National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
A friend said something to me recently about the terrible reaction of today’s Christian culture to depression in it’s ranks. It got me thinking. Let me tell you some of the reactions I received from Christians concerning my depression:
- It was because of a lack of faith on my part
- It was because I had unresolved sin in my life
- It was because I didn’t attend Church enough
- It was merely an attack of Satan and if I would just bind him in the name of Jesus he would have to flee and my depression would be gone
There were others, but you get the idea. Eventually I found out my depression did have a cause. An incompetent doctor induced it with faulty treatment for a legitimate medical issue I had. Please understand medically induced depression is just as real as any other. The incredible pain and loneliness simply cannot be described or understood by someone who has never experienced it. The bottom line is my depression was due to something totally beyond my control. Yet every Christian I ran across had a reason for it, and a cure for it. All the reasons blamed me. All the cures involved a church.
I didn’t receive love, grace, and compassion. I received love along with condemnation. I received grace with a side of accusations. I received compassion with a healthy helping of disgust. I received all of them with the need for stronger commitment to church. People told me more than once that they were simply showing me tough love. The result of all the tough love along with the downright ridiculous attitudes displayed by Christians was that I gave up on God at that time. God had been my only hope. I had been clinging to the idea that God was the only thing that was going to pull me out of my depression.
When I couldn’t find God in those whom should have been displaying him I lost hope. I lost the desire to fight. I nearly ended my own life.
Why am I writing this? I merely ask that you think about what I have written here. Not because I want your pity. Not because I want you make apologies or excuses for the actions of people who should have known better. It is because there is a good chance that you are going to run into a person or even more than one person in your life that is depressed to some extent great or small.
When that happens they don’t need your snap judgments, Christian psycho-babble, condemnations, accusations or quick fixes. They need to see love, compassion, and grace. Truck loads of them. In other words they need to see Jesus, and they need to see him in you. If not it may be the last time you see them alive. I know, because several years ago when I couldn’t find Jesus in those around me I was mere moments from that person being me.