This is part 4 of an ongoing look at David Murray’s book on depression. This valuable resource is entitled, Christians Get Depressed Too. In the first chapter, titled “The Crisis”, Murray gives eight important reasons why we should be investigating the complex issue of Depression. Today we will look at two more of the reasons Murray lists. Below are the first three posts in the series:
We should strive to study Depression because it may be prevented or mitigated:
When looking at Depression from strictly a genetic vantage point, we see two very general categories:
- Many people have a genetic predisposition to depression, perhaps traceable to their parent’s genes, which increases the likelihood of suffering it themselves
- Others, with no genetic predisposition to depression, can fall into it, often as a reaction to traumatic life events
Why is this important? Because as counselors we cannot adopt a “one size fits all” mentality in advising our counselees. If we ignore the trauma in the person’s life and treat their depression as genetic, then we do them a great disservice. If we treat the genetic predisposed counselee as if some trauma had happened in their life, we fight a losing battle. This is why compassionate questioning and diagnosing is so important from the counselors standpoint.
I like this quote from Murray:
An additional benefit of having some knowledge about depression is that it will prevent the dangerous and damaging misunderstanding that often leads people, especially Christians, to view medication as a rejection of God and His grace rather than a provision of God and His grace.
We should strive to study Depression because it will open doors of usefulness:
No pastor, counselor, or church leader should refuse to look deeply into this complex issue of Depression. One reason is because an increased understanding of Depression will make us more sympathetic and useful to people suffering from it. The writer of Proverbs has this to say about being sensitive in our interaction with those who are suffering:
Prov.25:20 – Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart. (NAS)
Here in Indiana we have freezing winters. The wind-chill drops to below zero readings. Can you imagine losing your coat on such occasion? The writer of Proverbs says that someone who takes a care-free and jovial approach to those who are suffering is doing something that damaging to the sufferer. Superficial humor and insensitive exhortations to “cheer up” are cruel, heartless, and could easily lead to death.
So what is a friend of the depressed to do?
…the general rule is that those who listen most and speak least will be the most useful to sufferers. ~David Murray, p.6
Cracking jokes and careless comments do not minister well to those who are suffering from Depression. The conclusions from both of these reasons for studying Depression more is this: A compassionate counselor will become intimately acquainted with the sufferer, taking time to know their case specifically. He will listen well, speak wisely and concisely, refusing to take an inconsiderate approach to handling the sufferers depression. All of us can grow in these areas.
Chance to Interact: Can you think of other Proverbs that are useful in the handling of someone who is suffering?