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7 Things NOT to Say to a Depressed Christian


Handling a Depressed Christian

As many of you know, I’ve been depressed for almost five years now. I had a major break in March of 2010. It came out of nowhere and has been a frequent uninvited guest in my home ever since.

I won’t go into it now, but almost seven weeks ago I came out of the depression. I think I know the triggers. But I often tell people not to get too excited. I can never be sure which “me” is going to wake up tomorrow. Will it be joyful me? (who I love) He’s the one who sees life positively and has no time for worry (too busy serving God)? Or will it be broken me (who I hate)? He can’t dwell on anything but the bad and sees no hope in life (and doesn’t even act like there’s a God)? 7 Things NOT to Say to a Depressed Christian But while I have my thoughts straight, I’ve been able to dwell on so many positive things. One of these is the subject of this post. I’ve accumulated a list of seven things depressed people (Christian’s especially) are told. They’re meant to help them out of their depression. I’ve even had these things said to me. But these things are wrong.

Please Note: None of these things necessarily come from evil intentions. These come from people who sincerely want you to recover. However, they do come from the evil flesh that dwells in all of us: judgmenalism. I hope this becomes clear as you read.

Further Reading: Dealing With My Depression #1: Muffling Its Voice

“Just Snap Out of It”

I don’t know how many times I said this to my depressed sister before she took her life. “Just snap out of it, Angie.” From my perspective, I thought you could. I thought that being depressed or happy was an act of the will. If you just make the right decision, you can think your way out of it. But more often than not, depression is not an act of the will. It is an interplay between the mind and the brain that you can’t snap out of. Don’t you think that people who are depressed would “Just snap out of it” if it were that easy? Remember, they don’t want to be depressed. It is the worst torture that one can possibly imagine.

“Think Positively”

Again, this might seem right. Please realize that most of the time a depressed person can’t think positively. That’s why they’re depressed. If I were to tell you there’s a giant elephant in your room, would you believe me? What if I said that all you have to do is close your eyes and trust it to be true? You’d probably say, “I can’t!”Telling someone who’s depressed to “think positively” completely misses the problem. They can’t think positively any more than you can believe there’s an elephant in the room. They don’t want to think negatively. They just can’t stop.

Further Reading: Depression – When We Want to Die

“Confess Your Sins”

Trying to find a sin trigger in the life of the depressed is a hard proposition. There may be some evident sin in their lives that they need to deal with, but consider this:

1) Everyone Sins But Not Everyone’s Depressed There is evil in everyone. According to Martin Luther we’re all, simul justus et peccator which is Latin for “at the same time just and sinners.” Additionally, according to the Gospel of John we have to admit to sin in our lives:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8 (ESV)

All to often a lengthy (and often judgmental) assessment of every sin the depressed person has takes place. Once they’re identified they’ll try to get rid of them one by one. This is both impossible and can cause deeper depression. The depressed may believe you and think getting rid of all these sins is the answer. When they realize that this cannot happen this side of heaven, the depression deepens.

2) They Can’t Change the Past Sometimes the sins that led to depression are from a years of lifestyle choices. They build up over the years. It’s usually the little ones that end up getting us. However, bringing this to the conversation with the depressed does little good. They can’t back up and change their choices. If they could, they would.

3) They Already Know They’re Sinners The depressed person likely knows if it’s sin that’s causing their depression. If it’s alcohol, drugs, etc. bringing this up early will only harden the person. It will make them defensive. If sin is causing the depression (and that’s a big “if”) tact and prudence should be used in abundance. This will allow them to recognize their sin without becoming defensive.

“Get On Some Meds Immediately!”

I am no Tom Cruise. I believe that psychiatric medications are often the answer and are a gift of God. I believe that there are many out there who are not taking due to a taboo or stigma attached to them that should be. However, the use of mind altering drugs also needs to be considered very deeply. I also think that they are prescribed too easily without a plan of attack.

Briefly, I believe that some people need to go through the darkness without an immediate way out. Many of the Psalms might not have been written had these drugs been available to David. His ups and downs would have been leveled by a script from the doctor. But we needed David to go through his mental bipolar disorder (if that is what it was). The same might be said of Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation. He definitely needed to be on something! However, God used his mental anxiety for great things.

Book Suggestion: Genius, Grief, & Grace: A Doctor Looks at Suffering & Success (Biography of great saints of the past who suffered greatly, but were used greatly.

For some people—as hard as it is to hear—God wants you to go through this darkness. But this is not for everyone. These drugs are a blessing of God when used properly. For some, they can get you over the “hill” of darkness and are only needed for a short time. For others, they are needed permanently for the stability of the mind.

All I am doing is asking you to consider that the depressed person may be a David or a Luther to the church. Don’t immediately demand that they get on these drugs.

“I’ve Been Through Worse”

I had a relative say this to me with absolute resolve and conviction in her voice. She said, “Michael, whatever you have gone through, I have been though worse! So don’t try to give me your sob story.” She meant well, but this is not something to say to a depressed person. It may be true that you have been through worse and been able to get out of it. What you mat not know is that this is meaningless to the depressed for two reasons:

  1. Once you’re in the black hole of depression, the hole itself is the worst thing you’ve gone through. The tragic events that might have brought you there often pale in comparison.
  2. Suffering is relative. There are always going to be people who have it worse than you. This isn’t the issue. It’s how you perceive and internalize your suffering relative to who you were before. For some, the loss of a job can make them suicidal. For others (who live in harsher climates of society) even the loss of a child is expected and absorbed with less depression.

So depression is a very relative thing. Letting people know that you’ve been through worse—while it might be objectively true—can be both unwise and irresponsible. It will only harden the person in their depression.

“God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle”

This is in my top ten things of what the Bible does not say that Christians often quote as Scripture. There is nowhere in the Bible that says God will not give us more than we can handle. It does say that he will in temptation provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). But never does it say that God will not give us more pain and suffering than we can handle.

Many Christians have suffered to the point of death at the hands of executors. Many suffer to the point of death at their own hands. All we can say is that, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18). This may not solve our depression, but it does give us perspective. Even if our depression has caused us enormous doubt this can be helpful.

“Depression Is a Sin. You Should Have Joy In Your Life”

This always comes from the person who has never experienced real depression. Once you have, you would never say something like this again. Unfortunately, this often comes from those who feel that it’s their job to deliver us from this evil. But is depression a sin? I don’t think so.

Matthew 5:4 says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This mourning should not be thought of as some temporary bout with suffering. It’s not purely circumstantial (like mourning for the death of a loved one). The Greek word for mourn (pentheo) is a present active participle. It is actually the best word to use for “sadness” or “depression.” Christ is saying that those that are always (present, active) sad and down, will be comforted. The comfort, in the context, does not come in this life, but in the life to come.So far from being a sin, depression is often going to be the progressive state of the “blessed.”

How You Bear the Burdens of the Depressed

So, if these are the things you don’t do, what do you do? If you have a loved one who’s depressed, it is hard to handle. It can cause depression in you if you are not careful. All you want to do is solve it. Please understand, it’s not your job to solve the depression. You may be able to be a great influence in getting the depressed to feel better, but God has not given you the responsibility to deliver a loved one from depression. Let yourself off the hook. Don’t make yourself responsible for something you cannot do. Though you may be used by Him to bring the depressed to wholeness, you are not the Holy Spirit.

Most of what you “say” will only cause more depression, as shown above. This was the mistake of Job’s friends. They stayed silent for seven days (Job 2:13). They should have stayed silent for good. After seven days they couldn’t take it any more and made all the mistakes we’ve looked at.

Silence, with your arm around the depressed is the best advice. There may be a time for verbal inquiry, but this needs to come naturally and without judgement. You’re not given a podium to preach to the depressed; you’re given arms to hold them. Even if this doesn’t “work” your goal should not be to bring them out of their depression. Your goal should be to be there for them their entire life if necessary. It is a terrible burden to bear when this is a loved one, I know. But this is how we bear the burdens of the depressed.

“Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.” – Margaret Runbeck

When someone is there for you without all the answers and requiring you to follow their advice “or else…”, you have a true friend. And, unfortunately, these friends have been rare from the beginning of time.

Purchase on Amazon: Now That I’m A Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus

80 Responses to “7 Things NOT to Say to a Depressed Christian
”

  1. Not all anxiety has a positive facet, waiting to become a David or Martin Luther. Some of it is just plain destructive. If you think yours does, great.

    • John, I neither said nor implied that all anxiety has a positive facet. Mourning is always a result of the fall. The redemption of mourning will come in the new earth. I hope the article does not imply what you seem to have taken from it.

  2. First of all, I’m delighted if you’ve shaken your depression off. It’ll take six months or so to be sure but it’s a good sign so far. As a pharmacist I don’t think medicines are used too often, but they’re often used in the wrong way. They can repair the way the brain works, but they’re not enough on their own. There are a lot of other therapies that may need to be brought to bear.

    I wanted to reflect on one thing you said. We had a minister who had to retire due to ill health. He said in his farewell sermon that every Christian is likely to come to the end of their path feeling a failure, because you never feel you’ve done enough for God. If you convert ten people it should have been 20; if you convert a thousand it should have been 2000. That’s the wrong way to look at it, he said. God uses what you can do. We supply a few pieces for a big jigsaw. If you try to supply the whole jigsaw, you run yourself into the ground and you’ll still feel you didn’t do enough. His worry was that Christians are particularly prone to giving themselves too much to do. They’re bad at saying no. They always try to find time for others. When I had my own bout with depression my wife took over, rang people, called off meetings, resigned me from committees and explained that I needed to be free of that for a while. It worked, and I’m always grateful to her for taking charge. It’s never come back.

    So it’s great that you’ve recovered, but you serve God by results, not activity. Being busy for God is not a virtue in itself. Learn to say a gentle no now and again.

    One of the hard things for a preacher to learn is that you may never know what difference you’ve made to your hearers. Some of them just put their coats on and go home, and you’ll never know you changed their hearts. I’m one of those. I’ve enjoyed reading and hearing what you’ve had to say, and I’ve benefited from that, but I’ve never told you, until now. I should have done, because we all need encouragement, in good times but perhaps especially in bad.

  3. Modern Christianity can’t seem to come to grips with the problem of evil or the reality of a broken world. I know a pastor who had a life in which he suffered one catastrophe after the next. He had to rationalize that these were somehow blessings from God in disguise. While I would certainly describe him as entirely orthodox, he de facto constructed his theology as a defense of God’s character in light of what he had suffered.

    At the end of the day, in times of seeing their brother suffering, Christians seems to have two basic responses: unlimited Facebook style validation, or in effect denouncing the sufferer as a sinner. I would classify most of your items as examples of the latter.

    I might add one other tweet to your list: I’m not aware of anyplace in the Bible where God calls on us to deny reality, including the reality of suffering. That’s why it sells us to “weep with those who weep” not tell them that they just don’t understand the hope of the gospel or some such. It’s sad that in some cases there’s pressure to, in effect, put on a false front to the deny the truth of our own experience.

    And when’s the last time you heard a sermon on Jeremiah 30? “Thus sayeth the LORD: I have heard a sound of terror, of dread and there is no peace. Ask now and see if a male can give birth. Why then do I see all the men with their hands on their loins like a woman in childbirth? And why have all the faces turned pale? Alas, for that day is great. There is none like it. It is the time Jacob’s distress.” Later: “I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the punishment of a cruel one.”

    And Job, the most godly man in the world, still couldn’t get a handle on his own suffering. Until it hits us personally, most of us have a very facile view of suffering.

    I will offer one practical piece of information that’s not well known re:depression. Depression can be caused by a mineral deficiency. In particular, magnesium deficiency can cause depression. Taking 400mg of magnesium citrate for 30 days to see what it does (there’s no guarantee) isn’t taking drugs and I think has very different implications. It’s an over the counter dietary supplement and is more like taking Vitamin C to ward off scurvy. (Some studies report similar results with NAC and bipolar disorder). The mineral deficiency angle is not well known, but I can all but guarantee you it’s real in some (though certainly not all or even a majority) of cases. Magnesium deficiency is also implicated in restless leg syndrome.

  4. A friend of mine was recently told “God is using this to build your character,” in response to the depression she’s having in light of several major setbacks.

  5. Jesus came to destroy the works of satan. Depession is an attack fron satan nothing less. No point giving satan a hiding place behind mineral deficiency. Its a lack of understanding what has been paid for. Its all been paid forat the wipping post. Look up the word saved. Why has all the theologins missed the depth of this one word. So misrepresented in Christianity today. You dont need a quite friend you need a friend who understands who he is in Christ. And what dwells in us. The same Christ raising Spirit, lives in the believer. The fullness of the Godhead lives in the believer. These signs will follow those who believe. Are these signs following you guys? If not something is wrong? Believers will lay hands on the sick and they will be healed. Thats a fact. Only if you believe it. Do these signs follow you guys? I folloed theoigy and the traditions of man for 21 years never saw sickness move through prayer. I am now sure of who I am in Christ and saw more sickness go when it was told than I ever saw by begging God to move.
    When you know hwo you are in Christ. You dont ask God to move you tell sickness and the works of satan to move.

