Let me define 'emotional reasoning' right at the start:
Emotional reasoning is a process in which a person believes their emotional reaction is true, regardless of the evidence before them. It is the process by which we form a thought, opinion, idea, or belief based on how we feel.
This means logic, evidence, and facts do not influence an emotional reasoner because they believe what they feel and therefore think, is true. No amount of facts and evidence can change their mind. Even if they observe evidence to the contrary of their feelings, they won't accept it because they deliberately reject logic in favor of their feelings.
They feel it, therefore it is true. Period. Paragraph. Over and out.
An emotional reasoner lays aside logic and the thought process that includes analysis, reflection, contemplation, and reasoning, in favor of elevating how they feel about a person or situation above all. Emotional reasoning leads a person down a path of dysfunction and even self-destruction at times.
Let me be blunt: You will never grow spiritually beyond your level of emotional health.
Scripture repeatedly tells us to take our thoughts captive, to think on good things, to believe the best, and more, yet Christian culture is filled with emotional reasoners.
They are spiritual babies even after years of knowing the Lord; bound by emotional stagnation due to events in life.
Their issues aren't founded in the emotional, but in their thought life. Many choose to stay in an emotional rut because they've been hurt too many times, or they just don't have it in them to fight the battle of thoughts over emotions. Some have never learned how to think, how to make their emotions submit to Christ and His ways and His thoughts - they have never learned the higher ways.
Thoughts must control emotions rather than emotions controlling thoughts. Paul didn't say to bring reasoning captive, but imaginations captive. That's emotions.
The disclaimer is that there are times to obey emotions, and in the best case scenario reasoning and emotions work hand in hand. After all, at a hospital emergency room you want doctors and nurses who both emotionally react to the immediacy of the emergency while also having the ability to reason through what needs to be done to save the patient.
Examples include the inability or unwillingness to make decisions.
A person may be facing dire financial difficulty, but they can't bring themselves to get out and get a job because if truth be told, they enjoy Facebook and other social media more. What our grandparents called lazy, we label spiritual or otherwise cover up logic with the fact we just don't feel like getting a job.
"I feel depressed, so (therefore) my marriage is failing." This is a person who feels safe in depression, choosing the safety of depression over their marriage rather than getting out to get counseling and working through difficulties. Their feelings leave them wondering if they want to pay the price to save their marriage. Emotions prevent them from doing the difficult thing that would help preserve and transform their marriage. They would rather stay in the safety of what they feel because it is known, and carries no risk of failure. This person is actually living in failure, but can't see it.
If you've ever been unfriended on Facebook by someone angry with you, it may be they are an emotional reasoner. You may have hit their 'hot' button, and the next thing you know, you're unfriended. The same thing happens in real life too - you and a friend may have an argument, one that you are trying to reason through, but your points are met with emotions that aren't anywhere close to logical, and your friendship ends right there.
A person excited about a personal prophecy from a so called 'prophet' telling them to go to China, packed up and was gone within 2 weeks because God said so. They had laid aside reasoning - logic, planning, support - and landed in Hong Kong. A month later the church was scrambling to buy them airfare home. They had used emotional reasoning but labeled it faith. It was not faith, but presumption and foolishness.
In real life or in social media, you can measure emotional reasoning by observing if the person's reaction is far greater than the situation calls for. Is their reaction disproportionate to the situation at hand? In other words, do they go nuclear on you when the situation is actually very minor? Do they leave logic when you get 'too close' perhaps, and just explode on you or dissolve into tears or accusations? They are emotional reasoners.
Another sign of emotional reasoning is the avoidance of an answer to a question. Rather than get caught in their flawed logic, this emotional reasoning person talks of how they feel, how others were wronged and so on - a distraction of emotion to prevent the answering of a question they are uncomfortable answering.
Sometimes a person can't honestly process their thoughts and feelings on a a subject fast enough during a discussion, so yelling in an emotional outburst brings the discussion to an end, which accomplishes nothing.
"I don't feel saved, therefore I'm not (and God is mad at me)." This is a person who can read chapter and verse that they are saved, but they believe their emotions rather than God's Word.
How did Jesus clear the temple, upsetting tables and making a whip of cords, yet was without sin? How did Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement so intense they parted ways, only to remain friends and became coworkers again at a later date? How did Peter work through his emotional outburst of denying Christ to become the great apostle?
These things and more in this series...more next week, until then, blessings,
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