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Sadness Can Become Sin

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Sadness Can Become Sin

The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not.”[1] Anger is a good emotion, if we handle it appropriately. The same concept can be applied to sadness. You could say, “Be sad and sin not.”

Can sadness can become a sin? If we allow sadness to engulf us, to swallow up our personhood, personality, and purpose, then yes, it can become sin. I’ve seen sadness grow to the point that those closest to us no longer know who we are.

Sadness can drive us to a point of such despair that we do irrational things. In November, a mother in Darlington, Indiana confessed to police that she killed her two young children so her husband couldn’t have them. She told police her husband was divorcing her and going to take the children.[2]

I’ve seen overwhelming sadness pull people into dark places.

  • I’ve seen sadness lead people to do things they would otherwise never do and bring unbelievable pain to those who love them.
  • I’ve seen people literally quit, shut down, and drop out of life.
  • Suicide is often led by overwhelming sadness. They don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop.

That’s not to say all sadness is sin.

(What if it’s chemical?)

Luke 22:39-46 took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everything was falling apart. Jesus was in great agony over the pain He was about to encounter. Jesus had to come to a place of accepting the pain; he was not running from it.

He told His disciples, “Pray that you won’t be tempted.” Tempted to do what? Tempted to cave in. Tempted to abandon their faith. Tempted to react to the sadness and do something irrational.

It’s important to note that Jesus prayed that the pain He was about to experience would simply go away. Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, your will must be done, not mine.”[3]

It’s okay to pray this prayer, but know this. God in His great wisdom does not always take away the things that make us sad. Jesus said pray that you won’t enter into sin because of your sadness.

It’s never right to abandon ourselves to the pain of despair. It’s never God’s plan to lead us into depression and sadness where we just give up, lash out, or simply leave (Riley bought a bus ticket to Minnesota).

Jesus’ own feelings of being overwhelmed were so severe that God actually sent an angel to strengthen Him.[4]

Despair, sadness and depression rob us of mental, spiritual and even physical strength.

The captives in Babylon were told; “Do not be sad because the joy you have in the LORD is your strength.”[5]

Jesus pushed through His own sadness and despair by fervently praying to God for spiritual and mental relief.[6] The disciples however did not overcome the despair. They were overcome by it.[7]

It’s true. Sadness can become sin, if we let it. But it’s also true that sadness is s necessary emotion. (More on that in my next blog post.)


[1] Ephesians 4:26


[3] Luke 22:41-42 GW

[4] Luke 22:43

[5] Nehemiah 8:10 GW

[6] Luke 22:44 GW

[7] Luke 22:45-46 GW


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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