Friday, December 6, 2013

Emotional, Logical, Strategic

When I was a kid I used to love to go to smorgasbords – or buffet meals. I could have anything or everything. It was a feast of unlimited proportions. What a delight! There was a problem, though. The table was big, and my stomach was, well, smaller than I imagined.

I was locked in a battle between the emotional and the logical.

Eating as much as I possibly could because it all looked good would have been an emotional decision. Knowing I couldn’t because my stomach was limited and I would be in pain was a logical one. It put me in a dilemma.

But there was always a third choice. Choose the best and thoroughly enjoy the experience. This is thinking strategically.

Often couples will get locked in conflicts over emotional vs. logical thinking patterns. Not surprisingly it is usually the guy who accuses his beloved of thinking emotionally and the woman asserting that her man has no feelings. Strategic thinking would not permit decisions to be feelings driven, but feelings influenced.

I can see this emotional vs. logical split within the larger culture as well.

There was a motto in the past that said:  “If it feels good, do it” -- definitely an emotional way to think – with a great potential for sin.

But logic could also be applied: “Only do it if you are sure that you won’t get caught and suffer the consequences” – also sinful thinking.

But nothing goes unnoticed by God and so neither position is a good bet. Strategic thinking says God allows us so many good things to choose from, why not choose the best. Like in the Garden of Eden, there were almost unlimited good things to pick from. There was no need to stray.

I think the church gets caught up in this kind of thinking, too. There are congregations where they succumb to unrestrained emotionality in their expression of worship. It is chaotic and feelings driven. But God is not chaotic. He warns us to maintain order when we assemble.

But there is an opposite as well – meetings conducted by rules, rigidity and coldness. There is no sense of love, and no room for the Spirit of God to move. This was the environment of the Pharisees that Jesus warned about when He was here on earth. 

Thinking strategically we would consider the whole Word of God and make balanced decisions, rather than separating out the parts that appeal to us.

In which direction do you lean? Do you need to make some adjustments in your thinking? 

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