Can it Be Wrong When it Feels so Right?


In the 1980s a song titled “You Light up My Life” became popularized by Debbie Boone, daughter of the American actor-singer Pat Boone. Debbie having come from a religious family, the waltz-tempo song, as I recall, was originally meant to be in praise of God or Christ as the “Light of the World” (John 9:5) who lights up our lives, especially in the darkness of life’s sorrows and sore trials, such as we are experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. [See: Pandemic Pandemonium!]

One of the strongest lines of the song proclaims: “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.” Because music speaks directly to the human heart, this line can so influence our thinking and values without our really examining it in light of God’s word, the Holy Bible, as I will be doing in this present article.

Can a thing be wrong when it feels so right?

A basic knowledge of Scripture should arouse one to react on the basis of Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 – repeated for emphasis and to show its importance to our proper judgment – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This tells us that we cannot judge the rightness of a thing simply on the basis of whether it “feels” or “seems” right. We might add the other human senses: “looks,” “appears,” “sounds,” “tastes,” or “smells” right.

Our mere human feelings and other sensations can easily deceive us into thinking that what we do or are thinking to do must be right just because it feels so right. Here’s where the Bible talks about The Deceitfulness of Sin (Hebrews 3:13). And that is because sinful acts often bring immediate pleasure. Hebrews 11:25 testifies that the man of God Moses chose rather to suffer affliction than to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” – for but a brief time.

For example, illicit sexual acts [adultery, fornication, homosexuality, masturbation, etc.] may bring immediate pleasure. But it is pleasure that, sooner or later, will exact a ‘kickback” or a dire consequence on one’s mind, body and emotions  and on personal relationships. [Concerning homosexuality, see: The Rainbow Connection. As for masturbation, 1 Corinthians 7:4 tells us that “the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” God thus decrees that sex is to be engaged in only within the bounds of marriage between a man and his wife. ]

God’s laws the true basis for all morality

After all is said and done, the laws of God – as preserved for us in the Holy Scriptures or the Bible – are the absolute authority to tell us what is right [lawful, acceptable to God, moral], and what is wrong [sinful, unlawful, unacceptable, immoral]. Only God has the right to define or determine what is right and what is wrong. [See:  “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!” and The Divine Prerogatives.]

Because we human beings are “carnal” [made of flesh and blood], unlike God, who is Spirit and eternal (John 4:24), we are naturally hostile to God and cannot be subject to His law (Romans 8:7), all have thus sinned, and deserve the penalty of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). [See:  Is There Ever Any God in Man? and A Law-abiding Universe – But Man!]

We need the Spirit of God given to us in order that we can understand and appreciate the things of God (1 Corinthians 3:11-14). Otherwise, we would confuse good for evil, and evil for good (Isaiah 5:20). We could just easily judge something as “right” simply because it seems or feels right although in God’s judgment it is wrong or evil. [See: Switching Positive and Negative and Devising Evil by Law.]

We also need the Spirit of God to empower us to obey His law (Romans 8:6-10). [See: The Higher Law of the Spirit.] In the Day of Judgment, God as our perfect and righteous Judge will judge us according to our works – whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). [See:  Saved for Good Works and Being and Doing.]

Will doing what is right feel right?

Many have the mistaken notion that to obey God or to keep His laws is no fun but to simply become restricted and fettered. Some think of God as the supreme “Kill-joy!” [See: Freed From Bondage.] But not so to one imbued with His Spirit. Such a person will have the same attitude as that of the writer of Psalm 119, who delighted and had pleasure in God’s law. He will find great rewards in obeying that law (Psalm 19:7-11; 58:11). He will take God at His word that He has reserved for His faithful people “pleasures forevermore” at His right hand, and “fullness of joy” in His presence (Psalm 16:11).

The ultimate reward for righteousness is not merely the absence of pain and sorrow (Revelation 21:4), but the abundance of “everlasting joy” (Isaiah 35:10).

We are assured of that reward, when we fully understand, in light of God’s word, that a thing can be wrong even when it feels so right!


Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.