By now, word’s gotten around about Pixar’s latest movie, Inside Out. The story of a young girl, and the five emotions living in her head, has invoked plenty of “feelings” among audiences. Across Twitter and Facebook, viewers have reminisced on particular moments when they felt joy, anger, fear, disgust, or sadness. In true Pixar fashion, Inside Out reminds us all what it means to be human. According to Jeremy Pierre though, the movie is capable of doing much more.
In an article for The Gospel Coalition, Pierre argues that Inside Out can also give Christians new insight on our spiritual nature. He writes,
“While Inside Outoverstates the primacy of emotion in human motivation, the movie nevertheless helpfully forces the audience to acknowledge that emotions make up a major part of why we do what we do. For Christians, acknowledging this is vital to discipleship, which requires that we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). In other words, Christians value emotions because they are part of how God designed us to worship him…”
Pierre then outlines how mankind’s fallen nature has left us with tainted emotions that can only be corrected by the love of Christ,
“God designed our hearts to desire what he desires. We were made to find joy in what he finds joy in, be disgusted by what he’s disgusted by, be saddened by what grieves him, be angered by what angers him, and fear the things he identifies as threatening. In other words, our desires—and the emotions expressed by them—worship God as they imitate his.”
“The main hindrance is that our hearts are inclined to find joy in what he hates, to be disgusted by what he says is good, to be fearful of what he says brings life. Our emotions are corrupted by our fallen condition. And we need the redemption of Jesus Christ, the only one who managed his emotions perfectly to the glory of God by valuing what God valued. Just read Matthew 26:36–46 for a stirring description of Jesus’s emotional obedience.”
Pierre’s argument is certainly something to think about. Though Inside Out is not a Christian movie, it does remind us that all emotions have an important part to play in our lives. We rarely consider how often emotions dictate the course of our decisions. Whether it’s in how we share the Gospel, or how we worship privately, emotion has a part to play in our walk with Christ. God designed all things, even painful emotions, to bring us closer to Him.
So let us strive to feel joy in what Christ takes joy in, to use sorrow as a comforter, disgust as discernment, fear as wisdom, and anger to stoke the fires of righteousness. As Romans 8:28 promises,
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”