Recently while on a trip we met with some old friends who pastor a church. As we reconnected on life and family, my friend began to tell me a story of an incident that took place regarding a local pastor.
He had been accused of immorality by a woman in the church, something his wife knew he was not guilty of. It seems a woman he had “friended” on Facebook had been watching his daily activities from his postings and had concocted a relationship with him in fantasy-land. She sent a detailed letter to the Elders of the church and to his wife outlining their “affair.” It included times and places and activities the two had supposedly partaken in.
The woman knew her husband was innocent of the charges, and after investigation the pastor was indeed cleared and the accuser was exposed to be a liar. This was of course all good news!
However, the problem was not resolved in the mind of the pastor’s wife. As much as she knew her husband was innocent, her mind began to play tricks on her.
There had been enough truth in the letter regarding her husband’s whereabouts to cause a small seed of doubt to form in her mind about his fidelity. She often found herself wondering if it could possibly be true that her husband had really met up with this woman as she claimed, and was it possible that he was just a really convincing liar? She was no longer sure she trusted him.
These thoughts began to take a toll on their relationship as the wife started to pull away emotionally from her husband and refuse his advances and affections. She found herself angry at him and suspicious of him. She questioned him weekly about the accusations he had been cleared of, searching to prove he was guilty. She said she could not help thinking these things, and believed she was powerless over her thought life. In the end, it destroyed their marriage of 30 years.
You may think this whole scenario is crazy, but I assure you, the mind is a very powerful thing. We are capable of convincing ourselves of just about anything we desire to believe.
My old pastor used to speak of women being beguiled. This means to come to the wrong conclusion without all the facts. In the case of the wrongly accused pastor and his wife, that is what happened to her. She came to all sorts of wrong conclusions about her husband, and doubted his many years of faithful love toward her. She convinced herself that there was enough truth in the allegations that she had a reason to be angry and suspicious of him and no amount of truth-telling would convince her otherwise!
While the stories are different, the heart of man is the same world-wide. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked (Jer 17:9) and if we give full reign to the feelings and emotions that live there, we will ruin our lives.
For example, how many Christian’s get divorced because they say the feelings of love are not what they used to be? How many equate feelings of sadness with being “sick” or having some sort of depressive disorder? How many people make lifer altering decisions based on the fuzziness of “following your heart?” I have had women tell me they have decided to divorce and run off with their lover because they prayed about it and “have peace in their heart.”
There is no doubt that our thoughts direct the course of our lives. What we think determines our emotional mood and leads us to have various feelings. Your thoughts are a critical component to the direction your life will ultimately take. Be cautious about where your thoughts go and what you meditate upon.