    • Davy, I am one who has believed and lived in the blessings of the infilling and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have been used of God to cast out demons and bring His healings to various individuals. I also have served the Lord long enough to have worked through a number of theological puzzles. I won’t say that I know or understand it all. In fact, I think the more I do understand, the more I realize how little I understand about God, His ways, and issues of practical theology.
      I have also dealt with individuals where there was no healing – both those tormented in mind (as in depression) and in body.
      There some things which you have said which concern me. First, you glorify Satan and give him more credit than Scripture gives. Let me explain before you tune me out. It is true that Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. HOWEVER, not all evil and its effects have anything to do with Satan – and Jesus came to destroy other things than merely the works of Satan. Some of these are: (1) the sinful nature which we are born with. Do you realize that if God destroyed Satan and his demons right now, that sin and sinful acts would continue. They may be lessened somewhat but they would continue. The Bible teaches the utter corruption and complete depravity of the heart of man. I have become convinced in my 40,000+ hours of Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation – and my almost 60 years of studying human beings, that the power of sin within us is so powerful that if ANYONE was put into the right circumstances we ALL have the potential to be a Hitler or serial murderer. Satan is a created being, as are his demons. Hence they are limited to being in one place at any time. I’m also convinced that the majority of sin in this world is not originated with Satan but with human beings.
      (2) Christ also came to deliver us from personal sin and the sinful nature (also called in the Bible, the flesh, the carnal nature, or the old man. He often works this out in this life by us “putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Christ.” Our ultimate deliverance from this evil which is so much a part of who we are will be in eternity. The Bible teaches that our salvation takes place in three stages – first, we are born again (often accompanied by immediate deliverances from certain sins which have ruled our lives); second, we are to work out our salvation daily in this life; and third we will come into the full consummation of our salvation when we are given our glorified bodies which will never know any touch of sin upon them.
      (3) Christ also destroys and delivers us from the effects of sin and God’s wrath and judgment upon it. This is tied in with my third point in the previous paragraph.
      (4) Also tied in with these last two points is that He, in His resurrection, will deliver us from the second death. In this, He destroys death and the grave.
      (5) The effects of sin ultimately come not from Satan, but from the curse which God enacted upon mankind and this world as a result of man’s original sin in Eden. God, Himself, pronounced these judgments or curses – not Satan. Now, I do believe because God gave man dominion over this world and when man submitted himself to Satan’s deception, that Satan gained rightful sub-rule of this world – as Christ said, Satan is the prince of this world – BUT Christ is the ultimate ruler over it. As prince of this world, Satan uses his power and influence to enhance and use the curse of sin for his purposes. There are some diseases, and other effects of sin which Satan is responsible for. However, there are some which merely are a result of living in a sinful world. There are other effects of sin which sinful people bring upon themselves (like the person who abuses alcohol or drugs, or the person who overeats and dies young, or the drunk who drives and kills a family and maims himself in a car accident).
      So, there are many other things Christ died to destroy besides Satan, his demons, and their works.
      Also, I’ve shown above that ALL of the blessings of our salvation are NOT to be experienced in this life but will be ours in eternity. It is true that God gives us a certain measure in this life of what Christ’s finished work has wrought for us. The full measure of it, however, cannot and will not be ours until eternity. So, while you may have thought you knew what the Word taught about being saved, your study of Scripture was not as thorough as you expressed in your comments. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that much of what you said was taught or preached to you by another – without you having done diligent study of the Scriptures yourself. We all should strive to be as the Berean believers, who thoroughly studied the Scriptures for themselves to make certain that what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was actually what the Scriptures did teach.
      Incidentally, your implication that EVERY person can be healed in this life, not only contradicts what the Scriptures teach, but also the practical examples that it reveals: Paul, the Apostle, likely one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, had a thorn in the flesh (i.e. some physical ailment), which by the way, was attributable to Satan. Paul (who’d healed hundreds – perhaps even thousands – and had cast out many demons) prayed about it until God answered and told him that this infirmity would not depart from him in this life. Rather, it was to keep him humble and cause him to rely upon God to make His power known through this weakness in his fleshly body. Timothy, one thoroughly discipled by Paul had stomach problems of some kind. Did the great apostle tell Timothy he just needed to pray more of believe more? NO! He told him to take some wine (often used as medicine at that time) to help ease his stomach ailment.
      There is another area of great concern – partly because I used to have the same type of approach to people who didn’t seem to have “victory” over the sin/sickness issues in their lives. That has to do with your “knowledge.” I’ve already shown that it wasn’t complete as the Scriptures reveal, but there is another concern. One of your primary premises is that these “illnesses” would be dealt with if only we would have a certain “knowledge” of who we are in Christ. I strongly urge you to consider well the teaching of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I . . . understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
      Do you see that the greatest commandment given to us as Christians is LOVE? First to love God with all we are and all we have, and secondly, to love our neighbour as oneself. To refine that second love we are to have, Scripture commands us to love our Christian brothers and sisters. If we condemn a struggling brother or sister in Christ with what we consider to be our “superior knowledge,” then we are puffed up (a term for “pride” or a “swelled head”). However, if our love trumps our “knowledge,” then we can build up or edify others. Even if ALL our knowledge lines up correctly with ALL Scripture, that same Scripture tells us that it profits nothing and we are nothing if the love of Christ is not the foundation and THE THING WHICH SHINES THROUGH OUR LIVES!
      After all God did not send Christ to die because He wanted us to get more knowledge. He sent Him to die because He so LOVED the world, which was lost and dying and condemned already.
      My sister who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a child/teenager and was much used by God to minister to others throughout the rest of her life, suffered with a mental illness for almost 40 years before she died last April. Many of the things you have expressed in your comments and which the Michael wrote against in the article – I DID – to my shame. None of it helped. In fact, I’m sure there were times, in trying to help, I made her suffering worse.
      The Lord had me get quite involved in her life for the last 4 years before she died – and especially in the last 5 weeks she lived (her death was sudden and unexpected, but the Lord knew). I preached at her funeral and told of what the Lord taught me in those last five weeks I had with her.
      As I was preparing the message, the Lord brought me to a Scripture, which culminated what He had been working in my heart during those five weeks. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” You and many in Christ may be “strong-minded” and have no struggles with mental issues – but others do. They are “feebleminded.” Does Scripture say to “Get them to understand who they are in Christ?” NO! It says that we are to comfort them. We are to support those who are weaker than we are. So, when you say, “You don’t need a quiet friend . . .” you are speaking against Scripture and you do not understand how to comfort a person. Many times one who is suffering does just need a shoulder to cry on. On Feb. 1st of this year, my favourite nephew (age 29) died tragically, leaving behind two young daughters. My heart broke and I grieved at the front of the church as I came to view his body for one last time. I sat down in the front row and wept uncontrollably, A person I barely knew came and put her arm around me and wept with me – THAT WAS COMFORT! And it was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment (by the way, the Greek word translated “comfort” means to “come along side and console”). The last part of that verse tells us that we are to have patience with all men. Believe me, anyone who was around my sister much, when she was at her worst, HAD TO HAVE lots of patience.
      As the Holy Spirit showed me the truth of this verse, He also spoke to my heart something else. He said that He had people in circumstances like this (and other mentally or physically handicapped people) because they were there to teach His people to really love those who were more difficult for us to love. He used these people so that we could grow in and learn to show mercy and grace and patience and other Christ-like traits. After all – consider yourself. God could have struck you dead before He graciously, mercifully, patiently, and lovingly brought you to salvation in Him. He choose rather to show you those characteristics to deliver you from His judgment, which His holiness, righteousness, and justice DEMANDED by meted out upon you. If God has shown these things toward us who deserved His judgment and wrath, then how much more should we show these things to others – EVEN MORE IMPORTANT – we should not just act this way, but these things the Holy Spirit desires to conform us to (Christlikeness) so these become automatic responses in how we live our lives.
      May the God our Father richly bless you, as the Holy Spirit brings you into greater understanding – AND LIVING – these things which Christ also died to give us.
      Your brother in Christ,
      Wayne

      • Anen!!! Will you pray for my 17 yr old son…..He has been sooo depressed over the last year….acl repair surgery x2, still not better. Doesn’t have a lot of friends. Freshman commuting to a local college. My husband and I believe like you….I read your post. Pray for my husband and I to respond with love. I told my son all I knew to do since he gets very angry when u ask him to talk with
        someone was to pray for him. I told him I would never give up on him and I had to rely on the fact I knew he is a child of God. I then asked him what if you were not a child oh God Joshua? To which he responded he would be Dead!! :(. I’m calling his university to check their mental health services, pray Joshua will be receptive??? He gets awesome grades and has always been a model child. He feels he is a failure :)

    • Davy February 24, 2015 at 9:56 am
      Jesus came to destroy the works of satan. Depession is an attack fron satan nothing less. No point giving satan a hiding place behind mineral deficiency. Its a lack of understanding what has been paid for. Its all been paid forat the wipping post. Look up the word saved. Why has all the theologins missed the depth of this one word. So misrepresented in Christianity today. You dont need a quite friend you need a friend who understands who he is in Christ. And what dwells in us. The same Christ raising Spirit, lives in the believer. The fullness of the Godhead lives in the believer. These signs will follow those who believe. Are these signs following you guys? If not something is wrong? Believers will lay hands on the sick and they will be healed. Thats a fact. Only if you believe it. Do these signs follow you guys? I folloed theoigy and the traditions of man for 21 years never saw sickness move through prayer. I am now sure of who I am in Christ and saw more sickness go when it was told than I ever saw by begging God to move.
      When you know hwo you are in Christ. You dont ask God to move you tell sickness and the works of satan to move.

      Davy, I am one who has believed and lived in the blessings of the infilling and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have been used of God to cast out demons and bring His healings to various individuals. I also have served the Lord long enough to have worked through a number of theological puzzles. I won’t say that I know or understand it all. In fact, I think the more I do understand, the more I realize how little I understand about God, His ways, and issues of practical theology.
      I have also dealt with individuals where there was no healing – both those tormented in mind (as in depression) and in body.
      There some things which you have said which concern me. First, you glorify Satan and give him more credit than Scripture gives. Let me explain before you tune me out. It is true that Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. HOWEVER, not all evil and its effects have anything to do with Satan – and Jesus came to destroy other things than merely the works of Satan. Some of these are: (1) the sinful nature which we are born with. Do you realize that if God destroyed Satan and his demons right now, that sin and sinful acts would continue. They may be lessened somewhat but they would continue. The Bible teaches the utter corruption and complete depravity of the heart of man. I have become convinced in my 40,000+ hours of Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation – and my almost 60 years of studying human beings, that the power of sin within us is so powerful that if ANYONE was put into the right circumstances we ALL have the potential to be a Hitler or serial murderer. Satan is a created being, as are his demons. Hence they are limited to being in one place at any time. I’m also convinced that the majority of sin in this world is not originated with Satan but with human beings.
      (2) Christ also came to deliver us from personal sin and the sinful nature (also called in the Bible, the flesh, the carnal nature, or the old man. He often works this out in this life by us “putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Christ.” Our ultimate deliverance from this evil which is so much a part of who we are will be in eternity. The Bible teaches that our salvation takes place in three stages – first, we are born again (often accompanied by immediate deliverances from certain sins which have ruled our lives); second, we are to work out our salvation daily in this life; and third we will come into the full consummation of our salvation when we are given our glorified bodies which will never know any touch of sin upon them.
      (3) Christ also destroys and delivers us from the effects of sin and God’s wrath and judgment upon it. This is tied in with my third point in the previous paragraph.
      (4) Also tied in with these last two points is that He, in His resurrection, will deliver us from the second death. In this, He destroys death and the grave.
      (5) The effects of sin ultimately come not from Satan, but from the curse which God enacted upon mankind and this world as a result of man’s original sin in Eden. God, Himself, pronounced these judgments or curses – not Satan. Now, I do believe because God gave man dominion over this world and when man submitted himself to Satan’s deception, that Satan gained rightful sub-rule of this world – as Christ said, Satan is the prince of this world – But Christ is the ultimate ruler over it. As prince of this world, Satan uses his power and influence to enhance and use the curse of sin for his purposes. There are some diseases, and other effects of sin which Satan is responsible for. However, there are some which merely are a result of living in a sinful world. There are other effects of sin which sinful people bring upon themselves (like the person who abuses alcohol or drugs, or the person who overeats and dies young, or the drunk who drives and kills a family and maims himself in a car accident).

