I saw a negative post on my news feed about a pastor I follow. On social media. The post said that this pastor was fake and that he only wants people's money.
Curious, I asked the author of the post why he thinks this pastor was a fraud.
The author responded it is because the pastor only preaches about God's blessings and grace, and nothing about repentance.
I asked him if it's awful to preach about God's blessings and grace?
I shared that I am suffering from anxiety and hearing about God's blessings and grace helps me deal with depression.
He then said that he's been through depression and all I had to do was to pray. He also said that he hopes that l receives a gift of discernment.
I felt offended, so I replied, "brother, it seemed that you already judged me, I thank you for your opinion, and God bless you."
That response made me the person I didn't want to be, it was not a proud moment for me.
He replied and said that he was just trying to save me from the wolves. He also sent me a link to a YouTube video on how to deal with depression.
I got furious at that point. I have an active devotional life and currently seeing a mental health professional. How could this person assume that a YouTube video can make everything I'm going through better?
I started constructing a message about how his response to me was wrong in so many levels, but I decided to delete it. I believe that we will never win anyone to Jesus by debating with them. I was already feeling guilty because I told him he was being judgmental.
I didn't reply and just hit the like button.
Proverbs 11:9 "Evil words destroy one's friends; wise discernment rescues the godly."
Proverbs 11:12 "It is foolish to belittle a neighbour; a person with good sense remains silent."
Christians are already getting a bad rep. We are deemed as bigots, and we've been shoving Bible verses in people's faces without understanding their situation.
There are a lot of things that we can do be better socially, and one of them is understanding depression and how to deal with people with anxiety.
What is depression?
While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for extended periods (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a severe condition that affects your physical and mental health. - from Beyond Blue.
Having mood swings, being stressed, feeling sad and lonely is not depression. It may look or feel like it, but it's not.
It's like infatuation and love, it's hard to tell which is which when you experience them.
Depression is dangerous, and it can kill. We should not take it likely.
How to Talk to People with Depression
1. Don't say "you just need to pray."
I believe in prayer and miracles but telling a person who is suffering from depression just to pray is totally off.
In a Biblical perspective, Christians know that Jesus can heal instantly, or He can choose to let the person go through the struggle. Remember, He allowed his good friend Lazarus to die. Jesus even mourned for him. David killed Goliath in minutes but had to outlast King Saul. Job prayed his heart out but still went through all that pain.
Here are a few things to consider as well:
How do we know that this depressed person is not praying?
How do we know that prayer is the only thing God wants the person to do? What if God wants this person to seek professional help?
People with depression require professional assistance and support from family and friends.
Be genuinely concerned about them and ask the person about their situation before you give advice. Be sensitive when you say that they should just pray.
2. Not a Faith Issue
When people go through depression, it doesn't mean they don't have faith. It means that they have a different struggle.
Don't tell depressed people that it's their lack of faith that causes their anxiety. They are not doing it on purpose. It's automatic, and they just don't know how to shut it down. This is a severe medical condition.
People with anxiety don't need ridicule and judgment. They need support.
3. It's Not Weakness
People with anxiety are fighting every day. It's a non-stop battle from the moment they wake up.
The mere fact that they go on with their lives and be productive is a feat of strength. People with mental issues are not weak.
4. It's Okay to Seek Professional Help.
Some Christians say that people with anxiety don't need professional help. All they need is faith in God.
Why would God create psychology? Why would God raise psychologists?
Why would we agree for other Christians to seek medical help and look down on people who need mental help?
It's okay to see a psychiatrist and be a Christian.
If we ask a depressed person to open to us, be ready to commit. Pray hard before you ask people with anxiety to share their struggle with you.
When they open, be there for them. You can be sure that you are one of a handful of people that know about this person's condition.
If you ask a depressed person to open, be ready for a commitment.
Let's Sum It Up
Christians, we equip ourselves with the word of God, but we are losing empathy.
Are we raising followers of Jesus? Or are we becoming the Sadducees and Pharisees of the modern generation?
Again, Jesus wept and mourned for Lazarus. It's okay to feel sad.
Jesus asked a blind man to go on a journey to the pool of Bethesda when Jesus could have healed him instantly. It's okay to experience suffering. Admit it, we all have our own struggles.
God can take away other people's suffering in an instant, and God may allow some challenges to run its course, which could take a while. God's glory will be revealed, either way, so let's respect each other's crosses and encourage one another.
Thank you for reading this devotional story, and I pray that it encouraged and empowered you in your walk with Christ. Please read other devotional stories on the website. You might find A Mental Health Discussion, Depressing Demons, and I Can't Do This Anymore appealing.
If you're interested in supporting this ministry of sharing the Gospel online, please subscribe, like and share this devotional story so we can spread God's goodness, empowerment and love. Check out Merch by High3r.com on the website as well. God bless you!