The weblog of Darren Friesen

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Depression Discussion

I wanted to respond to a comment that was left here a few days ago. It's from someone named "Doug", and I'd ask you(the reader) to read it before you read my comments, as they won't make much sense otherwise. Also read Joyce's(kehlerhildebrand) comment right after that. She lets go here, and I laughed out loud when I read it. Thanks for jumping in, Joyce. There is much that you said well that I won't repeat.

Doug, as Joyce said, clinical depression is...well...clinical. It is like having a broken arm or a hernia. There is something physically wrong with the brain, and it needs to get fixed. That is what I suffer from (though not as badly as some). When you braek your arm, you go to the doctor, who does what he/she can to fix it. It's the same with depression. The doctor does what they can to fix it. THAT is what depression is; that and nothing else.

That being said, I know that sin can affect your psyche, and that needs to be dealt with too, through prayer and honesty before God. I, like everyone else I know, deal with sin. I love God, and want to follow him. Clinical depression has the tendancy to make that journey tougher, but I do what I can. Depression affects the way you think about your life with God, but it does not your life with God. They affect each other, but are not the same.

Third, I have to say that the approach you took to addressing me and this problem of depression is amazing and scary to me. Amazing because clinical depression is all over the place, probably with people you know and love. The approach you took with me was fairly condescending, and it seems to me that you need to do a little research so you know the facts on what you're talking about.Scary because you so easily threw out judgement and condemnation at me, thinking that my problem would somehow be fixed through that. There are others I know, suffering from depression, that would not be able to handle your words, and, if you were to have written to them, you could end up driving them deeper into it instead of helping them. The most surprising part of your comment was calling the existance of my relationship with God into question. Doug, you don't know my heart, or anyone else's. Do you see how dangerous it is to "play God" and say that you know the hearts of people. It is not yours, mine, or anyone else's place to judge the heart of another. I would ask you to seriously think about that, not to apologize, but for the sake of others who will come across your path in the future who need you to really love them and not condemn them.

Doug, I'd be interested in hearing your comments (or anyone else's) on this.

AMEN

29 Comments:

Blogger Becky said...

Hey Darren, maybe your "anonymous" commenter is really Tom Cruise! Now you can join the ranks of Brooke Shields in being misdiagnosed by someone (who, ironically) needs a diagnosing themself!

Seriously, though, your response to the pious "Doug" is a whole lot more graceful than I woulda been.

Your real friends are behind you. Don't forget that.

12:31 AM

 
Anonymous Rev Dave said...

As one who is awake in the middle of the night with the fog still affecting my life I want to encourage you and anyone else who is "in the midst." It doesn't help that we are usually more sensitive to comments like Doug's (augmenting and amplifying the affect of those comments). Be en-couraged.

This discussion led me to reflect some about it over at my blog. I humbly invite you to see if that helps or not.

2:09 AM

 
Blogger Joyce said...

Darren- How lovely and refreshing to read an intelligent and gracious response.

6:57 AM

 
Blogger Sherri said...

I agree with your response Darren...and many of Joyce's points too, so I have little to add, but I do want to highlight a couple of points:

- I think it's 'bad' theology to say that a particular affliction or illness was brought on by sin in their life...that is just incongruent with mercy and grace and the kind of God who sent His son for us.
- I think there are several people used by God in the Bible who likely struggled with depression..Jeremiah comes to mind for instance...I'm also thinking about the verses where Paul talks about the thorn in his side and it's purpose (not that I necessarily think Paul had depression just that God might allow, not cause, this to be a thorn in someone's life and as in all things use it for good, though it certainly wouldn't feel good, in the end)
- I know several Christians who daily walk with God and submit their wills who have at some point struggled with depression...you worked with an amazing woman at Church, Darren, who is an excellent example of that...
- God uses our experience in life...whether it be illness or depression...to minister to others. Darren I just feel what you've shared in your posts on the matter really fits with that.

8:58 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To call me "pious" is crazy. That harsh and extremely judgemental. I'm quite beside myself.

Let's look at a few basic things, anyone has a few moments.

Jeremiah was depressed in the other sense that I mentioned. He was distraught at the disobedience all around him. He wasn't just in a fog for some unknown reason. He is known as the "grumpy" prophet for that reason. He preached against sin and nobody would listen. That's depressing, I can assure you!

I find it amazing that nobody takes the Bible serious when it comes to discussing the most elementary human conditions, like depression. I mean, God thought it was so important as to give us some information about it in the 4th chapter of the Bible, in the very first generation.

Why not discuss Cain?

