Felling have gotten a bad rap in the Christian world. They have been called everything from unimportant to fleshly. At the same time, example after example show how our feelings play an enormous role in our motivation and behavior. How many times have you seen people do ungodly things to one another because of hurt feelings? Our how many times hos someone had to be hospitalized for depression after years and years of trying to ignore the way they felt until they became suicidal?
Feelings should never be ignored nor placed in charge. The bible says to “own” your feelings and be aware of them. They can often motivate yo to do much good. The Good Samaritan's pity moved him to go to the injured Israelite (Luke 10:33). The father was filled with compassion for his lost son and threw his arms around him (Luke 15:20). Many times Jesus “had compassion” for the people to whom he ministered (Matt, 9:36; 15:32).
Feelings come from your heart and can tell you the state of your relationships. They can tell you if things are going well, or if there is a problem. If you feel close and loving, things are probably going well. If you feel angry, you have a problem that needs to be addressed. But the point is, your feeling are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to.
In the next section on attitude, Cloud and Townsend say the following:
Attitudes and Beliefs
Attitudes have to do with your orientation toward something, the stance you take toward others, God, life work and relationships. Beliefs are anything that you accept as true. Often we do not see an attitude, or belief, as the source of discomfort in our life. We blame other people as did our first parents, Adam and Eve. We need to own our attitudes and convictions because they fall within our property line. We are the ones who feel their affect and the only ones who can change them.
The tough thing about attitudes is that we learn them very early in life. They plan a big part in the map of who we are and how we operate. People who have never questioned their attitudes and beliefs can fall prey to the dynamics that Jesus referred to when he described people holding on to “traditions of men” instead of the commands of God (Mark 7:8; Matt. 15:3).
While I do not always agree with C&T, I do here.
My question comes from a dialog we are having in another section about verbal abuse. Is our “self-esteem” constructed by the feelings, attitudes and beliefs that we hold about ourselves?
And if so, are we responsible for owning these feelings, attitudes and beliefs?
If we do not question the attitudes, beliefs and feelings that we have about ourselves, can we fall prey to a dynamic of building our self-esteem on the “traditions of men” rather than on the word of God?
If so, how might that impact how we advise adults who are currently living in verbally abusive relationships and how might that affect how we heal from the wounds that many have suffered in childhood from verbal abuse?
Or, is our self-esteem exempt from C&T's observations here and our self-esteem isn't anything we are responsible for “owning?”