My friend Kristi Wetzel wrote:


In his book Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, Christian author Matthew Elliott asserts,

The problem is that we’re taught by the church and our culture that emotions are not reliable indicators of truth. As a result, we are conditioned to believe that our feelings are trivial and useless.

Then, he tells two very thought-provoking (and emotion-provoking!) stories.

The first is about the penalty phase of the trial of convicted terrorist Moussaoui (tried and convicted as a 9/11 conspirator).

Elliott quotes AP reporter Michael Sniffen who said, “Moussaoui defiantly proclaimed he felt ‘no regret, no remorse.’ . . . He said heart-rending testimony of victims and relatives had disgusted him, and he wished they had suffered more.'”

Elliott continues, “At one point, a video of the Twin Towers tragedy was shown in the courtroom. When Moussaoui saw the images of people jumping to their deaths to avoid burning in the inferno, it struck him as funny. He laughed out loud.

The day Moussaoui laughed, it was all over the news . . . With that laugh, every juror knew the truth. Moussaoui’s emotions betrayed his evil heart.”

Elliott maintains,

Emotion is not an illogical reflex, unreliable and fickle. Emotions cut through all of our talk, all of our spin, and take us right to the truth of the matter . . . . We know intuitively what we deny rationally.

Later he explores this further with a story from the Old Testament. He reminds us of young King Solomon and how he was told by God in a dream that he could ask for anything he wanted, and Solomon asked God for  “a wise and understanding heart.”

God granted that request. And we see evidence of this wisdom in the story of the two women who came to him in a dispute about which woman was the mother of a baby boy.

Solomon didn’t have the scientific tools that are used in our courtrooms today. He had another tool. He commanded for someone to bring him a sword, and he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.”

Right then and there, when he looked at those two women and heard their responses, Solomon knew the truth. Incredibly, the liar agreed that the baby should be divided, but the true mother cried out that she would rather give up her baby than have it die. Elliott points out,

[T]he first story told about the wisest man ever is about how he made a just and true decision based on the emotional response of a mother who dearly loved her child.

The teachers and preachers of our background have emphasized that feelings are to be ignored (at least any feeling that is deemed “negative”), but feelings are a barometer of the soul.

No matter how we may try to squelch feelings, it is feelings that make the truth we embrace seem real or false. If we embrace truth but never “feel” it to be true, then we will be constantly struggling in our Christian lives. As Christians, to ignore our feelings, to shove them aside, is to live a nearly powerless, lifeless Christianity.

When the truths of who Jesus is and what He accomplishes come out of the filing cabinet into the living color of our experience, then that is when the Christian life can become one of victory and power.

When the Scripture tells us to have the “mind” of Christ, we understand that it refers in totality to the mind, will, and emotions. The Psalmist David acknowledged “negative” feelings in his many psalms—anger, pain, despair. He didn’t deny his feelings, but poured them out, and reminded himself to continue to hope in God.

In order to live an abundant life, the life Christ came to give us, we need to embrace the reality that our emotions are important to God.


Kristi’s words generated some thoughts of my own.

So are our emotions ever liars? 









Note: I’ve addressed the importance of our emotions in several posts on this blog. Here are some of them:

Reason trumps emotions? 90% of evangelicals say yes

“Look to the cross more”: a response to the “gospel-centered” movement

Quieting a Noisy Soul by Jim Berg – A Response (Part 1)

Here’s an abuse survivor’s plea about nouthetic “Biblical” counseling




Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.

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