But everyone is quick to run to the clinic and get medication. Does God have anything at all to tell us about depression, the human condition, it causes, its remedy at all? Or did people just unjustly suffer for eons until we had psychologists?

There is a chemical imbalance no doubt. It needs to be corrected. How did it get that way? Why was Cain depressed though? And why was Saul? I guess even looking at Scripture is out. No one even responded to that. When we see David depressed, we also see him confessing his sins.

Why is David so happy in Psalm 51 after repenting? Bi-polar?

If you are depressed for no apparant reason, the blame is on God then, since he made you that way. When you do the math that way, and get that answer, that should utterly frighten you down to the core. Adam said the same thing!

It's amazingly unchristian to not respond to at the least the Scriptural part of what I posted. I have no other leg to stand on. Instead, my character gets attacked? What did I miss??

I'm kind of shocked. You are saying it's not your fault. If it's not your fault, then who's is it? If someone close to you died, or if there was a bad illness, or if you are being persecuted, there is a kind of depression Scripture speaks about. But it separates characters like Cain and Saul, and even Judas, from that for a reason. I hope you see that clearly.

Sin = Depression. Isn't that what Jesus died for? To save us from sin now and lead us to eternal life later?

This statement is over the top though: "- I think it's 'bad' theology to say that a particular affliction or illness was brought on by sin in their life..."

How can even begin to turn that around? Saul? Cain? Judas? Lot's of other people? The ENTIRE Old Testament? Ananias and Saphhira? Jesus's teaching about a tree and its fruit?

You can't read more than a few pages of the Bible to see that this is just flat wrong. What about "a man reaps what he sows - God is not mocked". What about Jesus who said "stop sinning, or something worse might happen to you" or "its better to suffer to doing good than doing bad" or "men hate the light because their deeds were evil".

It's just irresponsible to dismiss what I'm saying with a few clever key strokes.

Does anybody care to discuss Cain, the archetypal depressive?

- Why is that story there?
- Why does God tell him 'if you do what is right won't your face be lifted'?
- Why are we warned in the NT not to be like Cain
- Why does God put that story so early in the Bible?

Like much of early Genesis, the stories and their object lessons are very simple.

Does that story have any application to depression, or am I just off my rocker, which is possible.

Tackle Cain and see what YOU come up with. I tried. Post it here!

Regardless, a robust discussion, even fight, isn't the worst thing for Christians.

Peace

Doug

11:11 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly, I didn't read the very long ABCDEFG post before I just made my most recent post - I missed that page entirely. I only saw from "Becky" forward. I did just read it now. I'm compelled to chime back in.

If I had been the one to make that ABCDEFG-point post, I'd be depressed right now! Whew! That couldn't have felt right to submit that and read it again and say "that was right on." We should chalk that one up as a wierd one. Woops. Whatever that was, it was not a Christian response. Fights are fine, as long as we don't hit beneath the belt. No name calling. That's a good rule to fight by. My wife and I have that down in a good way.

Maybe you could go back and read my post. If you read "you" literally, I suppose you could take it as an attack, but that was not intended. "You" could have been easily "one". It was not an attack on any level. It was my attempt to explain what I see Scripture saying in general terms. I didn't say "Darren" or "Joe" for that reason. My bad if that wasn't clear.

Indictment wasn't on my mind, I assure you. However my view, as we all know, is entirely 100% subjective based on my perspective and motive. However, those accusing me of judgement have me all summed up and judged.

"Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

~ William James

William James, the father of modern psychology, here is asserting, tentatively, what Scripture asserts quite dogmatically - the dialectic between thougt and action. You'd be hard pressed to find a serious scholar who would disagree. Except if you are a scholar for Merck or some other drug or tobacco company.

If Jesus prompts you in the morning to obey him, and you don't, you are just disobedient. Jesus doesn't prompt us to do what can't be done.

Scripture says "If you love me you will obey me" and in another place,
"By this we know we love him, if we keep his commandments"

The heritage we have as Christians is the ability to choose, and the ability to "walk" with God in a dialectical process between our thoughts and our actions. Through Jesus's power we can simply obey, just like he said a billion times. Why is that upsetting? I guess it's a mystery.

Here is post I found today on another world-famous blog, jesuscreed, about obedience and works:

http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1097

If I said we are judged by how we live, I would only be quoting more or less what is posted there.

Disagree with me - that's fine. It's a good thing. Even swear at me - it migh be cathartic. But don't do it in such a blatantly non-Christian way. There is no reason to froth. Reason your point with some Scripture. The early church did incessantly at fevered pitches. Jesus called us to love, and we can disagree vehemently without beating eachother up.

