has infected even the church.
Is this the best way to live? Are our feelings right or wrong in terms of choosing our paths?
My wife and I will be married for 36 years this summer. Mary and I have both undergone many changes in our journey together. We have both deeply disappointed each other, walked through hard conversations, and come out stronger. How would it have looked if either of us had “trusted our feelings when we were angry at the other person?
Then there is our relationship with Mary’s mom. We have grown to appreciate her immensely over the last 20 years. Today she is 96 and I know of no one who greets us more enthusiastically than her. Even before her memory started failing we developed a strong positive bond with her… but it was not always like that. Things used to be super hard… she sometimes said things to Mary that hurt her… and it was hard to not respond to those things and still “honour our parents”… I’m so very glad we did! I won’t drag up all the things that might have been said or not said. I will say those were some hard years for both sides of the relationship. Mary and I now realize that we could have done some things earlier to help the relationship grow healthier sooner… but living in the past has no benefit. As for today… I’m just glad we chose to make time for regular visits, and to honour her as well as respect her even though it was difficult at the time.
What did Jesus say about our feelings?
In Matthew 15 He says
“Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”
The original Greek word for “heart” is “kardia”. Strongs defines the Greek word heart as “the heart; mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.”
Jesus is saying to his disciples that we cannot trust our gut… notice he is not saying to ignore it though. Our feelings are like warning lights… we should take pause to look for facts before trusting them.
I have seen this at play in Christian circles as well - the only difference is that they have labeled those feelings as Gods will. That certainly does not line up with scripture.
I love a good quote… I love memes… but they must be filtered through the Truth of Gods word or we may just be engaging in spreading doctrines that draw others further from truth.
Be the change!