      So, there are many other things Christ died to destroy besides Satan, his demons, and their works.
      Also, I’ve shown above that ALL of the blessings of our salvation are NOT to be experienced in this life but will be ours in eternity. It is true that God gives us a certain measure in this life of what Christ’s finished work has wrought for us. The full measure of it, however, cannot and will not be ours until eternity. So, while you may have thought you knew what the Word taught about being saved, your study of Scripture was not as thorough as you expressed in your comments. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that much of what you said was taught or preached to you by another – without you having done diligent study of the Scriptures yourself. We all should strive to be as the Berean believers, who thoroughly studied the Scriptures for themselves to make certain that what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was actually what the Scriptures did teach.
      Incidentally, your implication that EVERY person can be healed in this life, not only contradicts what the Scriptures teach, but also the practical examples that it reveals: Paul, the Apostle, likely one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, had a thorn in the flesh (i.e. some physical ailment), which by the way, was attributable to Satan. Paul (who’d healed hundreds – perhaps even thousands – and had cast out many demons) prayed about it until God answered and told him that this infirmity would not depart from him in this life. Rather, it was to keep him humble and cause him to rely upon God to make His power known through this weakness in his fleshly body. Timothy, one thoroughly discipled by Paul had stomach problems of some kind. Did the great apostle tell Timothy he just needed to pray more of believe more? NO! He told him to take some wine (often used as medicine at that time) to help ease his stomach ailment.
      There is another area of great concern – partly because I used to have the same type of approach to people who didn’t seem to have “victory” over the sin/sickness issues in their lives. That has to do with your “knowledge.” I’ve already shown that it wasn’t complete as the Scriptures reveal, but there is another concern. One of your primary premises is that these “illnesses” would be dealt with if only we would have a certain “knowledge” of who we are in Christ. I strongly urge you to consider well the teaching of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I . . . understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
      Do you see that the greatest commandment given to us as Christians is LOVE? First to love God with all we are and all we have, and secondly, to love our neighbour as oneself. To refine that second love we are to have, Scripture commands us to love our Christian brothers and sisters. If we condemn a struggling brother or sister in Christ with what we consider to be our “superior knowledge,” then we are puffed up (a term for “pride” or a “swelled head”). However, if our love trumps our “knowledge,” then we can build up or edify others. Even if ALL our knowledge lines up correctly with ALL Scripture, that same Scripture tells us that it profits nothing and we are nothing if the love of Christ is not the foundation and THE THING WHICH SHINES THROUGH OUR LIVES!
      After all God did not send Christ to die because He wanted us to get more knowledge. He sent Him to die because He so LOVED the world, which was lost and dying and condemned already.
      My sister who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a child/teenager and was much used by God to minister to others throughout the rest of her life, suffered with a mental illness for almost 40 years before she died last April. Many of the things you have expressed in your comments and which the Michael wrote against in the article – I DID – to my shame. None of it helped. In fact, I’m sure there were times, in trying to help, I made her suffering worse.
      The Lord had me get quite involved in her life for the last 4 years before she died – and especially in the last 5 weeks she lived (her death was sudden and unexpected, but the Lord knew). I preached at her funeral and told of what the Lord taught me in those last five weeks I had with her.
      As I was preparing the message, the Lord brought me to a Scripture, which culminated what He had been working in my heart during those five weeks. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” You and many in Christ may be “strong-minded” and have no struggles with mental issues – but others do. They are “feebleminded.” Does Scripture say to “Get them to understand who they are in Christ?” NO! It says that we are to comfort them. We are to support those who are weaker than we are. So, when you say, “You don’t need a quiet friend . . .” you are speaking against Scripture and you do not understand how to comfort a person. Many times one who is suffering does just need a shoulder to cry on. On Feb. 1st of this year, my favourite nephew (age 29) died tragically, leaving behind two young daughters. My heart broke and I grieved at the front of the church as I came to view his body for one last time. I sat down in the front row and wept uncontrollably, A person I barely knew came and put her arm around me and wept with me – THAT WAS COMFORT! And it was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment (by the way, the Greek word translated “comfort” means to “come along side and console”). The last part of that verse tells us that we are to have patience with all men. Believe me, anyone who was around my sister much, when she was at her worst, HAD TO HAVE lots of patience.
      As the Holy Spirit showed me the truth of this verse, He also spoke to my heart something else. He said that He had people in circumstances like this (and other mentally or physically handicapped people) because they were there to teach His people to really love those who were more difficult for us to love. He used these people so that we could grow in and learn to show mercy and grace and patience and other Christ-like traits. After all – consider yourself. God could have struck you dead before He graciously, mercifully, patiently, and lovingly brought you to salvation in Him. He choose rather to show you those characteristics to deliver you from His judgment, which His holiness, righteousness, and justice DEMANDED by meted out upon you. If God has shown these things toward us who deserved His judgment and wrath, then how much more should we show these things to others – EVEN MORE IMPORTANT – we should not just act this way, but these things the Holy Spirit desires to conform us to (Christlikeness) so these become automatic responses in how we live our lives.
      May the God our Father richly bless you, as the Holy Spirit brings you into greater understanding – AND LIVING – these things which Christ also died to give us.
      Your brother in Christ,
      Wayne

    • Davy, I am one who has believed and lived in the blessings of the infilling and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have been used of God to cast out demons and bring His healings to various individuals. I also have served the Lord long enough to have worked through a number of theological puzzles. I won’t say that I know or understand it all. In fact, I think the more I do understand, the more I realize how little I understand about God, His ways, and issues of practical theology.
      I have also dealt with individuals where there was no healing – both those tormented in mind (as in depression) and in body.
      There some things which you have said which concern me. First, you glorify Satan and give him more credit than Scripture gives. Let me explain before you tune me out. It is true that Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. HOWEVER, not all evil and its effects have anything to do with Satan – and Jesus came to destroy other things than merely the works of Satan. Some of these are: (1) the sinful nature which we are born with. Do you realize that if God destroyed Satan and his demons right now, that sin and sinful acts would continue. They may be lessened somewhat but they would continue. The Bible teaches the utter corruption and complete depravity of the heart of man. I have become convinced in my 40,000+ hours of Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation – and my almost 60 years of studying human beings, that the power of sin within us is so powerful that if ANYONE was put into the right circumstances we ALL have the potential to be a Hitler or serial murderer. Satan is a created being, as are his demons. Hence they are limited to being in one place at any time. I’m also convinced that the majority of sin in this world is not originated with Satan but with human beings.
      (2) Christ also came to deliver us from personal sin and the sinful nature (also called in the Bible, the flesh, the carnal nature, or the old man. He often works this out in this life by us “putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Christ.” Our ultimate deliverance from this evil which is so much a part of who we are will be in eternity. The Bible teaches that our salvation takes place in three stages – first, we are born again (often accompanied by immediate deliverances from certain sins which have ruled our lives); second, we are to work out our salvation daily in this life; and third we will come into the full consummation of our salvation when we are given our glorified bodies which will never know any touch of sin upon them.
      (3) Christ also destroys and delivers us from the effects of sin and God’s wrath and judgment upon it. This is tied in with my third point in the previous paragraph.
      (4) Also tied in with these last two points is that He, in His resurrection, will deliver us from the second death. In this, He destroys death and the grave.
      (5) The effects of sin ultimately come not from Satan, but from the curse which God enacted upon mankind and this world as a result of man’s original sin in Eden. God, Himself, pronounced these judgments or curses – not Satan. Now, I do believe because God gave man dominion over this world and when man submitted himself to Satan’s deception, that Satan gained rightful sub-rule of this world – as Christ said, Satan is the prince of this world – But Christ is the ultimate ruler over it. As prince of this world, Satan uses his power and influence to enhance and use the curse of sin for his purposes. There are some diseases, and other effects of sin which Satan is responsible for. However, there are some which merely are a result of living in a sinful world. There are other effects of sin which sinful people bring upon themselves (like the person who abuses alcohol or drugs, or the person who overeats and dies young, or the drunk who drives and kills a family and maims himself in a car accident).

      So, there are many other things Christ died to destroy besides Satan, his demons, and their works.
      Also, I’ve shown above that ALL of the blessings of our salvation are NOT to be experienced in this life but will be ours in eternity. It is true that God gives us a certain measure in this life of what Christ’s finished work has wrought for us. The full measure of it, however, cannot and will not be ours until eternity. So, while you may have thought you knew what the Word taught about being saved, your study of Scripture was not as thorough as you expressed in your comments. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that much of what you said was taught or preached to you by another – without you having done diligent study of the Scriptures yourself. We all should strive to be as the Berean believers, who thoroughly studied the Scriptures for themselves to make certain that what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was actually what the Scriptures did teach.
      Incidentally, your implication that EVERY person can be healed in this life, not only contradicts what the Scriptures teach, but also the practical examples that it reveals: Paul, the Apostle, likely one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, had a thorn in the flesh (i.e. some physical ailment), which by the way, was attributable to Satan. Paul (who’d healed hundreds – perhaps even thousands – and had cast out many demons) prayed about it until God answered and told him that this infirmity would not depart from him in this life. Rather, it was to keep him humble and cause him to rely upon God to make His power known through this weakness in his fleshly body. Timothy, one thoroughly discipled by Paul had stomach problems of some kind. Did the great apostle tell Timothy he just needed to pray more of believe more? NO! He told him to take some wine (often used as medicine at that time) to help ease his stomach ailment.
      There is another area of great concern – partly because I used to have the same type of approach to people who didn’t seem to have “victory” over the sin/sickness issues in their lives. That has to do with your “knowledge.” I’ve already shown that it wasn’t complete as the Scriptures reveal, but there is another concern. One of your primary premises is that these “illnesses” would be dealt with if only we would have a certain “knowledge” of who we are in Christ. I strongly urge you to consider well the teaching of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I . . . understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
      Do you see that the greatest commandment given to us as Christians is LOVE? First to love God with all we are and all we have, and secondly, to love our neighbour as oneself. To refine that second love we are to have, Scripture commands us to love our Christian brothers and sisters. If we condemn a struggling brother or sister in Christ with what we consider to be our “superior knowledge,” then we are puffed up (a term for “pride” or a “swelled head”). However, if our love trumps our “knowledge,” then we can build up or edify others. Even if ALL our knowledge lines up correctly with ALL Scripture, that same Scripture tells us that it profits nothing and we are nothing if the love of Christ is not the foundation and THE THING WHICH SHINES THROUGH OUR LIVES!
      After all God did not send Christ to die because He wanted us to get more knowledge. He sent Him to die because He so LOVED the world, which was lost and dying and condemned already.
      My sister who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a child/teenager and was much used by God to minister to others throughout the rest of her life, suffered with a mental illness for almost 40 years before she died last April. Many of the things you have expressed in your comments and which the Michael wrote against in the article – I DID – to my shame. None of it helped. In fact, I’m sure there were times, in trying to help, I made her suffering worse.
      The Lord had me get quite involved in her life for the last 4 years before she died – and especially in the last 5 weeks she lived (her death was sudden and unexpected, but the Lord knew). I preached at her funeral and told of what the Lord taught me in those last five weeks I had with her.
      As I was preparing the message, the Lord brought me to a Scripture, which culminated what He had been working in my heart during those five weeks. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” You and many in Christ may be “strong-minded” and have no struggles with mental issues – but others do. They are “feebleminded.” Does Scripture say to “Get them to understand who they are in Christ?” NO! It says that we are to comfort them. We are to support those who are weaker than we are. So, when you say, “You don’t need a quiet friend . . .” you are speaking against Scripture and you do not understand how to comfort a person. Many times one who is suffering does just need a shoulder to cry on. On Feb. 1st of this year, my favourite nephew (age 29) died tragically, leaving behind two young daughters. My heart broke and I grieved at the front of the church as I came to view his body for one last time. I sat down in the front row and wept uncontrollably, A person I barely knew came and put her arm around me and wept with me – THAT WAS COMFORT! And it was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment (by the way, the Greek word translated “comfort” means to “come along side and console”). The last part of that verse tells us that we are to have patience with all men. Believe me, anyone who was around my sister much, when she was at her worst, HAD TO HAVE lots of patience.
      As the Holy Spirit showed me the truth of this verse, He also spoke to my heart something else. He said that He had people in circumstances like this (and other mentally or physically handicapped people) because they were there to teach His people to really love those who were more difficult for us to love. He used these people so that we could grow in and learn to show mercy and grace and patience and other Christ-like traits. After all – consider yourself. God could have struck you dead before He graciously, mercifully, patiently, and lovingly brought you to salvation in Him. He choose rather to show you those characteristics to deliver you from His judgment, which His holiness, righteousness, and justice DEMANDED by meted out upon you. If God has shown these things toward us who deserved His judgment and wrath, then how much more should we show these things to others – EVEN MORE IMPORTANT – we should not just act this way, but these things the Holy Spirit desires to conform us to (Christlikeness) so these become automatic responses in how we live our lives.
      May the God our Father richly bless you, as the Holy Spirit brings you into greater understanding – AND LIVING – these things which Christ also died to give us.
      Your brother in Christ,
      Wayne

  6. Hey, Michael.
    Someone emailed me this link and I just want to say that as a pastor I really appreciate your words. You have helped me to understand better the darkness of depression, a very complex state. I offer you nothing but the encouragement of knowing that God has used you today to make me a better Christian and a better pastor. Blessings to you, my friend.

  7. You give very wise and practical advice, Michael. I wish that I had known these things in my earliest days of ministry!

    When I was serving as an associate pastor back in 1994 (am I that old now?), I frequently told clinically depressed folks to either perk up, lighten up, or toughen up (depending upon the sinful thought processes that I was sure were fueling their melancholy). As I mentioned just a few days ago on Facebook, I had no awareness of the fact that, in some cases, our biology can blunt our bibliology. Looking back, I now know that the “pray it away” and “use biblical meditation as your medication” advice that I so universally dispensed was useless in some instances. Not only was it useless; it was dangerous. In cases where depression is no more given to sinful ruminations than the pain of a broken foot is owed to one’s imagination, the knee-jerk reactions that you’ve articulated so well only keep people sick. When standard approaches to sanctification seem insufficient to lift the darkness, biologically depressed people are filled with thoughts that prayer avails little, the power of Scripture is small, and God’s pleasure in them is miniscule. In their darkest moments, some–particularly those who are theologically keen to the truth that regeneration produces some sort of fruit–may doubt whether they truly know God. After all, the typical means of grace that seem so wildly effective in others feel clawless when applied to their own flesh. Those of us in pastoral ministry must be especially sensitive to this reality and proceed wisely.

    I think that you’re on to something, Michael, when you say that God’s providential plan might include the allowance of such angst in certain folks for the sake of fruitlessness (as counter-intuitive as that might first seem). Gaius Davies noted in his book _Genius, Grief & Grace_ that “Many heroes, men and women of genius who achieved so much… have said that their special trials and troubles enabled them to succeed in the way they did.” I’ve often wondered whether you’re one of those people, Michael.