If someone tells you some truth, and even it comes on the end of an ugly stick, you should suck up and at least think about the points being made.

Shell-shocked, ears ringing,

Doug

12:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Doug, you sound depressed. Words have a tendancy to ring in the ears, don't they?

12:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doug- again, thanks for the pointers on how to be a proper Christian.

1:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment on the Scriptures not me!

If my interpretation wrong and full of holes like swiss cheese, point it out. Come up with something else. Shoot it down. That's the proper Christian thing to do. At least engage on that level and stop calling names.

I never called anyone a name - yet! I never said anyone here wasn't Christian!

Please, nobody post another slam on me. That's not going anywhere. It's just not Christian either. No jokes - just a serious debate about the issue. I thought that's what this was. Someone else chime in with a thoughtful response.

Doug

2:53 PM

 
Anonymous Rev Dave said...

OK, Doug, here are a few questions about your interpretations that I need to understand before I can offer any kind of clear response.

First of all, where do you see Cain as the archetypal depressive? I see him as the archetype for jealousy and greed-based rage. Please point to your Biblical foundation for seeing Cain as a depressive.

You say "sin = depression". Amplify what you mean by that. I don't think there is a one to one relationship between the two as you seem to presume. And since you want Biblical support some passage references to help you see that would be helpful for the discussion.

And one more request for a passage reference: You said, "What about Jesus who said 'stop sinning, or something worse might happen to you'"

If I can sneak in a fourth question: what are you using as a definition of depression. It appears our definitions might be different, and I want to be sure about the definition of terms.

3:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,
All I know is that there is no condemnation is Christ Jesus. His Grace is something to rest in and know that Jesus is your champion. Any accusations against you are moot - just know that you are never alone in any struggle that you may encounter in your life (and obviously you are greatly loved by many - as this past discussion is a testament to).
Godspeed,
tracyfromvancouver

3:24 PM

 
Blogger Scott said...

until it happens to you it's all theology. it's easy to piously exegete feelings until your life falls apart.

4:19 PM

 
Blogger Jason Silver said...

It seems to me that everyone is over-reacting. :)

Doug's initial comment had some validity, if you ask me. It was admittedly, a little out of left field, since he has no relationship with Darren. But he wasn't prescribing medication, he was reminding us that most times we are responsible for our behaviours and responses.

But I know Darren is the kind of person to listen carefully to find truth in another's words... perhaps there is some truth that we all can find here?

But rather, it seems some people are just being nasty. Perhaps there is a better way to respond that would be more in line with our Christian values?

Blessings,
~Jason

7:48 AM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

Doug, you seem to be a young Christian, both in chronological age and spiritual age. And you obviously have never had depression.

David had depression, even while he was writing Scripture. So did Moses. If you don't believe me, you haven't read your Bible, son.

Jesus didn't have clinical depression, but he was very obviously depressed in Gethsemane, to the point where he had to leave the decision as to whether to proceed on the path He had chosen in the hands of His Father. And yet, he was without sin.

I find it interesting that you are describing yourself as shellshocked and hurt by the abuse your remarks have engendered. Would that you had considered adhering to your own plea for civility before you started labelling people you didn't even know as sinners with your sin = depression formula. Do you forget that you, too, are a sinner? You clearly don't feel you have depression - is there something pure and noble about you that allows you to escape your own equation? I think not.

Here's the deal, my man. I have had depression pretty well all my life since I hit puberty, to some extent or another. That was, in fact, one of the things that drew me to the comforting arms of Jesus, in Whom I find solace.

I know why I have depression, and it has nothing to do with sin. I have a medical condition that I inherited, and one of its effects is to cause the hormones and chemicals in my body to go completely out of whack. For me, depression isn't my condition, it is a symptom of my condition that is sometimes better, and sometimes worse, but always there.

(Now, before you go off on a tangent and propose healing, I can tell you I believe in healing, and have experienced it. And I've been involved in some pretty amazing instances of healing. God, in His wisdom, hasn't healed me of this, and I rejoice in His decision.)

At its most basic level, depression is the need to be comforted. Some who have depression find comfort in a bottle, or in drugs. Others find it in sex. And some find it in the arms of the Lord.

"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people" is our command. But how do we learn to do so? The answer is also in Scripture. "Comfort others with the comfort by which you have comforted by God", Paul says - and Paul was a man who knew what it was to need comfort. We can only find our comfort in Him, as we learn to be overcomers. (BTW, if you have never experienced clinical depression, Doug, you will never be able to really understand everything John said in Revelations about being an overcomer.)

