Last time we talked about normal sadness. Jerome Wakefield and Alan Horwitz have recently helped revive this concept in their book, “The Loss of Sadness.” In it they define normal sadness as a “biologically designed” part of normal human existence. They also said that we benefit from it because normal sadness will draw people to help us. Further normal sadness protects us from behavior that might harm us, and discourages us from continuing things that are likely to fail. Paul illustrates how normal sadness works in 2Corinthians 7. He says that the Corinthians were driven to sorrow by the letter he wrote to them that reprimanded them for tolerating the immoral behavior of one member. Paul rejoiced that his letter caused them sorrow over their behavior that led them to repent and change. As Paul said, “When we sorrow according to the will of God” it leads to repentance and change. On the other hand, when we sorrow “like the world” it leads to deadly living. Sorrow that does not draw us to God may drive us to anger, fear, worry, and bitterness. When sorrow heads in the right direction it is very useful. Chapter 6 & 7 of “Good Mood Bad Mood” identifies the ways that sadness is a help to the Christian. Next time, we will look at some of the ways it can help us.
Charles D Hodges Jr. MD