As I continue slowly going through David Murray’s “Christians Get Depressed Too” resource on depression, I have come across a timely quote from Charles Spurgeon. We have seen the eight reasons why we need to instruct ourselves in this area of depression, and tomorrow we will continue to look into it’s complexity. Today we should be reminded of how we interact with those suffering with depression:
It is all very well for those who are in robust health and full of spirits to blame those whose lives are sicklied or covered with the pale cast of melancholy, but the [malady] is as real as a gaping wound, and all the more hard to bear because it lies so much in the region of the soul that to the inexperienced it appears to be a mere matter of fancy and diseased imagination. Reader, never ridicule the nervous and hypochondrichal, their pain is real; though much of the [malady] lies in the imagination [thought-processes] it is not imaginery.
~The Treasury of David, 3 vols.(Newark, Del: Cornerstone, 1869), 2.132
What Spurgeon is basically saying is stop with the “it’s all in your mind” type of counsel. When we counsel someone suffering we often are dealing with confrontation or comfort-giving. The depressed individual needs comforted in their suffering, not rebuked. Now, I know that there are some nouthetic counselors that just started foaming at the mouth with my last statement. We will look at spiritual issues of depression, especially where sin may be causing depression. Let it be enough to say that we recognize the pain of our counselee and seek to comfort them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.