You want more Scripture? The Scripture I would point you to is Job 1:7, where the devil (which means accuser) stood before God to level accusations. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Why do you want the job?

I rejoice in this infirmity of depression, because it makes my heart instantly sensitive to the need of the person in front of me.

I want you to think about this, as someone who has known what it is to have depression for most of four decades: When I tell people I have depression, whether they are Christian or not, they welcome my words. They're interested in my experience, and they are grateful I am so open to sharing it with them. And then they open up to me about their struggles and challenges. And I comfort them. I know how to do so, because I have been comforted by God.

You've seen how people have responded to your words. Do you think you accomplished anything? Did you provide comfort? Did anyone feel from you compassion?

You can choose to have a compassionate heart. Or you can wait for God to give you one, through trial and trouble and distress and failure.

Choose well, my brother.

6:56 PM

 
Blogger Jackie said...

Wow. It's scary what some people think about things like depression. Here's what's frustrating to me...There's no real "test" to look inside a person's brain to say you need medication. So we go on it to see if it works, and if it does, awesome. If it doesn't, then it's not needed. What I think is WHO CARES. I don't see it as a spiritual issue at all. Someone who is depressed can be closer to God than someone who isn't. I don't get why some people are so against others taking medication for depression. Whatever. Darren, I'm glad you're past the point of letting others' negative comments get in the way of what you're going through.

9:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Rev Dave for the gracious response. Warm regards to Jason Silver as for the thoughtful response. And hello to anyone else who responded or is reading this.

In quick response to Rev Dave: Cain did bad things (1 John 3:11). God asks Cain why has his "countenance fallen", to which God then gives the answer that if he does what it right his "countenance will be lifted". God adds that a demon is crouching at his door. Some translations say "but you must master it" and others say "but you can master it".

"Stop sinning or something worse will happen to you" is from John 5:14

I'm using the definition of depression from the Oxford American dictionary. The word, if words have meaning, means two things. As a noun it means to feel severe despondency. It is also place where something has been lowered. This is a loaded word. The verb form means that something is being pressed down.

I've been a Christian for 20 years BTW.

I never said I was hurt - not my style. The "shell shocked, ears ringing" was a humorous jab at the noise made by a few name-callers. I never called anyone a name and have been civil.

Satan is the accuser indeed. The historical Jewish background is Satan as the prosecuting attorney in a courtroom. He basically accuses us of what we actually did, and wants it to stick. However, Jesus is now our Lawyer, our Advocate, before the heavenly court. He urges us to tell the truth that in fact what Satan is saying is true - we did sin! (1 John 2:1). When we confess the truth of the sin, then the blood of Jesus helps us get rid of the actual sin so that we aren't stained by it anymore (1 John 1:9). If we don't confess the sin when Satan has the goods on us, then we make Jesus a liar, as John puts it.

All of 1 John just says we should obey Jesus no matter what. That's it. Nothing stops anyone from choosing. You have to obey your way out of a funk. That is the premise of the entire Bible. That is what Jesus died for. He died so that we'd have the power to live for him and not be stuck in an endless cycle of sin and despair. The freedom he died to bring us ("you shall be free indeed") culminates in eternal life.

To those currently sidelined, observe this simple command: love in deed and truth. Break the inertia. You can do it by God who gives all strength. Break it. Admit that *when* you are doing nothing you are in fact doing nothing. If you've sinned, find a good soul and confess to them. If you want assurance in your heart, you must love in action and in truth. The Holy Spirit speaking through John encourages us to take that chance: "...let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth"

The punchline is simply that if we act, then we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are of the truth. Do we all have the same Bible?

If we don't act, we have every reason to doubt, and we have no defense against the accuser. Our obedience to Jesus is the proof of our faith in Jesus. Isn't that what he says all over the Gospel of John?

"If you love me you will obey me."

One last thing. The greek word for "faith" and "faithfulness" are the same. Words have meaning, and this didn't escape the notice of the Holy Spirit.

I feel badly that so many have rushed to the defense of the drug companies. I'm glad they make percoset and zithromax for me and my family when we are sick. But they have a vested interest in making sure nobody discovers that how you behave affects your brain chemistry.

I won't supply my own anecdotal evidence to "prove" what I'm saying is right. I think Scripture does a fine job without me. Most of my family (not my wife or children or me though) is on medication, unfortunately. Suicide is also prevelant, you could say. Nobody makes the connection that God requires obedience if you want to be happy.

"If you love me you will obey me", as Jesus put it.