    As I’ve read your various posts dealing with your depression over the years (as well as the comments scolding you for making your struggle public), I’ve been reminded of the powerful truth that crippling depression need not prevent one from running the race of ministry and even hitting full stride. Indeed, I’ve often marveled at the fact that you’ve been so fruitful, awakening so many from years of theological slumber, despite your own struggle to get out of bed some days. If this is not evidence of God’s sovereignty, power, and grace, then I don’t know what is. Surely, I’m not your only reader who’s had such thoughts.

    I’m thrilled to hear about your recent breakthroughs, brother. But I’m also grateful that your suffering has allowed others to see the truth that we can be light even (and especially?) when life goes dark.

  8. Truth Unites... and Divides February 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Am I weird?

    If a well-intentioned person offers some sincere and well-meaning counsel when I’m feeling discouraged and blue, I do not get upset.

    Should I get upset and say that they’re not helping me out of my depression?

    • Hi. That’s an understandable question

      I think it’s not so much an issue of gratitude but of the pressure of expectation. People who bring comfort unconditionally do much good for a depressed person

      Some people don’t give comfort unconditionally though. They expect the depressed person to express gratitude in the way they want to hear it expressed and if they don’t get it that way they conclude that the depressed person is ungrateful – that expectation makes it about themself effectively and love isn’t self-interested (1 Cor 13: 4-8)

      That kind of input can be isolating and aggrovating so, yeah to be honest it’s better that the conditional comforter doesn’t bother. It’s OK to say you don’t know the answers (something us Christians generally need to know) and to pray because then you are calling on one who does know and standing with the depressed person like Jesus does. I’m sure a lot of people do this and they should feel encouraged and empowered if they do. Others will judge and slander though because it’s common to hit out when our own insecurities are aggrovated. We are humans :)

  9. Michael, I appreciate you sharing this. And I agree with what you’ve said too.

    I’ve battled with depression off and on since my early childhood and I’m almost 60. I’m also a pastor who counsels people who suffer from depression. I will be passing this post on to others.

  10. At the lowest point of my life I felt that Christ gave me these words (not audibly) “wherever you are I am”. This was a comfort to me knowing I was not alone.

    • Yes! I’m so glad that was your experience Harry :)

      Jesus isn’t waiting at the finish line of our struggles, he is right there with us AND as well as transforming us he is feeling with us. Not being healed instantly means we get to know Jesus as he walks loyally with us and shows such fierce love and commitment to bringing the Kingdom into our lives more and phasing the World out of it. Being well is often our number one priority for God to move in but God’s number one priority is that we get to know him better. As we get to know him better our faith increases and we find the truest purpose which in our hearts we long for even more than for our health (which should be right up there by the way!)

      Process healing is entirely biblical “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” We don’t do the transforming, God does, so that burden is off us and we are also allowed to be in the process of renewing our minds (continuous tense) so it’s not sinful to not be better yet. With our minds it’s especially important because God has given them to us – they are ours – God is committed for the long haul to guide us in using them better but he won’t take the keys off us and do the driving because we are free not robots and to say we shouldn’t have minds in the first place is to say God made a mistake.

      God also healed Jacob’s insecurities over time and stuck with Jonah all the time that prejudice was rife in his mind. What did God give Paul to stop him persecuting? Guilt? Shame? He gave himself. He makes us better in relationship and doesn’t use guilt and shame as tools for our learning or to keep us in line.

      A lot of us seem to have read this imaginary Bible where Jesus took on our guilt and shame on the cross and defeated it…but then brought it back to life and gave it back to us as a tool to fight sin all on our own with.

      This imaginary Bible also seems to state that now that Jesus is completely perfect he can’t go anywhere where he might get dirt on him so he waits for us at the finish line cheering on from a distance.

      Shame is a huge underlying factor in mental illness. Shame, though defeated, still lives in the world because we have people who hurt us and an enemy who hurts us. It’s not the decent or moral thing to keep hold of it, it’s Jesus’ mission to eradicate it from our lives. As it goes, we get better.

      We’ll have a voice in our heads criticising us for feeling alone Harry, for wasting God’s time on self-centred indulgent feelings, for being weak and immature for not being strong enough to cope with what “everybody else” copes with. Well that voice is not God’s voice. Feeling alone is not healthy and is counter to our species. God said it was not good for the man to be alone and God will rescue you from the sense of isolation as many times as you need it :)

  11. Davy February 24, 2015 at 9:56 am
    Jesus came to destroy the works of satan. Depession is an attack fron satan nothing less. No point giving satan a hiding place behind mineral deficiency. Its a lack of understanding what has been paid for. Its all been paid forat the wipping post. Look up the word saved. Why has all the theologins missed the depth of this one word. So misrepresented in Christianity today. You dont need a quite friend you need a friend who understands who he is in Christ. And what dwells in us. The same Christ raising Spirit, lives in the believer. The fullness of the Godhead lives in the believer. These signs will follow those who believe. Are these signs following you guys? If not something is wrong? Believers will lay hands on the sick and they will be healed. Thats a fact. Only if you believe it. Do these signs follow you guys? I folloed theoigy and the traditions of man for 21 years never saw sickness move through prayer. I am now sure of who I am in Christ and saw more sickness go when it was told than I ever saw by begging God to move.
    When you know hwo you are in Christ. You dont ask God to move you tell sickness and the works of satan to move.

    Davy, I am one who has believed and lived in the blessings of the infilling and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have been used of God to cast out demons and bring His healings to various individuals. I also have served the Lord long enough to have worked through a number of theological puzzles. I won’t say that I know or understand it all. In fact, I think the more I do understand, the more I realize how little I understand about God, His ways, and issues of practical theology.
    I have also dealt with individuals where there was no healing – both those tormented in mind (as in depression) and in body.
    There some things which you have said which concern me. First, you glorify Satan and give him more credit than Scripture gives. Let me explain before you tune me out. It is true that Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. HOWEVER, not all evil and its effects have anything to do with Satan – and Jesus came to destroy other things than merely the works of Satan. Some of these are: (1) the sinful nature which we are born with. Do you realize that if God destroyed Satan and his demons right now, that sin and sinful acts would continue. They may be lessened somewhat but they would continue. The Bible teaches the utter corruption and complete depravity of the heart of man. I have become convinced in my 40,000+ hours of Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation – and my almost 60 years of studying human beings, that the power of sin within us is so powerful that if ANYONE was put into the right circumstances we ALL have the potential to be a Hitler or serial murderer. Satan is a created being, as are his demons. Hence they are limited to being in one place at any time. I’m also convinced that the majority of sin in this world is not originated with Satan but with human beings.
    (2) Christ also came to deliver us from personal sin and the sinful nature (also called in the Bible, the flesh, the carnal nature, or the old man. He often works this out in this life by us “putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Christ.” Our ultimate deliverance from this evil which is so much a part of who we are will be in eternity. The Bible teaches that our salvation takes place in three stages – first, we are born again (often accompanied by immediate deliverances from certain sins which have ruled our lives); second, we are to work out our salvation daily in this life; and third we will come into the full consummation of our salvation when we are given our glorified bodies which will never know any touch of sin upon them.
    (3) Christ also destroys and delivers us from the effects of sin and God’s wrath and judgment upon it. This is tied in with my third point in the previous paragraph.
    (4) Also tied in with these last two points is that He, in His resurrection, will deliver us from the second death. In this, He destroys death and the grave.
    (5) The effects of sin ultimately come not from Satan, but from the curse which God enacted upon mankind and this world as a result of man’s original sin in Eden. God, Himself, pronounced these judgments or curses – not Satan. Now, I do believe because God gave man dominion over this world and when man submitted himself to Satan’s deception, that Satan gained rightful sub-rule of this world – as Christ said, Satan is the prince of this world – But Christ is the ultimate ruler over it. As prince of this world, Satan uses his power and influence to enhance and use the curse of sin for his purposes. There are some diseases, and other effects of sin which Satan is responsible for. However, there are some which merely are a result of living in a sinful world. There are other effects of sin which sinful people bring upon themselves (like the person who abuses alcohol or drugs, or the person who overeats and dies young, or the drunk who drives and kills a family and maims himself in a car accident).

    So, there are many other things Christ died to destroy besides Satan, his demons, and their works.
    Also, I’ve shown above that ALL of the blessings of our salvation are NOT to be experienced in this life but will be ours in eternity. It is true that God gives us a certain measure in this life of what Christ’s finished work has wrought for us. The full measure of it, however, cannot and will not be ours until eternity. So, while you may have thought you knew what the Word taught about being saved, your study of Scripture was not as thorough as you expressed in your comments. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that much of what you said was taught or preached to you by another – without you having done diligent study of the Scriptures yourself. We all should strive to be as the Berean believers, who thoroughly studied the Scriptures for themselves to make certain that what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was actually what the Scriptures did teach.
    Incidentally, your implication that EVERY person can be healed in this life, not only contradicts what the Scriptures teach, but also the practical examples that it reveals: Paul, the Apostle, likely one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, had a thorn in the flesh (i.e. some physical ailment), which by the way, was attributable to Satan. Paul (who’d healed hundreds – perhaps even thousands – and had cast out many demons) prayed about it until God answered and told him that this infirmity would not depart from him in this life. Rather, it was to keep him humble and cause him to rely upon God to make His power known through this weakness in his fleshly body. Timothy, one thoroughly discipled by Paul had stomach problems of some kind. Did the great apostle tell Timothy he just needed to pray more of believe more? NO! He told him to take some wine (often used as medicine at that time) to help ease his stomach ailment.
    There is another area of great concern – partly because I used to have the same type of approach to people who didn’t seem to have “victory” over the sin/sickness issues in their lives. That has to do with your “knowledge.” I’ve already shown that it wasn’t complete as the Scriptures reveal, but there is another concern. One of your primary premises is that these “illnesses” would be dealt with if only we would have a certain “knowledge” of who we are in Christ. I strongly urge you to consider well the teaching of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I . . . understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
    Do you see that the greatest commandment given to us as Christians is LOVE? First to love God with all we are and all we have, and secondly, to love our neighbour as oneself. To refine that second love we are to have, Scripture commands us to love our Christian brothers and sisters. If we condemn a struggling brother or sister in Christ with what we consider to be our “superior knowledge,” then we are puffed up (a term for “pride” or a “swelled head”). However, if our love trumps our “knowledge,” then we can build up or edify others. Even if ALL our knowledge lines up correctly with ALL Scripture, that same Scripture tells us that it profits nothing and we are nothing if the love of Christ is not the foundation and THE THING WHICH SHINES THROUGH OUR LIVES!
    After all God did not send Christ to die because He wanted us to get more knowledge. He sent Him to die because He so LOVED the world, which was lost and dying and condemned already.
    My sister who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a child/teenager and was much used by God to minister to others throughout the rest of her life, suffered with a mental illness for almost 40 years before she died last April. Many of the things you have expressed in your comments and which the Michael wrote against in the article – I DID – to my shame. None of it helped. In fact, I’m sure there were times, in trying to help, I made her suffering worse.
    The Lord had me get quite involved in her life for the last 4 years before she died – and especially in the last 5 weeks she lived (her death was sudden and unexpected, but the Lord knew). I preached at her funeral and told of what the Lord taught me in those last five weeks I had with her.
    As I was preparing the message, the Lord brought me to a Scripture, which culminated what He had been working in my heart during those five weeks. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” You and many in Christ may be “strong-minded” and have no struggles with mental issues – but others do. They are “feebleminded.” Does Scripture say to “Get them to understand who they are in Christ?” NO! It says that we are to comfort them. We are to support those who are weaker than we are. So, when you say, “You don’t need a quiet friend . . .” you are speaking against Scripture and you do not understand how to comfort a person. Many times one who is suffering does just need a shoulder to cry on. On Feb. 1st of this year, my favourite nephew (age 29) died tragically, leaving behind two young daughters. My heart broke and I grieved at the front of the church as I came to view his body for one last time. I sat down in the front row and wept uncontrollably, A person I barely knew came and put her arm around me and wept with me – THAT WAS COMFORT! And it was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment (by the way, the Greek word translated “comfort” means to “come along side and console”). The last part of that verse tells us that we are to have patience with all men. Believe me, anyone who was around my sister much, when she was at her worst, HAD TO HAVE lots of patience.
    As the Holy Spirit showed me the truth of this verse, He also spoke to my heart something else. He said that He had people in circumstances like this (and other mentally or physically handicapped people) because they were there to teach His people to really love those who were more difficult for us to love. He used these people so that we could grow in and learn to show mercy and grace and patience and other Christ-like traits. After all – consider yourself. God could have struck you dead before He graciously, mercifully, patiently, and lovingly brought you to salvation in Him. He choose rather to show you those characteristics to deliver you from His judgment, which His holiness, righteousness, and justice DEMANDED by meted out upon you. If God has shown these things toward us who deserved His judgment and wrath, then how much more should we show these things to others – EVEN MORE IMPORTANT – we should not just act this way, but these things the Holy Spirit desires to conform us to (Christlikeness) so these become automatic responses in how we live our lives.
    May the God our Father richly bless you, as the Holy Spirit brings you into greater understanding – AND LIVING – these things which Christ also died to give us.
    Your brother in Christ,
    Wayne

    • Thank you Wayne for taking the time to write that lengthy comment. You helped me with your words and your attitude.

  12. I’m not a Christian but I have had bouts of depression.. A lot of what you listed and explained I understand and agree with. I could add that in depression one’s thoughts are like a Mobius loop, and no matter how much positive thoughts you try, such thoughts “die”, metaphorically suffocated by the depression. You can’t snap out of it. Anything that previously gave you joy is dead. Part of you knows the invisible dark void around you is not right or healthy, but it’s like your mind is in a prison and you don’t see the key. I think there are various types of depression, so the triggers may vary with the person. And how one gets out of it also varies One time for me it was a field of fireflies.

