Is sadness a sin? I’ve heard both answers but I’d like some biblical truth on the matter.
Hey friend, good question. In general, I don’t believe it is. After all, God is completely okay with our emotions (Psalm 34:18). I believe self-pity and entitlement and playing the victim-card can enter selfish sin-territory, but usually sadness points to a legitimate issue.
I’ve written something on that here:
Any tips on discovering passion? my life is an empty sack of nothingness and i don’t really have a passion. i’ve served a lot and worked in many different places but i don’t really care too much about anything; i’m not even passionate about my faith anymore. i feel heartless bc i serve broken ppl every day and still am not moved. nothing makes me angry, or even joyful. the only thing i seem to be passionate abt is my failures and lack of passion. which i guess is better than nothing…
Hey dear friend, I’m really sorry you’re going through this. The important thing, as I’ve said before, is not to feel bad that you’re feeling bad. None of us are capable of sustaining intense passion for very long, and even our measure of these things is sometimes unrealistically high. Maybe you’ve set the bar to an insane level where Apostle Paul himself would say, “Dang, slow your roll bro.”
Passion, like love and joy and peace, is just as much a choice and a fruit. Both your choices and your fruits take time, deliberation, practice, and a deep reliance on the Holy Spirit. You don’t see fruits popping up on trees in an instant, no more than you can sneeze yourself into a beard.
In other words: If you don’t feel passion for a season of your life, it does NOT mean something is wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with you that isn’t already wrong with everyone else. We’re human. We go through dry times.
Keep serving anyway. Discover new things. Maybe the thing you’re doing is not what you’re wired for. Not everyone has to serve at a homeless ministry or an abuse shelter or some really broken down place. Find where God has fit you, and your passion will grow — sometimes in leaps, but other times in a slow methodical burn.
I recently preached on passion here.
Love you and praying for you.
Hey, I think I care too much about how I look and the way I dress. God is making me feel super uncomfortable about it. What do you suggest I do?
My friend, please allow me to speak some freedom for you.
Do you know who else cares about how they look and dress?
Me, you, Pope Francis, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and the orange-robed monks who I saw driving an SUV the other day.
Does it make you a bad person? No.
Does it make you a good person? No.
Can it become idolatry? Sure. Anything can.
Is it an idol for you? Maybe. Or maybe you’re taking it too hard on yourself.
Look: On Sundays, I think it’s cool to go all out and dress up for church. I think it’s appropriate, even spectacular, if you brought out your best fashion for worship service. If people compliment you and say “ooh” and “aah” and you feel good about it, it’s totally okay to feel good about it. So long as you’re not acting like an immature moron. And I think God is honored that you’d put some thought into your outfit for Sunday, because the sanctuary is a sacred space that deserves at least a little bit of decorum and respect. If you dress sharp for other occasions, or even for regular hang-outs, then more power to you. I always appreciate a well-dressed brother.
I just don’t want your “dress code” to become another form of idolatry in which you enslave yourself with all kinds of counterfeit rules and restrictions. The God of the Bible is NOT about putting burdens on you. If a manmade directive is causing you unnecessary anxiety, let that go and start from scratch. Start with God. Ask Him about your heart, and get all Psalm 139:23-24 on that.
As for women’s dress, I wrote on that here.
Hey Joon! I’ve been struggling with jealousy a lot lately! All of my friends are beautiful but there’s one in particular that I’ve always envied. She’s gorgeous, feminine, and gets all the guys. I’ve tried so much to be like her because I didn’t think who I was, was good enough. I just wanted to be liked by people. The problem is, I don’t even know who I am anymore because I’ve put on so many masks! How do I stop this jealousy and truly see myself the way God sees me?
My dear wonderful friend: thanks for being so honest with me. I know it’s very difficult to admit jealousy, and I hardly meet anyone who would ever admit such a thing. I’ve only realized recently that this is a huge problem for me too.
While people in church would confess porn addiction or alcoholism or cheating, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m just straight up jealous.” The more rampant a sin-issue is, the more we’re blind to it.
Not to brush you off, but please allow me the grace to point you to some previous posts.
As for people-pleasing —
The thing is: People actually like it more when you are yourself. And even if they didn’t, who cares? You already know it doesn’t work when you try to please people by putting on masks and becoming someone you’re not. It’s unsustainable. If it doesn’t work, that’s probably already reason enough.
But more than that, God made you the way He made you to be something in the world that no one else can be. That sounds like a poetic cheesy song lyric, but it doesn’t mean it’s less true. God made you you. It’s natural to feel that awkward anxious fear of being truly yourself, but it’s so much relief to just let yourself out to play.
To some degree, most of us never stop being our insecure twelve-year-old selves. We just enter into grown-up bodies and modify our voices and wear the clothes they tell us are popular and get jobs to pay taxes for things we never use. But occasionally I meet a free person who both handles their grown-up responsibilities AND finds the security to just be who they really are. It’s because they have received an unconditional acceptance in the Infinite Source of all approval, and they have found contentment in who they are by the one who made them. Be satisfied in His image of you. It will take time and it’s certainly a process: but you can start by praising Him for who He is, and you will soon find who you are too.