Summary: A sermon dealing with the topic of Depression from a Biblical standpoint: Depression is a God-given emoiton in response to certain conditions, experienced by Godly people throughout history.
Straight Talk About Real Life
Straight Talk About Depression
[45 second clip of I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrandts.]
Most of us are familiar with this song – it’s the theme from the television show Friends. But have you ever caught the lyrics to the song? They read, in part:
So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
You know, some of us can relate to that first verse a little more than others. We all have bad days, but for some of us those bad days have stretched into bad weeks, months or even years.
We find ourselves talking like Eeyore, and saying things like, “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” We have a pessimistic, browbeaten, downcast view of life. We suddenly find that we can’t sleep, we’ve lost (or gained) weight, some days we just don’t want to get out of bed. If you can relate to what I’m talking about, then you might just be depressed.
Some of you bristle when I say that. There’s a part of you that simply does not want to, or is not willing to admit to depression in your life. Many Christians deny that it’s possible for them or any believer. Some even look at depression as a sin. You may even find yourself saying something like, “I’m a Christian, and Christians can’t be depressed.”
You might be surprised. God’s people have a long and distinguished history of going through times of deep depression, and today we’re going to get some straight talk about depression right from the Great Physician Himself!
First and foremost, let’s define depression. Just what is it?
Here’s my definition, and it might surprise you. “Depression is an appropriate, God-given emotion in response to certain stimulus.”
Depression is an appropriate, God-given emotion in response to certain stimulus. It affects millions of people. One report I read said that 1 out of 7 people will seek professional help for depression – and those are just the ones who are willing to admit they need help! Millions more stay home and deny their condition – and are robbed of happiness for weeks, months or even years. It is estimated that depression costs American business 4-6 BILLION dollars per year in reduced productivity, absenteeism, and related illnesses.
Depression is a specific alteration of a person’s mood in a downward direction. It is often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, overwhelmed by circumstances, withdrawal and isolation. People suffering from depression are often prone to lethargy, extreme tiredness, overeating or sudden weight loss, worry, loss of sex drive, uncontrolled or inappropriate episodes of crying, and withdrawal from social activities, friends and family.
Men are 7-8 times more likely to suffer from depression than women. Most women have someone to talk things out with – and their depression usually stems form the loss of a loved one. Men, however usually suffer from depression due to some social humiliation. They feel like a failure, they view themselves as a loser. They no longer feel like a man in a world of men. Instead of taking care of others, they need to be taken care of. Instead of providing, they feel like then are being provided for. It attacks their pride, it attacks their manhood, and they respond in depression.
Depression is often associated with sadness, but it goes much further. Depression is more intense, it lasts longer and, most telling, it interferes with our ability to function. We all have times of sadness, but depression gets in the way of normal life activities.
OK, so we know what it is, but how can I claim that it is God-given? That just goes against what so many want us to believe.
I believe that depression is akin to pain – in fact, it is in some ways very similar. Pain is unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it is necessary for life. A person who felt no pain would soon die from the affects of that loss. They would break bones without knowledge, get inflammations like appendicitis and not be aware of it until it burst, caused in infection and death. They would never learn to not touch a hot stove, and repeatedly burn themselves and damage themselves. Pain is unpleasant, but necessary – it warns us of bad behavior, and dangerous circumstances.
When we see the indicators of depression, the loss of perspective, when everything looks terrible, diet changes, sleep changes, gloominess, tiredness, isolation – when those indicators appear, we need to look at it like we look at pain. “What is causing this?” “Is this an indicator of something I need to correct?”