    Depression is a personal inner prison, something others can barely comprehend. It is not demons or sin. It is a mental problems , a mental dysfunction.

  13. Don’t say “Just Get On Some Meds?”

    Meds can be a tremendous help. There’s a lot of mental illness in my family. I’ve got some of it, although not as much as a relative who started at an extremely prestigious university, graduated from another, and is now homeless. Meds could do her a lot of good, like they did for another relative who was as bad or worse off, if she didn’t refuse to take them.

    For some people, counseling or psychotherapy can also be very useful in helping to unlearn dysfunctional habits that were necessary to cope with mental problems that just wouldn’t go away. But not everyone needs that, and for some it might even be counterproductive. Everyone wants simple solutions but “one size fits all” isn’t always true in the real world.

    Whatever you do or don’t do, get help. Especially if you feel that your situation is absolutely hopeless. And if finding help feels like way too much of a challenge, get help with getting help. Call 911.

  14. “There is nowhere in the Bible that says God will not give us more than we can handle. It does say that he will in temptation provide a way of escape

    the way of escape=not given more than we can handle ?
    God is faithful, sovereign ,providential; His children can never be overtaken so as to not be able to endure for He always has a provision, a path to victory because He is our power
    Or is He kidding us? NO. God can be trusted.
    And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness 2 Co 12:9

  15. Sitting Shiva. Ancient Jewish tradition that begins right after burial and continues for a week. In the same sense, anyone experiencing depression can appreciate the silence and, most of all, your presence. Sometimes that it is all it takes. Wait on the depressed until THEY are ready for practical steps…

  16. Great article.

    On the Job reference, it’s good to note that Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad — the rebuked friends — indeed made things worse (as Job laments). But Elihu’s hope rebuts them all as he introduces the Storm of God. Elihu’s hope captured the “things to wonderful for Job to know” that Job confessed in ch. 42.

    When I have anxiety, I have faith in God’s power and wisdom he boasted in the Storm, but I have hope in the unrebuked, “perfect” redemptive theology of Elihu. Blame and invalidation don’t help, but a reminder of the light can help in the darkness.

  17. I believe that you should start looking for a full time job and do the theology classes in your off time, sometime in the future. You can then reach all sorts of people. When you are happier, then you can send me my check in the mail. (Smile).

  18. I am sorry I thought this wa a Chritian bible believing forum. Am I in the wrong place? Did I get it wrong?

    • Davy, what you stated in your first comments did line up with Scripture. However, it is only partial knowledge, and partial understanding, and I believe, limited experience.
      The Bible has much more to say on these subjects than you presented. I did reply to your first comments and also put them in just the comments section, but it appears to me that neither of them got included in this comments section. I’m not sure why – and perhaps you saw them but maybe they are not viewable by anyone else – I don’t know.
      Regardless, I will give you an example. You blame all sin, sickness, etc. on Satan. According to the Bible, this is not true. There are times when one reaps the results of their own sin – without the involvement of Satan, such as when a person is a heavy smoker and develops lung cancer. The result of man’s original sin was GOD’S judgement upon that sin when He pronounced curses upon mankind and this physical world. It is NOT Satan who pronounced these curses – it was God. Satan can use the curses upon this world and the sinful nature of individual people for his nefarious purposes. If Satan and his demons (limited beings which are confined to one place at a time) were destroyed by God today, sin, sickness, mental illness, natural disasters, etc. would still continue because of the curse of God upon nature and the absolute corruption and sinful nature of man.
      Additionally, your response was the type of thing which can make a person’s situation worse, rather than better.
      I encourage you to heed Scripture’s teaching from 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, which instructs us, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” When you couple this with what 1 Corinthians 13 tells us about the importance and supremacy of Christ-like love over “knowledge” or “understanding” you will hopefully start to understand the importance of what Michael has said extending love to those burdened with a mental affliction.
      One other important Scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (KJV), which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” The Greek word for “comfort” means to “come along beside and console.” While some of us may be strong emotionally and/or spiritually, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who have emotional or mental limitations or afflictions, and other who are weak in other ways. We are to love them, support them, comfort them, and have patience with them – NOT condemn them and taunt them for being weak.
      If you were born a midget or born without arms or legs, would you like it if brothers and sisters in Christ told you that you didn’t have enough faith or understanding to believe God to make you taller or grow limbs?
      I believe God has DELIBERATELY put those in our Christian family who are weak or feebleminded, so that the rest of us can show them mercy, compassion, grace, patience, and understanding. He does this because He wants us to be like Christ, who showed these qualities and characteristics to others while He walked this earth.
      I pray God richly bless you with understanding in these matters and continue to grow you as you are changed from glory to glory, and more and more into the image of our blessed Saviour.

  19. Davy, I am one who has believed and lived in the blessings of the infilling and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have been used of God to cast out demons and bring His healings to various individuals. I also have served the Lord long enough to have worked through a number of theological puzzles. I won’t say that I know or understand it all. In fact, I think the more I do understand, the more I realize how little I understand about God, His ways, and issues of practical theology.
    I have also dealt with individuals where there was no healing – both those tormented in mind (as in depression) and in body.
    There some things which you have said which concern me. First, you glorify Satan and give him more credit than Scripture gives. Let me explain before you tune me out. It is true that Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. HOWEVER, not all evil and its effects have anything to do with Satan – and Jesus came to destroy other things than merely the works of Satan. Some of these are: (1) the sinful nature which we are born with. Do you realize that if God destroyed Satan and his demons right now, that sin and sinful acts would continue. They may be lessened somewhat but they would continue. The Bible teaches the utter corruption and complete depravity of the heart of man. I have become convinced in my 40,000+ hours of Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation – and my almost 60 years of studying human beings, that the power of sin within us is so powerful that if ANYONE was put into the right circumstances we ALL have the potential to be a Hitler or serial murderer. Satan is a created being, as are his demons. Hence they are limited to being in one place at any time. I’m also convinced that the majority of sin in this world is not originated with Satan but with human beings.
    (2) Christ also came to deliver us from personal sin and the sinful nature (also called in the Bible, the flesh, the carnal nature, or the old man. He often works this out in this life by us “putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Christ.” Our ultimate deliverance from this evil which is so much a part of who we are will be in eternity. The Bible teaches that our salvation takes place in three stages – first, we are born again (often accompanied by immediate deliverances from certain sins which have ruled our lives); second, we are to work out our salvation daily in this life; and third we will come into the full consummation of our salvation when we are given our glorified bodies which will never know any touch of sin upon them.
    (3) Christ also destroys and delivers us from the effects of sin and God’s wrath and judgment upon it. This is tied in with my third point in the previous paragraph.
    (4) Also tied in with these last two points is that He, in His resurrection, will deliver us from the second death. In this, He destroys death and the grave.
    (5) The effects of sin ultimately come not from Satan, but from the curse which God enacted upon mankind and this world as a result of man’s original sin in Eden. God, Himself, pronounced these judgments or curses – not Satan. Now, I do believe because God gave man dominion over this world and when man submitted himself to Satan’s deception, that Satan gained rightful sub-rule of this world – as Christ said, Satan is the prince of this world – But Christ is the ultimate ruler over it. As prince of this world, Satan uses his power and influence to enhance and use the curse of sin for his purposes. There are some diseases, and other effects of sin which Satan is responsible for. However, there are some which merely are a result of living in a sinful world. There are other effects of sin which sinful people bring upon themselves (like the person who abuses alcohol or drugs, or the person who overeats and dies young, or the drunk who drives and kills a family and maims himself in a car accident).

    So, there are many other things Christ died to destroy besides Satan, his demons, and their works.
    Also, I’ve shown above that ALL of the blessings of our salvation are NOT to be experienced in this life but will be ours in eternity. It is true that God gives us a certain measure in this life of what Christ’s finished work has wrought for us. The full measure of it, however, cannot and will not be ours until eternity. So, while you may have thought you knew what the Word taught about being saved, your study of Scripture was not as thorough as you expressed in your comments. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that much of what you said was taught or preached to you by another – without you having done diligent study of the Scriptures yourself. We all should strive to be as the Berean believers, who thoroughly studied the Scriptures for themselves to make certain that what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was actually what the Scriptures did teach.
    Incidentally, your implication that EVERY person can be healed in this life, not only contradicts what the Scriptures teach, but also the practical examples that it reveals: Paul, the Apostle, likely one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, had a thorn in the flesh (i.e. some physical ailment), which by the way, was attributable to Satan. Paul (who’d healed hundreds – perhaps even thousands – and had cast out many demons) prayed about it until God answered and told him that this infirmity would not depart from him in this life. Rather, it was to keep him humble and cause him to rely upon God to make His power known through this weakness in his fleshly body. Timothy, one thoroughly discipled by Paul had stomach problems of some kind. Did the great apostle tell Timothy he just needed to pray more of believe more? NO! He told him to take some wine (often used as medicine at that time) to help ease his stomach ailment.
    There is another area of great concern – partly because I used to have the same type of approach to people who didn’t seem to have “victory” over the sin/sickness issues in their lives. That has to do with your “knowledge.” I’ve already shown that it wasn’t complete as the Scriptures reveal, but there is another concern. One of your primary premises is that these “illnesses” would be dealt with if only we would have a certain “knowledge” of who we are in Christ. I strongly urge you to consider well the teaching of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I . . . understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
    Do you see that the greatest commandment given to us as Christians is LOVE? First to love God with all we are and all we have, and secondly, to love our neighbour as oneself. To refine that second love we are to have, Scripture commands us to love our Christian brothers and sisters. If we condemn a struggling brother or sister in Christ with what we consider to be our “superior knowledge,” then we are puffed up (a term for “pride” or a “swelled head”). However, if our love trumps our “knowledge,” then we can build up or edify others. Even if ALL our knowledge lines up correctly with ALL Scripture, that same Scripture tells us that it profits nothing and we are nothing if the love of Christ is not the foundation and THE THING WHICH SHINES THROUGH OUR LIVES!
    After all God did not send Christ to die because He wanted us to get more knowledge. He sent Him to die because He so LOVED the world, which was lost and dying and condemned already.
    My sister who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a child/teenager and was much used by God to minister to others throughout the rest of her life, suffered with a mental illness for almost 40 years before she died last April. Many of the things you have expressed in your comments and which the Michael wrote against in the article – I DID – to my shame. None of it helped. In fact, I’m sure there were times, in trying to help, I made her suffering worse.
    The Lord had me get quite involved in her life for the last 4 years before she died – and especially in the last 5 weeks she lived (her death was sudden and unexpected, but the Lord knew). I preached at her funeral and told of what the Lord taught me in those last five weeks I had with her.
    As I was preparing the message, the Lord brought me to a Scripture, which culminated what He had been working in my heart during those five weeks. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” You and many in Christ may be “strong-minded” and have no struggles with mental issues – but others do. They are “feebleminded.” Does Scripture say to “Get them to understand who they are in Christ?” NO! It says that we are to comfort them. We are to support those who are weaker than we are. So, when you say, “You don’t need a quiet friend . . .” you are speaking against Scripture and you do not understand how to comfort a person. Many times one who is suffering does just need a shoulder to cry on. On Feb. 1st of this year, my favourite nephew (age 29) died tragically, leaving behind two young daughters. My heart broke and I grieved at the front of the church as I came to view his body for one last time. I sat down in the front row and wept uncontrollably, A person I barely knew came and put her arm around me and wept with me – THAT WAS COMFORT! And it was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment (by the way, the Greek word translated “comfort” means to “come along side and console”). The last part of that verse tells us that we are to have patience with all men. Believe me, anyone who was around my sister much, when she was at her worst, HAD TO HAVE lots of patience.
    As the Holy Spirit showed me the truth of this verse, He also spoke to my heart something else. He said that He had people in circumstances like this (and other mentally or physically handicapped people) because they were there to teach His people to really love those who were more difficult for us to love. He used these people so that we could grow in and learn to show mercy and grace and patience and other Christ-like traits. After all – consider yourself. God could have struck you dead before He graciously, mercifully, patiently, and lovingly brought you to salvation in Him. He choose rather to show you those characteristics to deliver you from His judgment, which His holiness, righteousness, and justice DEMANDED by meted out upon you. If God has shown these things toward us who deserved His judgment and wrath, then how much more should we show these things to others – EVEN MORE IMPORTANT – we should not just act this way, but these things the Holy Spirit desires to conform us to (Christlikeness) so these become automatic responses in how we live our lives.
    May the God our Father richly bless you, as the Holy Spirit brings you into greater understanding – AND LIVING – these things which Christ also died to give us.
    Your brother in Christ,
    Wayne

  20. I have read your post and scanned enough of the responses to be able to say,”I’ve heard it all before.” My earliest childhood memories are shadowed by depression and anxiety. I will be seventy-one years old next month. I’ve been on medication without interruption since 2001. Before that, I had to be hospitalized two different times after which I took meds until I “felt better,” but I was never free of the illness. I raised three children, was a pastor’s wife, worked at a seminary and other jobs, all while experiencing everything from a dull ache to paralyzing fear and despair. Even with an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety, most of the time, I am aware of the thing lurking in the shadows; but I have learned to turn on the light.

    With the stabilizing effect of the meds, I can remind myself that those feelings are not reality, and they don’t have to control me. And, I can be grateful for the wonderful gifts that accompany “the curse.” I have observed that most of the time a person who has chronic depression is very intelligent, gifted in many of the arts, and have winning personalities. I believe these things apply to me.