To those who say they can't break it, I'd say you are right. To those who say they might be able to break it, I'd say you might be right. To those who say they can break it, I don't have anything to say except "According to your faith shall it be done to you" (Matt 9:29)

It is truly perplexing to see the kind of answers posted on this blog. What is negative about what I've posted?

I would like to reiterate that whoever posts next to please refrain from calling me names or taking straw-man jibes. Just don't do it. I've asked once or twice already. I've posted a valid Christian response with Christian character so if you aren't going to reciprocate on par, then don't. The point of discussion is persuasion, and I think I've spent my 2 cents. To what effect...Idunno.

Maybe it's best to just delete the entire thread out of grace :)

12:50 AM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

Doug, you still seem a young Christian. 20 years on, and yet the Lord has not yet been able to allow you to go through very deep waters. And what you would define as very deep waters (for that is surely your rejoinder) would constitute, for many of us, a good day. I feel sorrow for you, because you don't know the joy of being sustained in them by faith and dependence on him.

You know in theory what we are trying to tell you we know in practice. Yours is the arrogance of youth. You could be 90 years old, and it would still be the arrogance of youth. You declare things with such assurance. You have the jargon down pat, but you don't have the joy of the Lord in what you have to say.

You are what Job called a miserable comforter. You use words, not the Spirit of the Lord, to give advice. If you would but listen to the Spirit of the Lord, He would be telling you to stop talking and listen.

Take a look at the arrogance of the assumption you made when you said "To those currently sidelined, observe this simple command: love in deed and truth."

I have now known the joy of the Lord for very close to 40 years. Like our host, I have been a chaplain, but I have also been a layman, as the Lord has directed me. I have effectively ministered to prisoners and the "heavy laden" and to Christian leaders and workers. I'm not on medication, other than to treat my originating condition. I have never been suicidal. I have never been sidelined - sometimes, the times when I have gone through the deepest waters are also the times when I have had my greatest effectiveness in ministry.

The only difference between you and me, in fact, is that to get to the same place, I have to wade through more obstacles. But I still go. And I do love, in deed and in truth. Not, to be sure, perfectly. But that is my goal, that is my direction, and by God's grace, that is the usual result.

See, that's the problem in your analysis. You leave no room for the grace of God. You assume God's grace is sufficient to remove the fog others have spoken about. You assume God's grace is sufficient to restore the conditions that have weighed the person down. That is a simplistic view of Christianity. It doesn't ring true for those who don't have our advantages, for example.

Would it be all right with you if a person who was being tortured got depressed?

Would it be all right with you if a person who was dependent on the charity of others because of an infirmity got depressed?

You hear depression and you assume sin. I hear depression and I hear the need to listen, to help bear the sorrows. Indeed, were I not making that my focus, I would descend into a pit of pity, but I do not. I am able to recognize that no matter how bad things seem to me, there are others whom I will encounter, each and every day, whose need is greater. And so I look for them, each and every day.

In the main, the first thing I offer is a shoulder, as they recount how they have been brought lower through the inconsiderate and ill-informed opinions of one such as you.

I'm sure the thread will continue. You are the poster boy for the biggest challenge to Christianity in western countries today - the know-it-all Christian whose words have hurt more people than they have ever helped.

And the sad part? The only time when you'll recognize the truth of what I'm saying is when you're sitting in the sackcloth and ashes. When you are brought low, it will hit you harder than most, because you will be wasting your energy wondering what sin you committed.

Let me give you the answer in advance so that when it comes, you can skip that step. It's the sin of pride.

3:23 AM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

Oh, and Doug, you have a very baby-Christian view of Scripture.

You said (and seem to actually believe) "You have to obey your way out of a funk. That is the premise of the entire Bible. That is what Jesus died for."

The premise of the entire Bible is that Jesus died for our sins, and lifted from us condemnation. At the same time you are piling on condemnation, Jesus is lifting it and putting it on Himself. THAT, my son, is what Jesus died for. Now there is no condemnation for those who in Christ. Again, why do you want to pile on condemnation when your Lord is trying to remove it?

It makes a mockery of His sacrifice to say that He died so that we would be able to obey our way out of depression. That is a works based faith, and it is the antithesis of Christianity.

Faith without works is dead. And works without grace is of no consequence or effect. BOTH are true.

I encourage you to read Luke 18:9-14. Throughout this discussion, you have been the man spoken of first, while you have called on the rest of us to "smite our breasts".

Funny. You came on this thread because you really believed the words you had to share would help people. And you end up being the one most needy of grace.

