A friend of mine once said happiness is overrated. At the risk of being depressing it’s true. A happy moment is short, fleeting and sometimes very shallow. At times someone can even feel happy about something that is questionable to others. And constantly being happy is exhausting and after a while, empty without other emotion. The truly desired emotion should be joy. It’s deeper, lasts longer and can intermingle with whatever other emotion the person can feel.
Joy is also the name of the main character in the new Pixar film “Inside Out”, detailing the emotional roller coaster and almost mental destruction of young Riley whose family is moving to San Francisco. There many lessons in this movie which could be contributed to one’s faith in Jesus Christ. One is the destruction of good day, bad day mindset for Riley’s emotions. Seemingly since birth sadness has been unwanted and seemingly unhelpful. With Joy in charge the point of every day is to make each one happy. But this is (as Ecclesiastes would say) useless.
There are no good days and bad days. There are only days of growth, and days to enjoy that growth.
This growing in reference to emotionally, maturity, and hopefully spiritually. Everything happens for a reason, and regardless of why sometime makes you sad, angry, disgusted or fearful it can be used to increase yourself and lead to even more joy.
Each and every character reflect a part of us that has a use to our daily life and relationship/interaction with God.
The benefits of joy should be obvious. But just to make sure you know; we celebrate and rejoice in what God has given us with joy. It keeps us going and keeps us thankful.
Hate has its use in the kingdom of God. Everyone becomes angry, just some more than others. The purpose of hate/anger is when it is directed towards the right thing it can be a powerful tool for good. Hating lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, murder, stealing, and sin is what it is meant for. It is NOT meant for hating the lustful, gluttoner, lazy people, murders, thieves, and sinners.
The benefits of fear. It is said many times in the Bible that a firm fear in the Lord, or being a ‘God-fearing’ person is a great thing. Here are a few examples.
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Matthew 10:28 – And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
Proverbs 14:26 – In the fear of the LORD [is] strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Job 28:28 – And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.
Psalms 33:8 – Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Deuteronomy 10:12 – And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
I know it is confusing. What it means to fear the LORD… in a good way. Its not meant to run away from God and call the military for an airstrike like we were dealing with Godzilla or something. (I just realized the pun there… I’m gonna keep it in this post. But I wanted to make acknowledgement that that piece of awesomeness was completely unintentional). The fear is almost respect and acknowledgement of how amazing God is. So amazing that if he were able to grasp the fullness of his awesomeness, we would literally die. And that biblically true. Consider the feeling you get when you see a YouTube video of somebody doing an amazing dangerous stunt and get that feeling in your stomach, it’s like a much greater version of that.
Disgust is similar to hate. The things in this life we should be disgusted by is not the people, but the lifestyles of sin and evil. I would imagine this one with more relation to one’s self though. Similar to how we don’t want haggis, Brussel sprouts or coffee (sorry, this is just a personal preference), we should have an initial instinct to not want anything sinful in our system.
Lastly, but most definitely not least; sadness. My favourite character from the movie (reminders me of a certain winnie the pooh character), Sadness is the underdog of the movie that ends up saving the day by instilling one of mankind’s least favourite emotions. Some people live to avoid this feeling and are afraid of showing it (which results in rather a lot of sadness later or some form of anger). Sadness makes our heart sorrowful an solemn. Dispite any hate or disgust of sin we do till mess up. Daily even. And sadness is needed to bring our heart back to God and ask for forgiveness.
This process is detailed in the film as Riley returns from her attempt at running away from home. She walks in the door and sadness takes over. She admits all the feelings that brought her to this point and was so heartbroken that she did wrong by her parents, and herself.
There is something beautiful in sadness that we always overlook or underestimate. Some of the greatest art was made out of sadness, and some of the greatest friendships strengthened by it in one way or another.
We should never try to avoid and burry our emotions. It never works. So please, be sad when you see a world in sin, hate the corruption of, continue the disgust of it ever entering your life, fear the Lord and whenever else- be joyful.