    I agree with all of the things one should not say to a person suffering from mental illness and could add a few. The most important thing is to let them (us) know that even though you don’t understand what they are going through, you affirm that their suffering is real and that you will love them and help them in any way that you are able. Ultimately, however, the depressed person has to find his/her own way. Some do. Some don’t.

    To sum up here, I’ll say this: Jesus is my very best friend, but Zoloft is second. I do look forward, at this stage in my life, to the day that I can see Him face to face and leave the illness and the medication behind, but until then, I’m OK.

    • I liked the article very much but Martha’s comment was also extremely helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share. I have a similar story but less years on me so your words really spoke to me and have encouraged me. I loved the last line: But until then, I’m ok. I’m often ok and not fine as I typically respond when asked. Martha also said “Even with an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety, most of the time, I am aware of the thing lurking in the shadows; but I have learned to turn on the light.” I am trying to learn how to turn on the light more often – it is very much like a thing lurking in the shadows and it can consume me before I know it.

  21. C. Michael.
    Thank you for an excellent blog about depression. I suffer from Bipolar Two disorder. I have found that there are dark dungeons beneath the Castle of Despair. The things not to say to a depressed person have all been said to me.
    I have not been allowed to pastor a number of churches because of depression. But Robyn and I found writing our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It to be a balm to our soul. It has opened a whole new ministry to us. If you would like I could send you a copy of it. It is a comprehensive treatment including biology of depression and reactive/spiritual depression. All you have to do is go to our web site, and click on contact us. I was disappointed in some of your “grouchy Christians” respond. Please do not let them grind you down. Here is the web site, http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!contact/cito .
    Steve Bloem

  22. River, I have full time job.

  23. Truth Unites... and Divides February 25, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    “The depressed person likely knows if it’s sin that’s causing their depression.”

    This statement causes me to wonder about two things:

    #1. Let’s assume the depressed person knows that their sin is causing their depression. If/When the depressed person genuinely repents and asks/prays for forgiveness and reconciliation, will the depression likely alleviate to a significant degree of relief?

    #2. How likely (or unlikely) does a depressed person NOT know that their own sin is causing their depression?

  24. There’s an assumption here that sin is causing the depression. Again this is a big assumption.

    As well, we all have to know that we all have significant sin in our lives. And getting rid of the sin is sometimes the issue. But often it is not. That’s why I said you have to approach it was tact. if you don’t approach it with tact, then what happens is the person becomes a very hostile.

    Most of us are not automatically open to correction (depressed or not). Therefore tact is always used in every situation so that we might be able to confront the sin.

    The point is that you can’t bring it up at the beginning assuming that sin is the issue.

  25. Truth Unites... and Divides February 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    “The depressed person likely knows if it’s sin that’s causing their depression.”

    This statement causes me to wonder about two things:

    #1. Let’s assume the depressed person knows that their sin is causing their depression. If/When the depressed person genuinely repents and asks/prays for forgiveness and reconciliation, will the depression likely alleviate to a significant degree of relief?

    #2. How likely (or unlikely) does a depressed person NOT know that their own sin is causing their depression?

    ——–

    The above questions are asked with the disclaimer that the issue of sin is NOT brought up at all.

  26. Are you asking for relpys then only picking the ones you can answer?

  27. Either we are evil, or God is evil. The Nazis gave a good example of our nature. We are finite. We are unable to correctly understand our blind spots, ( without the bible of course.) Are we victims or the victimized ? “… you, being evil…” . Did he just call us evil?… I think he did… Paul said to beware the philosophy of men. Modern science has taken the place of our hope and faith. We are afraid to disbelieve the ones who have the power to extend our lives through modern medicine. However, they, right now anyway, will die just like us so how great is their power and knowledge anyway. Is the root of our disquiet the fear of death? Man is in bondage to the fear of death. Eternity is like a mask on our face. Embracing and preparing for death has helped me to look at life in a different way. I have more comforts and health than the kings of old. I am very grateful to my creator for allowing me to exist. I am very grateful for the joys and pleasures He has allowed me. We are already living in eternity. You and I barely exist. We have no right to claim anything from our maker.. our breath, the breath of life..( smile)

  28. Thank you Michael for being openness about discussing your struggles with depression and for your willingness to address this important topic. Limiting your conclusions to those that can be strongly supported by central truths found in the Scripture alone is exceptionally helpful for all. It is also one that is IMHO the most consistent with the ministry and heart of Christ.

    From my experiences and reading, depression is a symptom of other underlying issues with multiple potential contributing factors. I am confident that most of us would agree that depression along with physical pain and disease is surely but one of many ramifications of the Fall. In that context depression could be considered “a work of the enemy” just as diabetes could be considered a work of the enemy as a result of the Fall. Jesus warned the Pharisees against making assumptions that all with physical illness’ had that illness as a direct result of personal or inherited sin from their ancestors. Some sickness may indeed result from such instances but lest we aspire to be Pharisees, we can make no such assumptions.

    Romans 8:28 tells us that “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” HCSB Obviously not all things that happen to us either due to our own poor choices or secondary to the Fall are God’s ultimate, original and highest will for us BUT he can use imperfect events in our lives to accomplish His good just as He uses very imperfect people.

    The Bible certainly tells in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” HCSB. Unfortunately many Christian’s twist this Biblical truth on it’s head into a very non Biblical fallacy of logic.

    Faith = being assured that God’s promises and truths remain true even when not physically seen in the present is of course a Biblically supported truth. Nowhere in this “faith formula” from the Bible are we told to live in a state of denial regarding our current experiences. Rather we are instructed to view our current experience from the perspective of His promises and in light of Biblical truths as the highest and eternal truth.

    Denying that something that is physically present in your life exists or denying that you are presently struggling with something is DENIAL merely DENIAL. Denial is something that should never be confused with faith. Faith believes in God’s eternal truths and promises in the face of things that challenge our faith. Denial in reality is actually an obstacle to true meaningful faith and deceptively religious false substitute for real faith. Hebrews 11:1 implicitly indicates that faith requires we both recognize and acknowledge that the proof is not yet seen or experienced in our present circumstances while also believing and being convinced of the ultimate reality of God’s truth.

    I have experienced times in my life where focusing on positive scriptural truths was effective in dealing with bouts of depression and times where it had as much impact as a flea trying to break through armor plating. Telling someone that they should not accept or acknowledge any form or appearance of depression because “depression is a work of Satan” is about as effective as telling someone they can choose not to starve to death because starvation is a work of the devil.

    Medical research indicates that several things have been shown to be helpful in treating or combating depression including; prayer/spiritual development, counseling, nutritional supplements, exercise, antidepressants, cognitive therapy (including “a positive thinking focus) to even more drastic things like ECT (electroconvulsive “shock” therapy). Yet not one of these has been demonstrated to provide immediate relief for all people in all circumstances at every stage in their lives even among Christians. I will argue that anyone who would claim differently makes such a claim not from faith in the Bible and Christ our Lord but rather makes such an argument out of a position of denial rather than faith.

    Anyone other than God who claims to know all potential causes and a singular instant cure for all instances of depression in all believers does so at their own peril and do so without the support of scripture.

    Not to put word’s in Michael’s capable mouth but the focus of this particular blog is about what is and is not effective in being a source of comfort and support to a believer going through depression. Strong Biblical precedent is presented with the error of Job’s friends of what NOT to do yet too often well meaning believers do exactly what Job’s “friend’s” did. Bearing one another’s burdens demands that we not live in denial ourselves or advise those around us to live in denial.

  29. As I read through the various comments, I recognize the validity of each perspective. After all, the word “depression” is quite elastic. It is capable, on the one hand, of referring to a simple case of the blues. On the other hand, it can describe the complexities of a mind gone completely black. Of course, there exists a myriad of shades in between.

    I think that it’s important to keep in mind that Michael is not writing about the mere blues. He’s writing about the mirrored blackness that his sister saw everywhere–a blackness so unrelenting and ubiquitous that it literally robbed her of life. He’s also describing the state of clinical depression that nearly incapacitated him–a guy who, at his core, loves to joke, laugh, and fully enjoy God’s good gifts (gifts that I won’t admit he and I have shared together!)–for five long years. Though it did not take his life, it stole his vitality. All that Angie could see was a black screen. Michael was fading to black. Neither of them were playing the moody blues.

    I wrote in a comment above that I’ve deeply hurt acutely depressed folks (i.e., people closer to the black end of the spectrum) by flippantly uttering some of the quips that Michael has described in this article. None of that was to say that I don’t believe there are times when a person with a case of the blues should be told to perk up, lighten up, or toughen up. In fact, I can think of three people right now, each of whom legitimately needed to hear these respective phrases.

    One man was continually focusing on the things that he doesn’t have, rather than being grateful for the many, many blessings that he has received. [Does the daily consumption of Facebook feed this mentality, or what?] He would see those with X, Y, or Z “living it up,” and this always brought him down. My approach, in a nutshell, was to tell him that he needed to perk up, stop fixing his gaze on the things that God was doing in the lives of others (John 21:22), and start focusing his attention on all of the good things that God had dropped into his lap (James 1:17). When he ditched his old way of picturing things, it put him in a new frame of mind.

    Another fellow was struggling to learn that we can’t take ourselves and the Gospel seriously at the same time. I watched him become either quiet or combative in social settings where someone ribbed him about something that he was wearing, a word that he mispronounced, or a drink that he spilled on himself. Sometimes the sour grapes would make him whine for days. More than once, I told him that he needed to lighten up and stop allowing some friendly smack talk make him want to smack the talker. If the Gospel had truly set him free to be fully known yet unconditionally loved, then why couldn’t he laugh at himself? Was he unwittingly undermining the message of the Gospel with his behavior? After honestly wrestling with this hard question, he became a man genuinely at ease with himself and others.

    Finally, I once discipled a man who did nothing but bemoan his job. If he wasn’t talking about problems at work that day, he was verbally anticipating the difficulties of the next. This left him feeling angry some moments, despondent other moments, and a buzzkill at all moments! I didn’t ask this guy if he needed me to put my arm around his shoulder; I gave him a kick in the rear-end. I told him that he needed to toughen up. Except for a very, very tiny minority of the world’s population, everyone needs to toil in order to eat. It’s been this way ever since the fall of Adam and Eve. And the results of the fall were meant to be afflictive reminders of its reality. [Just ask any woman about the pain of childbearing!] This doesn’t mean that we don’t find pleasure in a job well done (any more than it means that a woman is not overjoyed to hold her newborn infant), but it does mean that part of the tension in living between the “already” and the “not yet” is experiencing the discomforting distortion of the way that things ought to be. So instead of dwelling on all of the stuff that he didn’t like about his job, I urged this fellow to remember that toil itself is a result of the fall and that recounting the fall is an opportunity to recall the hope of the Gospel. In the end, this man didn’t need a new job, a serotonin booster to get him over a hump, or some complex form of cognitive therapy. He needed to toughen up. He needed to remember why he (and 99.9% of the rest of the world’s population) must toil, how the nature of toil itself reflects the reason for its existence, and how it all points to a coming renewal of all things.

    In all three cases above, the individuals were urged to take anti-depressants. I think that that’s a travesty. These folks didn’t need to fill a prescription, they needed to be filled with biblical insight and the Holy Spirit.

    That said, I have become convinced over the years that there are forms of depression that are due more to physiological than psychological brokenness. And just as it’s a mistake to push an Rx on someone who simply needs to repent, it’s nonsensical to throw spiritual-sounding bromides at someone who’s suffering a genuinely physical problem. And there’s plenty of science to show that some people do indeed suffer from clinical depression due to AWOL bio-chemicals and atrophying gray matter.

    What I’m suggesting here is that we need to discern where a person falls on the spectrum of what we loosely call “depression.” Is it an occasional case of the blues, caused by things such as deluded thinking, diluted nutrition, diminished exposure to sunlight, or deprivation of sleep? Is it one of those infrequent but longer lasting periods of grief that accompany a particularly traumatic moment in life (e.g., the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, etc.)? Or is it a pervasive and perpetual blackness, perhaps caused by a rare yet severe trauma (as in the case with those suffering PTSD), actual physical damage to the brain (due to an accident, toxic contamination, or the like), or even the chemical breakdown of key hormones and/or neurotransmitters (which govern more of our personalities than we often recognize)?

    It strikes me as odd that we’re quick to give grace to the person whose tumor is pressing against the amygdala and thus creating fits of aggression, yet unwilling to cut some slack for the person whose neurotransmitters have taken a detour leading to the ditch of despair. In both situations, it seems to me that either God must heal the physiological abnormality, modern medicine must somehow rectify the problem, or we must live with the continual awareness that we’re not witnessing that person’s true self.

    So how does someone like me–a man diligently trained in theology but a mere dilettante when it comes to psychiatry–know how to tell where someone falls on the spectrum? In the end, my Spidey sense is too dull to untangle the complicated web of someone’s depression, but there are two things that I’ve learned to look for when someone presents with depression: depth and duration.

    The normal blues that we all experience aren’t incapacitating. We still manage to stumble through the day with all of its responsibilities. But when someone tells me that taking a shower feels like the equivalent of swimming across the English Channel, I know that I’m dealing with a clinical level of depth and I’m in over my head. Even with the acute, traumatic grief of divorce, the death of a loved one, etc., psychologists have identified recognizable stages of progression. There’s movement toward improvement and a point at which normal functioning is once again possible. But some folks’ minds become holstered in darkness for months on end, often with no identifiable trigger. When this is the case, I know that I’m dueling with a clinical level of duration and I need to do two things: (1) call immediately on a professional marksman; and (2) resist being too quick on the draw, firing off the injurious bullets identified by Michael in this article.