4:00 AM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

I hope Doug has the grace and wisdom to just listen for a while. I'd like to turn the discussion to something far more profitable, if I may.

I mentioned the joy of the Lord in one of my posts. This is something I've learned much about - that God's joy is part of God's grace, and it can exist even in depression. In fact, it should exist ESPECIALLY in depression.

The joy of the Lord is of the spirit, while happiness, a sense of emotional well-being, those are things of the soul and body. That is why we are told "The joy of the Lord is my strength".

I find that when I seek the joy of the Lord, no matter how I feel, that I am strengthened. As long as I have God's joy, I can go through any deep waters.

Here's the kicker, though. The joy of the Lord can only exist fully in a heart that has released the "right" we instinctively feel we have to be upset with that person or circumstance that has contributed to our emotional state.

I remember the first time I experienced this truth. I was at my lowest point. I was surrounded by Job's comforters. Those I had turned to for help had found "better" things to do. I was completely, utterly dependent on Jesus, and had no one else to turn to. And I finally stopped caring about whether God would deal with those who had hurt me with their words and deeds. I found myself releasing their circumstances utterly. I had no more strength to care.

And, in the midst of my discouragement (even despair), when my body was failing and my emotional state was numb, a funny thing happened. Within the core of my being, I heard the song of the Lord. And I was strengthened by it.

I can't even begin to describe it. Suffice to say that, though that day was more than 20 years ago, I can still think to that moment, that hour, that day, and be strengthened and sustained. I had a tiny, tiny glimpse of what it is to be in the presence of the Lord, not just as a concept, but as a physical reality.

Ours is a world of sorrow. Some are insulated from that sorrow. Others are not.

Those who minister every day must bear not only their sorrow, but those of others, and it is wearying. It exacerbates depression, but it also wears down the body and soul even in those who do not have depression.

Throughout all circumstances, the joy of the Lord is our strength. That is what Jesus' death on the cross is about - the opportunity to enter into the presence of the Lord, where there is no death, no pain, no sorrow. Even when our body and our soul is in the midst of all three.

Darren, you know of what I speak. Recall and draw strength from God's joy in you.

My favourite song that captures that quest for joy is "It is well with my soul". I've taken enough of this thread, so I hope someone else will post the story behind this song. Here's the second verse, from which I especially take comfort:

"Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul."

Darren, may the joy of the Lord continue to be in you.

4:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a clear distinction between the depression felt by the death of a loved one, an illness, an extreme situation, war (and other types of concrete situations) and the kind of completely abstract "fog". They are not related. God save us from either.

There is the momentary depression of the person who is grieved at their sin and repents (Psalm 51). That, again, is not what I'm referring to.

I understand God's grace to be power for living and not an abstract blanket of forgiveness.

I think we just have very different views of what Jesus did and what the Bible is all about.

You said "He died so that we would be able to obey our way out of depression. That is a works based faith, and it is the antithesis of Christianity."

I disagree. Jesus said "if you love me you WILL obey me". He died for us so that we could actually die to actual sins so we could do actual work for his actual Kingdom. Works is the fruit of love for Jesus. Eph 2:10 says it. 1 John is slathered in that idea. Why is that repugnant? I'm simply repeating what is written. I offer no interpretation on that at all. It just says it plain Greek, or English, or whatever language you read it in.

We can't put Saul and Job in the same category. Job was persecuted as it says plainly. He lost everything. He had miserable comforters. Saul was just disobedient. Samuel was patient to a point and then no more. I'm only referring to that kind of depression - one born of disobedience. That's it. If Saul had obeyed, he wouldn't have gone mad and wouldn't have killed himself. That's the punchline of course.

Let me say again - I'm referring to depression brought on by our own actions, not by extraneous physical circumstances. I hope that is clear.

At this point, we need to agree to disagree. I have not called anyone names or denigrated anyone, yet it seems that most of what has been posted (not all) has just been irritation at me.

Simple question: If you sin, do you get depressed? If you don't, then you are not a Christian! That would not bode well for you. If you sin a lot, do you get really depressed? I hope you don't get joyful when you sin.

If you run around obeying Jesus all day, does that make you depressed? Or are you joyful? This is not rocket science, so let's not drag up misinterpretations of Old Testament prophets dealing with disobedient Israel.

Faith in Jesus is obedience and grace is for that obedience.

My proof text is Rom 1:5 "...through whom we received *grace* and apostleship, *for obedience* of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake;"

I know we have the same Bible, but we both can't be quoting the same passage and say that it is saying two diametrically oppossed things, and *both* be right.

