Devotions on Emotions (and Scripture) by the First Pres. Pastors
A reflection on the following scriptures
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of everyone, and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
When I was in seminary, I took a class called Group Process and Behavioral Change. The purpose of the class was to learn about group dynamics, how to work with and lead groups, and to learn more about ourselves as leaders and future pastors. One of the key pieces dealt with identifying our emotions in response to situations. For the purposes of this class, there are four core emotions: happy, sad, anger, and fear. All other emotions we might name come back to one of these four as its root.
It is important to recognize that sadness is one of these core emotions. There is no judgement (good or bad) associated with any of these emotions. They all have value and are part of being human. When these emotions get out of balance or we allow our lives to be guided strictly by emotions, that is when we can get into trouble. We even read of Jesus, our God made flesh among us, experiencing anger in the temple and sadness as he wept over the loss of his friend Lazarus.
It is natural to feel sadness and there is good that can come from that. Times of sadness help us to recognize the goodness and happiness in other times. We know that even in our sadness, our Lord has experienced similar hurt and pain. We know that we are not alone as God is present with us. In our sadness, we can learn how to empathize with others in their pain. As we are comforted, we can learn how to better console others who are hurting. May we acknowledge the importance of noticing when we are sad, recognizing that it is ok to be sad, and knowing that we are comforted by God who has experienced all that we may encounter.
Loving God, thank you for sending us your Son to experience life as a human being and to show us how to live. Thank you for the gift of emotions. Help us to use even our times of sadness to rejoice in you and your role in our lives. Amen.