The Dangers of Sadness

“Remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and there is no profit in it.” (Sirach 30:23)

One of the worst things about sadness is the majority of us don’t realize how much damage it can do, so we don’t put more effort into fighting against it. And many times it is this ignorance that can do us so much harm. Have you ever thought about how dangerous sadness is? Maybe you’ve never stopped to think more deeply about what sadness does to you, but I bet by the end of this article you will have a lot more light. “Sorrow results in death, and sorrow of heart saps one’s strength.” (Sirach 38:18)

Some Effects of Sadness:


You become spiritually lazy, as if you’re dragging yourself along. The soul becomes tired, sluggish, lethargic, drowsy from boredom. You feel no motivation and even repulsion and disgust towards all spiritual exercises and all acts of virtue, like prayer, mass, confession, speaking with your spiritual director, spiritual reading, rosary, charity… and you could end up abandoning them all together.The soul is as if it is asleep: unable, useless and clumsy for all good work. Sometimes it gets so bad that all spiritual exercises are so annoying that they make you angry and you become annoyed and angered by everyone else who is trying to be virtuous and live a life of perfection, and sometimes you will even want to try to distract or hinder others from living a life of virtue or being faithful to their commitments.


Sadness very easily moves you to be in a bad mood, to be impatient, rude, harsh, bitter, angry, irritated, etc. maybe it could even be something very little, and if you weren’t sad and in a bad mood it probably wouldn’t have bothered you at all. In a nutshell, you’re failing terribly in charity left and right.


“Where there is bitterness there is no understanding.” (Sirach 21:15, Vulgate)
This anger can make you suspicious and judgmental towards others, and sometimes it gets so bad and leaves your soul so restless that it takes away your peace, common sense and good judgement. Bitterness and sadness take away your sanity, you become irrational, your fears and suspicion have no logical foundation, you blow things out of proportion, and don’t react or judge things correctly.


When you give into the temptation of sadness you tend to look at yourself too much, a.k.a. you are being selfish, only worried about yourself and your situation. You pity yourself and aren’t attentive to the needs, joys, and sufferings of others. You also tend to make yourself the victim, only looking at your problems (those of which are usually insignificant or blown out of proportion) and how others (or things that happen) are contributing to your problems, sadness, etc. You tend to become over sensitive…little things that happen or that others do or say are received by you as a huge blow and plunge you deeper into your melancholy and bitterness.


What moths do to clothes, what termites do to wood, or what rust does to metal, that is what sadness does to your heart. A piece of cloth eaten by moths isn’t worth anything anymore, a termite eaten piece of wood or a corroded piece of metal can’t be used to construct anything solid and stable because it would crumble under any weight. When you give in to sadness and melancholy you become useless because you can’t hold any weight. “Do not give your heart to sorrow; drive it away, remembering the end of life.” (Sirach 38:20)


“Sadness has killed many.” (Sirach 30:25, Vulgate) Some saints have called sadness a nest of thieves, and den of demons. The devil sleeps in the shadows (Job 40:16). In these shadows of darkness and confusion that you experience when you are sad, the devil is hidden and waiting for you, knowing that once he gets you to fall into sadness he can attack with all types of temptation, taking advantage of your weakness. Just like many beasts wait until darkness falls to come out of their caves, the devil waits for the darkness of sadness to fall to attack.

St. Francis says that it makes the devil happy when our heart is sad because very easily you can be overcome by sadness and despair or you may turn to the pleasures of the world. When you are sad the devil tempts with despair and loss of trust in God’s love, “this can’t be fixed, God can’t forgive me”, just like he did with Cain and Judas. To think this is a misunderstanding of God’s heart, and the love He has for us. At other times the devil might tempt you with the pleasures of the world and the pleasures of the flesh, under the disguise that these things will relieve your present sadness and bring some pleasure to your heart.

It also makes the devil happy when we are sad because you won’t be as generous with God. You won’t have given God everything you could have because you didn’t give it with joy, you held back graces from yourself and from other souls because of your lack of generosity, you wasted precious time to store up treasures in Heaven, you lacked strength in your apostolate and weren’t a witness to the joy of the faith… etc… etc.... We fail in so many things when we give in to the temptation of sadness, but above all, what makes the devil most happy is that God was loved less, that your sadness kept you from loving God as much as you could, and that is exactly what the devil wants, that God is not loved as He should be. How easily we fall into the devils traps...

I’m sure after reading all of this you are thinking that it is all so obvious, and how is it possible that you never realized this before. Well, remember what I said in the beginning that there is a great ignorance concerning the gravity of sadness? Well, the devil loves this ignorance and wants to keep us ignorant because that way we remain weak, we don’t fight, and he can continue attacking us so successfully. He can continue to make us fall, continue to take away our joy. And, in the end, take away our glory in Heaven and take away glory from God, the glory we would have given God if we had been faithful. So if this article was light for you, give what you have received (Matthew 10:8). Share it with someone, or “many” ones, so that it can also be a light for them and a defeat for the devil. “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Mary, cause of our joy: Pray for us! “The mercy of God is beautiful in the time of affliction, as a cloud of rain in the time of drought” (Sirach 35:26).