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, Paul is apparently convinced that obedience is the point of his apostleship. Paul expected concrete results from himself and his followers. I intend no harshness. I infact have good motives for taking the time to make this post. I want to stir up home, and agitate apathy perhaps a bit. I'm sorry but not too sorry for the agitation.

Disagree with me! That's fine. Come up with some other view of Scripture. I'll read everything else that gets posted, but I'm sounding like a broken record, so I won't post any more of the same stuff.

But please refrain from talking about me personally. I'd prefer if you violently attack what I'm saying. Post about the Scripture instead. I'm entirely insignificant, and it's not about me or you for that matter.

I repeat, please, nobody do another round of saying I'm this or that. Why do that?

Blessings to all and Peace in Christ...

Doug

9:42 AM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

"There is a clear distinction between the depression felt by the death of a loved one, an illness, an extreme situation, war (and other types of concrete situations) and the kind of completely abstract "fog". They are not related."

What seems clear to you is less clear to us mortals. What you are describing here is causality, not different kinds of depression.

"There is the momentary depression of the person who is grieved at their sin and repents (Psalm 51). That, again, is not what I'm referring to."

How fortunate, since that is not depression.

"I think we just have very different views of what Jesus did and what the Bible is all about."

Agreed. For example, I believe Jesus' death on the cross was the finished work of God to reconcile sinful man to Himself. And that the Bible is the Word of God to his repentant people.

"You said 'He died so that we would be able to obey our way out of depression."

Uh, no. I did not. Do not quote people by removing parts that favour your own argument. It's rude, it's disrespectful, and it's dishonest.

"Jesus said "if you love me you WILL obey me". He died for us so that we could actually die to actual sins so we could do actual work for his actual Kingdom. Works is the fruit of love for Jesus. Eph 2:10 says it. 1 John is slathered in that idea. Why is that repugnant?"

I don't know. I don't think it is. Why do you think it's repugnant?

"I'm simply repeating what is written."

Would that that were true.

"I offer no interpretation on that at all. It just says it plain Greek, or English, or whatever language you read it in."

Uh, excuse me? Where in Scripture does it say that you should chastise a brother, calling him to obedience, because he said he had depression? Where in Scripture do you see strangers told to "aggressively" (your word) confront people about sins that you do not have evidence they have committed?

"We can't put Saul and Job in the same category."

When did Saul come into this?

"Job was persecuted as it says plainly. He lost everything. He had miserable comforters."

Of whom you would have been chief.

"I'm only referring to that kind of depression - one born of disobedience. That's it."

And yet this is the first time you have mentioned it. Odd.

"Let me say again - I'm referring to depression brought on by our own actions, not by extraneous physical circumstances. I hope that is clear."

I think it's clear enough. And by this, you have revealed yourself to be a judgmental, pride-filled person. By giving your admonitions to Darren, you assumed that his depression was brought by his own action. You need to repent of that. "Judge not that you be not condemned by your own standard" is one verse that comes to mind right now.

"I have not called anyone names or denigrated anyone"

You have called people sinners because they have depression, as though you were better than they. We know what Jesus thought of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and yet you would emulate their example.

"Simple question: If you sin, do you get depressed? If you don't, then you are not a Christian!"

Clearly, that is the problem. Your problem is not that you are an insufferable fool bent on defending his own poorly defined and works based theology. The problem is that you don't know the English language. You're talking here about conviction, not depression. Just so you know.

"If you sin a lot, do you get really depressed?"

Yep. And I sometimes get really depressed even when I don't. On the other hand, I know several psychopaths and sociopaths, including people who have committed unspeakable crimes who never do. I'm sorry, your point again was - what?

"I hope you don't get joyful when you sin."

Nope. I get convicted. And the older I get, the more I try to keep short accounts with my God so that I can be joyful again.

"If you run around obeying Jesus all day, does that make you depressed?"

No. Nevertheless, when I run around obeying Jesus all day, I still experience depression.

"Or are you joyful?"
I find myself joyful even in replying to you. All of life's trials carry within it joy. But I am not joyful all the time, even when I am free from conviction.

"This is not rocket science, so let's not drag up misinterpretations of Old Testament prophets dealing with disobedient Israel."

Oh, good. So you're going to stop doing that, then?

"Faith in Jesus is obedience and grace is for that obedience."

'Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.' 'Faith is the essence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for.' If you're going to talk about faith, you don't have to make up something to fit around your poorly considered argument. Scripture has much to say about it.

"My proof text"

Proof of what? Something you are still defining? You have no proof because you have no argument - just a judgmental spirit.

"Paul is apparently convinced that obedience is the point of his apostleship."