    Chemically-caused, clinical melancholy might be rare among all of the cases broadly labeled as “depression,” but this doesn’t mean that such cases don’t exist. Indeed, I’ve failed more than once to recognize them in my own church, right under my own nose. If nothing else, I hope and pray that Michael’s words will make us all more appreciative of the complexities surrounding depression and thus more sensitive to those in its grip.

    On a final note, for those thinking that depression is always the result of sin, a failure to think biblically, and only experienced by immature, double-minded professors of the faith, I’d urge you to read the recently published book by Zack Eswine entitled _Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression_ (Christian Focus, 2014). We’d be hard pressed to find a man more softened to the Gospel’s power to save, the Spirit’s power to sustain, and Scripture’s power to solve than the “prince of preachers,” yet Spurgeon offered no easy answers to the matter of debilitating depression–even his own.

  30. Michael. I have made a reply and reposted it several times. I have also made original comments and posted several times. None of them are showing up when I bring this site up again. Is this an issue or problem on my end or your’s or don’t you know?

  31. Grace and peace to you, Michael.

  32. Here’s one thing that you ought certainly say to a depressed Christian:

    http://theoldadam.com/2015/02/26/the-surefire-step-to-get-you-where-you-need-to-be-in-your-christian-life/

    It’s a doozy. Here’s one line; “Religion should be banned from Christian churches.”

  33. Jesus paid for our healing at the whipping post.
    By His stripes you ARE healed. Faith = believing what God said not LOOKING at the mountain.
    If you say to this mountain move it WILL move.
    Why couldn’t we heal the boy. Because of YOUR lack of faith.
    These where the guys who healed everyone of every thing previously.
    I used to think like the way you are all talking in here. I seen more people healed today than I saw in the first 21 years.
    21 years I prayed for God to heal many times and never saw one move of God.
    Today after hearing the full gospel. I saw 40 odd people healed out of 240 people prayed for.
    Your words are life and death. YOU have the power of life and death in YOUR tongue.
    All I see in here is satans lies. satan came to steal kill and destroy, he is still destroying killing and stealing today.
    satan has stolen the word and twisted our thinking even though our spiritual side is also paid for by His stripes.
    Depression is in the mind, satanic oppression and its manifests as chemical imbalance, thats him destroying lives and hiding everything he does with mans need to put all answers in a compartment that we understand. Thats is to say doctors tell us what it is and we believe the doctor. Would you go to a witch doctor? The witch doctors in south America will go toe to toe with most healing ministries and beat them, when it comes to healing. But they cant raise the dead. Only difference between a doctor and a witch doctor is a white coat. They both mix potions to get you healed. On the American health service the have the staff and snake symbol. Where did that come from? I see its spreading over the water to the UK, its now appearing over here in our health services. More people died in America last years of misdiagnosis, than died of anything else. Don’t be telling me the health service/doctors are of God. All a doctor is good for is keeping you alive long enough until a Believer gets some life into you. Stop making excuse for satan and give God some honour.

    Jesus said Don’t you know that you will do greater things than these.
    Believers will lay hands on the sick and the will be healed.
    Jesus healed them all every where every time.
    He gave US the great commission not the physiologists and doctors.
    Jesus came to give us LIFE.
    And I also see some in here trying to straddle two covenants. We are NOT under the old covenant.
    Paul coincided it dung.

    There is no sickness passed on because of family. Because there is NO generational curses. None its finished.

    Get out and lay hands on the sick, thats what you are called to do.
    Go and sin no more Jesus said, how is that possible? Because He said it.
    Greater thing than He dome, because He said it.
    Stop making excuses for satan and hiding his works Christ came to destroy them through YOU.
    The fullness of the God head dwells in me and every other believer.
    These signs will follow the believer.

    Are these signs following you? If not somethings up. Wonder if its unbelief.

    I know this is an aggresive message. But It is all scripture if you need more scripture feel free to ask.

    Ezicial 17 for the curses done thing btw

    Aw man when are ppl gonna get that there is NO generational curses. Someone tell me this is wrong. As God say in His word. There is no generatioal curse. Scriptural proof here.
    What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel… The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. (Ezekiel 18:1-4,18-20)

    And here is another 20 verses that are as plain to see as any thing.

    1. First Covenant, Second Covenant: Heb 8:7, 9:1-18, 10:1-9
    2. Old, New: Matt 26: 28, 2Cor 3, Heb 8:13
    3. Given by Moses, given by Jesus: John 1:17, Gal 3:19, Heb 9:15 Matt 26:28
    4. Law of Moses. Law of Christ: Acts 13:39, Gal 6:2
    5. Law of Sin and Law of Righteousness: Rom 7:7-25, Rom 8:1-4, Rom 9:31
    6. Law of the Flesh and Law of the Spirit: Rom7:5,6 Rom 8:1-4, Gal 5:16-26
    7. Not of faith, Law of faith??? Not too sure Gal 3:12, Rom 3:27
    8. Yoke of bondage and Law of Liberty: Gal 5:1, James 1:18-25
    9. Brought to an end by Christ, Established by Christ: 2Cor 3:14, Heb 10:9, Heb 8:6, 9:15, 2 Cor 3:6-18, Matt 26:28
    10. One brought death, other Life: 2Cor 3: 6-18, Rom 8:1-4, Gal 3:21, Heb 9:15, 10:1-18
    11. One makes guilty and other justifies and not guilty: Rom 3:19,20 Acts 13:39 Rom 3:21-31, 5:1-11
    12. One is the shadow of things to come and the other a reality: Col 2:14-17, Heb 10:1-18
    13. One is fulfilled or completed and the other is still in force: Matt 5:17,18; 2 Cor 3:6-18; Heb 10:9
    14. One demanded righteousness and the other gave righteousness: Luke 10:28, Rom 8: 1-4, Gal 3:1-29; 5:1-26
    15. One made nothing perfect and the other made perfect Heb 7:19
    16. One was glorious and the other was more glorious 2 Cor 3
    17. One powerless to save from sin and the other saves to the uttermost: Heb 7:11-28; 8:7-13; 10:1-18
    18. Had many sacrifices and other one sacrifice: Heb 9:9-14; 10:14; Rom 6: 6-13
    19. One had changeable priesthood and other does not : Heb 7:23-38; 4:14-16, Rom 8:34
    20. Remembers sin and other forgets sins: Heb 10:13; 8:12 

  34. Jesus paid for our healing at the whipping post.
    By His stripes you ARE healed. Faith = believing what God said not LOOKING at the mountain.
    If you say to this mountain move it WILL move.
    Why couldn’t we heal the boy. Because of YOUR lack of faith.
    These where the guys who healed everyone of every thing previously.
    I used to think like the way you are all talking in here. I seen more people healed today than I saw in the first 21 years.
    21 years I prayed for God to heal many times and never saw one move of God.
    Today after hearing the full gospel. I saw 40 odd people healed out of 240 people prayed for.
    Your words are life and death. YOU have the power of life and death in YOUR tongue.
    All I see in here is satans lies. satan came to steal kill and destroy, he is still destroying killing and stealing today.
    satan has stolen the word and twisted our thinking even though our spiritual side is also paid for by His stripes.
    Depression is in the mind, satanic oppression and its manifests as chemical imbalance, thats him destroying lives and hiding everything he does with mans need to put all answers in a compartment that we understand. Thats is to say doctors tell us what it is and we believe the doctor. Would you go to a witch doctor? The witch doctors in south America will go toe to toe with most healing ministries and beat them, when it comes to healing. But they cant raise the dead. Only difference between a doctor and a witch doctor is a white coat. They both mix potions to get you healed. On the American health service the have the staff and snake symbol. Where did that come from? I see its spreading over the water to the UK, its now appearing over here in our health services. More people died in America last years of misdiagnosis, than died of anything else. Don’t be telling me the health service/doctors are of God. All a doctor is good for is keeping you alive long enough until a Believer gets some life into you. Stop making excuse for satan and give God some honour.

    Jesus said Don’t you know that you will do greater things than these.
    Believers will lay hands on the sick and the will be healed.
    Jesus healed them all every where every time.
    He gave US the great commission not the physiologists and doctors.
    Jesus came to give us LIFE.
    And I also see some in here trying to straddle two covenants. We are NOT under the old covenant.
    Paul coincided it dung.

    There is no sickness passed on because of family. Because there is NO generational curses. None its finished.

    Get out and lay hands on the sick, thats what you are called to do.
    Go and sin no more Jesus said, how is that possible? Because He said it.
    Greater thing than He dome, because He said it.
    Stop making excuses for satan and hiding his works Christ came to destroy them through YOU.
    The fullness of the God head dwells in me and every other believer.
    These signs will follow the believer.

    Are these signs following you? If not somethings up. Wonder if its unbelief

    What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel… The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. (Ezekiel 18:1-4,18-20)

    And here is another 20 verses that are as plain to see as any thing.

    1. First Covenant, Second Covenant: Heb 8:7, 9:1-18, 10:1-9
    2. Old, New: Matt 26: 28, 2Cor 3, Heb 8:13
    3. Given by Moses, given by Jesus: John 1:17, Gal 3:19, Heb 9:15 Matt 26:28
    4. Law of Moses. Law of Christ: Acts 13:39, Gal 6:2
    5. Law of Sin and Law of Righteousness: Rom 7:7-25, Rom 8:1-4, Rom 9:31
    6. Law of the Flesh and Law of the Spirit: Rom7:5,6 Rom 8:1-4, Gal 5:16-26
    7. Not of faith, Law of faith??? Not too sure Gal 3:12, Rom 3:27
    8. Yoke of bondage and Law of Liberty: Gal 5:1, James 1:18-25
    9. Brought to an end by Christ, Established by Christ: 2Cor 3:14, Heb 10:9, Heb 8:6, 9:15, 2 Cor 3:6-18, Matt 26:28
    10. One brought death, other Life: 2Cor 3: 6-18, Rom 8:1-4, Gal 3:21, Heb 9:15, 10:1-18
    11. One makes guilty and other justifies and not guilty: Rom 3:19,20 Acts 13:39 Rom 3:21-31, 5:1-11
    12. One is the shadow of things to come and the other a reality: Col 2:14-17, Heb 10:1-18
    13. One is fulfilled or completed and the other is still in force: Matt 5:17,18; 2 Cor 3:6-18; Heb 10:9
    14. One demanded righteousness and the other gave righteousness: Luke 10:28, Rom 8: 1-4, Gal 3:1-29; 5:1-26
    15. One made nothing perfect and the other made perfect Heb 7:19
    16. One was glorious and the other was more glorious 2 Cor 3
    17. One powerless to save from sin and the other saves to the uttermost: Heb 7:11-28; 8:7-13; 10:1-18
    18. Had many sacrifices and other one sacrifice: Heb 9:9-14; 10:14; Rom 6: 6-13
    19. One had changeable priesthood and other does not : Heb 7:23-38; 4:14-16, Rom 8:34
    20. Remembers sin and other forgets sins: Heb 10:13; 8:12 

  35. There were a bunch of comments in the spam (17!). I don’t know why they were there. However, I have approved them all. The problem should be fixed.

    • Hi Michael I just wondered if it would help to have someone to chat to? Depression has been a feature of my life since I was about 10.

      I don’t really want to theorise about it or get into a morbid competition about suffering. Compassion means I see a fellow traveller that I might be able to be some support to. There are encouraging things I can tell you. Snapping out is a false friend but actually a lot of the things you are probably already doing are making a cumulative change

      I don’t think the practical and realistic mindset that you have (like mine) is unholy or dishonouring to God as has been suggested. It doesn’t mean we don’t believe in the power and victory of the cross. Name it and claim it and instant healings are not the only way God heals. I feel like my experience with God has been more like being on the operating table without the anaesthetic which means that I see the surgeon at work and see how good he is :) Our lives are all about seeking the face of God…more so even than being well

      Let me know if my email address doesn’t show up :)

  36. Michael, thank you for finding the problem with the spam folder. However, my numerous attempts to post comments were ALL put through. As you can see, this has resulted in repetitions of my posts. Maybe, if you can, delete the duplicate posts to make the comments list shorter and easier for readers to not have to wade through these. It’s just a suggestion and your site, so you can do what you want.
    I also want to thank you for posting your blogs and helping Christians to face and think about things which often are not brought into the open.
    Sadly, there are some comments here, which come from ideology where it is obvious that the writer has not had to face mental illness on a first-hand basis – much as Job’s friends. I have faced some of these mental illnesses in my own family – and I have seen God deliver in two cases, but not yet in two other cases.
    May God richly bless you as you labour as He has called you. You are in my prayers as you continue to deal with your situation with our Lord.

  37. Michael, I made another comment which appears not to have gotten through. Could you check the spam folder again?

  38. Davy, I don’t know if you’ve read my comments in reply to yours, as they were some which got sent to the spam folder as some of yours were.
    One thing I would add to what I’ve already said. In my study of God’s Word and walking with Him for over 50 years, there is one principle of interpreting the Bible, which the Holy Spirit taught me years ago. When you conclude something from the Word of God (theology), there is a test you can use to see if your conclusion is correct. It is simply to check through the rest of Scripture to see if there is something which contradicts or modifies your previous conclusions. God’s Word NEVER contradicts itself. If there is an apparent contradiction, then there is more Truth to be discovered, which you do not know yet.
    On that basis, how do you account for what God did with Job? How do you account for Paul’s thorn in the flesh? Or his mentored pastor, Timothy, having stomach ailments? There are other Scriptures I could present, which further appear to demonstrate that the theology you’ve presented in your comments needs to be balanced with other Scripture. Having not done this, your theology is at an extreme which God did not intend. I urge you not to take a “knee-jerk” reaction to this, but to make sure you read my previous replies to you (which now are out of the spam folder) – and to seek God’s face until HE gives you more insight into what you’ve written, and what I and others have written here.
    God bless.

