Mark Twain is quoted as saying that you can tell if something you did was morally good if you “felt good afterward.” But if it left you “feeling bad,” it was morally wrong.
This statement can be understood in two ways. One is that good or bad conduct can produce good or bad feelings. This is true. The other is that feelings determine what is good or bad. A secular writer showed the fallacy of this interpretation when he said, with tongue in cheek, that he liked Twain’s statement because it implied that you’ve got to try something at least once to know whether it’s good or bad.
Feelings are not a reliable indicator of moral conduct. The only trustworthy standard is God’s Word, the Bible. To obey the Lord’s commands sometimes goes against our emotions. To forgive others, for example, isn’t our natural tendency. Yet we know that is what God wants us to do (Mt. 6:14-15).
When we grow in our love for God and His laws and when obedience becomes a pattern of life, we gain a sense of God’s approval and presence. This results in good feelings that are founded on truth. The psalmist described it as the “great peace” that belongs to those who love God’s law.
How do you feel about your conduct?
Help us, O Lord, to heed Your Word,
Its precepts to obey;
And may we quench that selfish urge
To have things go our way. —Sper
To feel good about yourself, do what pleases God.