The point? You are so strong on "proof texts" - where does he say that? I suggest Paul would say the point of his apostleship was to be the apostle who would travel the Roman world to carry the Gospel and to establish churches, so that Jesus was glorified through him. Your understanding of Paul is as limited as your understanding of depression.

"I'm entirely insignificant"

How very true.

3:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick:

In Rom 1:5, Paul does say the following:

"...through whom we received grace and apostleship, for obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake;"

Paul tells us the point of the Gospel right there, as I pointed out earlier. I highlighted the same point with asterisks earlier.

Grace and apostleship were given for the reason that Paul mentions in that verse. There is no other reason.

Regards,

Doug

6:41 PM

 
Blogger Patrick said...

Sorry, Doug, I missed the part where Paul said "The point of my apostleship is obedience." That must have been in Hezekiah 9:24. Or could it be that this was just another of your interpretations?

And that is your problem. You say "I offer no interpretation" but your posts are rife with your interpretations. If you want to have a comparative study of what the Bible has to say about depression, well, I'm well equipped to do that. But that's not what's happening here. You're making things up as you go along, a sign of a very immature belief and faith.

I very much appreciate the fact that you turn to the Bible as your sole guide. But so do I. And, I daresay, so do most of the people who have disagreed with you in this and the previous thread.

The difference is that we are speaking of things about which we are knowledgeable. We don't confuse conviction with depression. We don't confuse someone's statement that they have depression with an admission of a disobedient life. We don't look for proof texts, and substitute those for compassion and consideration. We take the whole of Scripture, and apply it everyday.

You jumped into a thread about which you had very little knowledge, other than anecdotal experience. I hope you've learned to be more cautious the next time.

Now, just let it go. You're not convincing anyone of anything, and I'm certain that if the Spirit of God is truly within you, He is telling you to repent and move on.

And, if you are going to post again, please first read Galatians 5:22. And ask yourself why you seem to have such trouble coming up with words that reflect that verse.

Thus endeth the lesson. Move on.

7:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fullfill the law of Christ.
"The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself".
Galatians 5

4:13 PM

 
Blogger Colleen Taylor said...

Oh Doug,

Who are you?

2:05 PM

 
Anonymous Bart said...

I think that the 'doug' is actually Darren. Its a trick creating a stir to increase his readership. Trying to increase his hits to be on par with Jordan. I'm on to you.....

9:33 AM

 
Blogger Nathan D.F. said...

Bart, you have some good ideas there.

I knew something was going on here.....

4:39 PM

 
Blogger Joy said...

Is it totally hijacking to respond to dougie??

Doug, you said,

"If you are depressed for no apparant reason, the blame is on God then, since he made you that way. When you do the math that way, and get that answer, that should utterly frighten you down to the core. Adam said the same thing!"

So, if I use that logic and say, if you are born lame or mentally challenged for no apparent reason, then blame God, since he made you that way... How about including the fall in your equation... Your math doesn't work because you haven't used all the numbers!!

You also said,

"Sin = Depression. Isn't that what Jesus died for? To save us from sin now and lead us to eternal life later?"

I thought sin was seperation from God... anything in us that is not perfect, which includes arrogance and pride. He died for those inadequecies in us also!! Yet we still struggle with these defects in our personhood. Is this because God made us defective? No, it is because we were born after the fall... we were born IN sin!

You also said,

"This statement is over the top though: "- I think it's 'bad' theology to say that a particular affliction or illness was brought on by sin in their life...""

I will conceed on this point because I agree that all afflictions and illness is brought on because of the fallen, sin-filled world we live in.

I will not continue to comment on the rest of your posts, because they are so filled with erroneous, formulaic doctrine.

I would like to point out to you that, from my perspective... and maybe you should read his posts again... Darren is writing as a way of sharing his pain with others and to see his way out of it. I don't believe he WANTS to stay depressed. He just realizes that that is where he is, and he is trying to find his way back into the gentle showers of God's love.

Up to this point I have not commented on your character. Only on the words you have written. However, my next words may cross that line. (Forgive me, I tend to be snarky and sarcastic.)

One piece of advice to ya dougie... don't go into suicide counseling!!

And my prayer for you continues to be that you to never have to suffer the reality of depression to be humbled.

7:44 AM

 
Blogger Joy said...

Just an addendum...

David journaled his depression. Sometimes it was because of his sin. Sometimes it was because he felt the weight of the world on him. Sometimes it was because he was being attacked by spiritual and physical enemies. We call his journal The Psalms!

8:37 AM

 

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