Oscar night the winner for Best Animated Feature Film was "Inside Out". I don't watch a lot of kids movies but when it was in the theatre my wife and I went to see it because she was excited by the trailer for it. The movie is very good and was deserving of the Academy Award it won. The film is also a great exploration into the purpose of emotions, particularly joy and sadness.
If you've not seen the movie here is a brief synopsis:
The main character is a young girl named Riley and the emotions in her head. The emotions are themselves characters: Anger, Fear, Disgust, Joy and Sadness. Throughout Riley's various adventures the emotions work together to try and give Riley appropriate responses to each situation. However, for most of the movie Joy can't figure out the point of Sadness. Joy tries to distract Sadness and keep her away from the controls in Riley's brain in order to keep her from ruining Riley's day. Later in the film things go bad and Joy and Sadness get stranded in some weird part of Riley's brain and they need to get back to headquarters so they can be available emotions for young Riley.
While Joy and Sadness are trying to get back to headquarters there is a fantastic moment where the point of Sadness is explained. Another character has a tragedy and Joy can't seem to cheer him up. It's at this point that Sadness sits next to him and is simply sad with him. In this moment Joy learns the immense value of Sadness.
The movie is very good, but I want to focus on how it illustrates a Biblical truth.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
Many of us miss the point of sadness. We may have been fooled into thinking Christianity is always looking on the bright side of life. We may have been fooled into thinking that our best role in helping someone get through sorrow is being their cheerleader.
As the movie highlights so well, we rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Think of Job's friends, for days they sat by him and mourned and then later they ruined things by opening their mouths. Christians, Paul wrote the above verse while instructing the Romans church about love. Love can mean sadness with others and joy with others.
The movie "Inside Out" goes on to show that sadness mixed with joy creates the most lasting and powerful memories we have. Or as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:10, "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."
Parents, I'd encourage you to rent this movie and watch it with your kids. Use it as a tool to teach them how to love as God instructs us. Talk to them about the God given purpose of our emotions. Emotions are designed by God; in fact, since we are made in God's image God has emotions and our emotions can be a reflection of His.
Bottom line: look for Gospel moments in whatever you are doing, whether it is watching a movie or taking a walk, and use these moments to preach to yourself and/or teach your children today.