  39. This is always a helpful focus because we Christians sometimes feel the need to always have an answer and too often it comes off as simplistic or reductionistic. This is especially disappointing when we realize that (of all people) we have an opportunity to avoid reduction because we take seriously all dimensions of existence and pervasive effects of the fall on each one. You might find interesting the conversation I offer on this subject (particularly to those in the field of Christian counseling). Check it out here – https://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/to-counselors/

  40. Wayne.

    First off if I am going to tell some one what they said or did I will quote them ypu said I glorified satan. and never actully quoted where i did that so I never read any further. I never even gave satan a capitol You did satan is under OUR feet. When you have an understaning of who you are in Christ you will know that. The weakest Christian is stronger than the strongest demon.
    satan is underour dominion. We take authority over all situations. Becuase of who dwells in us.
    You said a whole lot with little scripture representing what you ment. altough as I said I never read it all.
    But I will have a go at this shorter post you have.

    God gave Adam dominion.
    Adam bowed the knee and gave it to satan.
    Jesus took it back off satan.
    Jesus now has all authority in heaven and on the earth.
    We now opperate the kingdom with the fullness of the God head dwelling in us.

    “Davy, I don’t know if you’ve read my comments in reply to yours, as they were some which got sent to the spam folder as some of yours were.”

    “One thing I would add to what I’ve already said. In my study of God’s Word and walking with Him for over 50 years, there is one principle of interpreting the Bible, which the Holy Spirit taught me years ago. When you conclude something from the Word of God (theology), there is a test you can use to see if your conclusion is correct. It is simply to check through the rest of Scripture to see if there is something which contradicts or modifies your previous conclusions.”

    I would struggle with that statement because. There is only one scripture that tells us the man never got healed because of your lack of faith. There is no other to back that one up.
    Do you know of another?

    “God’s Word NEVER contradicts itself.”

    No but man does and 41000 denominations do contradict Gods word. And everyone thinks he is correct. I trust the word only. These signs will follow the believer. I know they follow me. My eyes have opened to so much more that I had for 21 years of nonsense really is what I now see it as. And I can see the same has been preached to you from misunderstanding preachers. Which I wwill adress now.

    ” If there is an apparent contradiction, then there is more Truth to be discovered, which you do not know yet.”

    You are missing what scripture actully says about who you are and whats in you NOW.
    There is nothing you dont know. You have the mind of Christ scripture says, now you either say yes thank you Lord though I dont understand that. Or you say well lets make that fit. That what theoligy does I really dont like the word. For me it acttuly spells Pharisee.

    “On that basis, how do you account for what God did with Job?”

    Did you read what it said? You are adding what the bible never said. Job had an integrity towards God. He never knew God. He never read a word about GOD IN HIS LIFE TIME. Job said fire fell from heaven. God never said it Job did. What you are doing is saying God struck him down or made a deal with him to allow him to do this deed. Job made an opening for satan to enter ( your words are life and death ) He sacrifised animals for all his children in case they offended God. What Job feared the most came upon Jobs children and him. Most preachers teach this lie about God. God never brought any of this on Job.

    “How do you account for Paul’s thorn in the flesh?”
    Well I know how you account for it so do most Christians again satan steal the word and has done so in the chuch for many years . And as I said plain to see whan you look at 41000 denominations, and none agree with another. Or there would be one less.

    So Pauls thorn. Theoligy has taken one verse and made a doctrine of it. NO where in scripture is thorns pricks EVER refered to as illness. But theoligy has turned it into what fits for them. It does not call it illness. Paul was stoned near to death and preached the next day. He was left for dead. You know what that looks like? How could he preach the next day after being stoned. Impossible for man. But Paul knows who he is and was being healed faster than would be normal. Christ got the 39 lasjhes that would kill most men, carried His cross. and with a loud voice cried out. They could beat Christ until today and He would not die. No one takes my life from me I give it up. We are to imitate Christ. You doing that ? In any way of you life? Paul knew what was in him. look at the list of things that never killed him Because he knew how to opperate in this Mind renewing. Everyone paul; prayed for got healed. They could kill John in boiling tar. This is so easy to understand. I have no education none. leart to spell most words in the last 10 years. 52 now. :)

    “Or his mentored pastor, Timothy, having stomach ailments?”

    So by this you are saying Paul could not heal Tim. Stomach problems come and go. sickness comes and goes. If it was a broken leg Paul would have healed it instanly. But He could break it again. So he was told take a little wine for your stomach.

    “There are other Scriptures I could present, which further appear to demonstrate that the theology you’ve presented in your comments needs to be balanced with other Scripture. Having not done this, your theology is at an extreme which God did not intend.”

    I know all the ones you will present, so please do.

    I urge you not to take a “knee-jerk” reaction to this, but to make sure you read my previous replies to you (which now are out of the spam folder) – and to seek God’s face until HE gives you more insight into what you’ve written, and what I and others have written here.
    God bless.

    So you are doing what all the other churches do. You are telling me I am wrong Go ask God to open my eyes.
    I will ask you to look at what I sad and see if its wrong. Not telling yo7u I am right and you are wrong. Just go look again.

  41. Ah yes, C Michael Patton, the ever and unending victim of a depression which is so special he is what is known as a “depression elitist”. You see Mr. Patton and his depression are old friends. It’s his excuse for his continued life of narcissistic self-pity that he couldn’t save his family frombtheir problems because, don’t you know, he’s that exceptional that it should have occurred.
    But worry not, he now gets not only a lifetime of self-pity but gets to tell you what to say and not to say. That is the elitist side of of his exceptional depression. By refusing to move on he gets to wallow and receive your patronizing sympathy because he is suffering and will always be a victim. Please understand his depression is unlike the average person’s, his is special and can never be resolved.

  42. These 7 things are part of a bigger picture: because we’ve created a skewed theology, we have to make excuses for God. A lot of things that people say in church (even from the pulpit) are excuses we have to make for a God we’ve created – not the God of the Bible. It stems, partially, from our habit of cherry-picking verses to prooftext our theology. But then the theology isn’t consistent with the Bible, so we end up making excuses for God because that’s the only way we can reconcile it.

  43. @Wayne I took a lot of time to reply to your post and I dont see it here.

    @ Stuart x2 You are exactly correct

    • Hi Davy, Yes, Michael seems to be having some trouble with some posts going into this site’s spam folder. I’ve not had trouble before with this site. Hopefully, the problem can be resolved soon.

  44. Davy: In your healings, have you ever seen an amputation healed, an autistic person healed, or an Alzheimer’s patient healed? I’ve not heard of those three “A” conditions healed. Would love to see it happen….

  45. Hi Davy:

    I was ministering for years to Jim in the convalescent hospital next to the church. He had a brain stem stroke. He could only communicate by pointing to letters on an alphabet board. They had to stop feeding him by mouth because he kept choking on food or getting it into his lungs. They eventually had to stop feeding him by mouth and put a feeding tube into his stomach.

    Another person visited him and said he could be healed if he just had enough faith. He felt really badly about not being able to work up enough faith.

    He is with the LORD now and all his suffering is over. But I’d like to know what you would have said to him when he didn’t get healed. How would you explain to him that he just didn’t have enough faith? What would you tell him that would make it possible for him to get enough faith? And then if he did what you said and didn’t get healed, whose fault would it be? His? Or yours because you couldn’t tell him how to get that much faith?

    May God bless you.

  46. “stuart February 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Davy: In your healings, have you ever seen an amputation healed, an autistic person healed, or an Alzheimer’s patient healed? I’ve not heard of those three “A” conditions healed. Would love to see it happen….”

    I never prayed for either of these condictions. I know a guy who saw many limbs grow two inches.
    Dan Mohler and Curry Blake. These are two manifest sons of God.

    Hey Ralph. No where in scripture does Jesus ask for someones faith. No where did Jesus say ahh nope not working you need more faith. That is a lie from the satan. Who comes to steal the truth/word. It is never on the person being healed. It is alway on the person who is laying hands on. I never saw everyone healed. So why 40 odd healed and 200 not healed. My lack. How do we know. Jesus said if you tell the mountian to move it will move if you have faith. SO the mountian which is sickness doesnt move, whats up? Did God fail? No. Did the mountian have a reason to not go. Yes. What? your lack of faith, which = unbelief. It is never the person being miniterd to never.
    John G Lake sent his guys out to lay hands on the sick. They had 30 days to get the job done or dont come back. They all came back. 240.000 recorded healings. Curry Blake now runs that ministry.
    The only scripture we have that says why it did not work. Is why couldnt we heal the boy? Becuase of you lack of faith Jesus said.
    Any thing you ask
    Just believe
    When two of you agree
    Bible is full of what can happen.

    We are full of now way can that happen, well I never saw. But I think. Well what about.
    How many times are we told just Believe. Our experiance never superseed scripture.
    We go on the fives senses. We are supposed to die. Problem is we are all very much alive.
    I dont know personally a single Christian who has layed down there life for Christ.
    I know many wonderfull gracefull Christians. I know many who misionires.
    I dont know any who layed down there life. We are all touchy. I actully got banned from 6 Christian forums because of the message I preach.
    And just last week. I went to hear a new group of guys preach. At the end he said any one wanting prayer come. So I went to recive prayer or a word. The guy never saw me in his life. Her said God sees how mauch this has cost you, I said inside myself. No Lord Compared to Jesus it cost me nothing. The guys said. Yes it did cost you. He did not know my thoughts. That was God. I recognised what happened instantly. Any way I recomend you all go look at these guys. Curry Gives the stright shooting facts on ghealing. Dan mohler is all Love.

    I would still like to see my reply to wayne come up. I find typing very hard work. I aint the office type.

  47. Thank you very much for replying to me, Davy.

    You said:

    “It is alway on the person who is laying hands on. I never saw everyone healed.”

    “The only scripture we have that says why it did not work. Is why couldnt we heal the boy? Becuase of you lack of faith Jesus said.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you are saying that only the person who is doing the healing needs to have the faith, never the person who is sick. And you are also saying that not everyone always has enough faith to heal everyone.

    Based on that understanding, here are some suggestions for you and anyone else who wants to have a healing ministry:

    1. Pray for people to get healed, but don’t tell them that they are going to get healed, or that a lot of other people were healed. That way they won’t be terribly disappointed like my friend Jim was. If you have enough faith, they will be healed. If they get healed, you can tell them afterward that you were praying for them.

    2. For those who get healed, ask them to get copies of their medical records (http://journal.ahima.org/2012/03/01/how-to-request-your-medical-records/), which show what health issues they had and how they don’t have them anymore. That way, they can provide undeniable evidence that they were healed.

    God bless you.

    • Ralph, these are some very wise words. I, too, know of people who were told they weren’t healed because they did not have enough faith. Such words can bring discouragement, depression, and even anger against God because healing did not occur. Sometimes, they even wind up turning away from Christ and Christianity.

  48. Yes only the person who is praying can get the job done if they believe what the are saying. If the sick person has faith also it can add to the situation. But how many people have you herad saying prayers this way? Heart in Jesus name, you work the way God intended amen. Most peopel say Dear Lord please heal this dear lovely persons heart, Please God show them mercy God of love.

    We can keep to our selves what our track record is that fine I can do that. But its actully easier to pray for unbelievers than believers. Because believers have all the theoglical bagage to deal with and all the misteaching they have gathered from all the different opinions they have heard.

    You are not told to pray for the sick but to lay hands on them tecnically. You can lay hands on from a distance. You need to get in the ring. And it is a war. and all your problems are in the unrenewed mind. Your spirirt is as right with God as Jesus is. Its the other two thirds that are the problem. Soul and flesh. The soul needs to line up with the spirit. The flesh needs to surrender to all and just die. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. In the spirit you know all things. Because you have the mind of Christ.
    You dont hide when laying on hands you go in like a lion in your mind. As I said your spirit is perfect and ready for everything, it already knows Gods will, as should the soul, but the flesh is weak.

    If you go to someone who you prayed for from distance and then go tell them I was praying for you, and thats why you got healed what they gonna say. Christian oh thanks. Unbeliver shut up. And now you ask the to gio get the proof for you to show others Hmmm. Cant see it.

    I never even asked any one to go get me the proof. What I do is I live in a little village. I tell who it is that is healed and say go ask him what he has to say. I am in the UK I am sure you can get mad records if you ask.

    People will either believe or not. No matter what you give them even if they seen it.
    One guy heart murmer since he was born. I prayed the prayer I mentiond already. He was healed first time. Came to me two weeks later and said he never had a murmer since. How often do you get them I said. he siad every two weeks. Any way doc say he aint got one now, His sister had a stomach problen. Whom I know and am trusted by. She would not let me pray for her. No idea why not. She was in a lot of pain. Nothing querer that folks.

  49. I appreciate your getting back to me so quickly, Davy.

    I am very hard of hearing. Please pray for my ears to be healed. If they do get healed I’ll go for another hearing test and put it and the previous hearing tests online. I’ll reply here and admit I was wrong and post a link to the tests in the reply.

    Thank you and God bless you.

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