When Sad — Ted Gossard

My friend Ted Gossard wrote this post and I’m reposting it here: I sense it will speak to many.

Emotions are a part of life, and to be taken seriously. They can actually be a help or a hindrance, depending on what we do with them.

I have struggled more or less much of my life with depression, probably would be classified mild in clinical terms, since I’ve always been able to function and do what was required of me.

I find times of sadness in my life can be opportunities to seek to draw near to God. Sometimes I know at least in part what troubles me, and while one thing may be paramount, often I’m saddened over a number of things. That can be helpful in giving me much pause to stop, be still, be silent, and seek to come into God’s presence anew and afresh, or really “just as I am”, in and through Jesus.

On the other hand, sadness can be a danger as well. I can listen to another voice other than the voice of the good shepherd. That other voice will put all kinds of troubling and indeed perturbing thoughts in my mind which will eat away at my soul, making me struggle with anger and bitterness. And if something happens especially unexpectedly, what is in me may well spill out. Which then I’ll have to repent of.

Emotions are not to be despised and shunned, or buried within us. The Psalms over and over give testimony to the faithful being open and honest to God about what they are thinking and feeling, even when that is not good. Sadness along with other emotions can be our call to be still before God. To seek God and his face. To pray to him. Of course all in and through Jesus.

And while we need to go immediately to God, we can share our heart struggle to some degree with trusted friends when that is appropriate. That they might pray for us. And we for them, if they should ever share their own struggles with us. As we bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, which is love, that unique love we find in God through Christ. And we do this ourselves and with each other with a heart by the Spirit of Jesus for the world.


About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • mike h

    I thought I was reading about me. Thanx for posting this.

  • http://www.mwerickson.com Matt Erickson

    This is a well-written and honest post. Too many of our problems result from an inappropriate handling of emotions. Thanks for sharing it, Scot.

  • Rhonda

    Thanks for sharing so honestly, Ted.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    Thank you for sharing Ted’s thoughtful and kind words. He admonishes us, gently. Too often, the emotions we avoid can poison our perceptions of God, ourselves and others. The psalmists help us not to do that.

  • Nancy L.

    I, too, add my thanks for this post and for Ted’s honest reflection. When did we start to think we should ignore our emotions? I, too, struggle with mild or functional depression. It wasn’t until I sought God in it through the Psalms that the imposed false guilt I experienced lifted and I found relief. I’m grateful God meets us in the darkness and gives hope.