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The church is God's hospital. It has always been full of people on the mend. Jesus himself made a point of inviting the lame, the blind, and the possessed to be healed and to accompany him in his ministry, an invitation often spurned by those who ...

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Displaying 1–45 of 45 comments

Tim Childs

April 15, 2013  5:40pm

Calling depression a punishment for sin is naive, and what's to stop someone calling poverty or living in a ghetto or being in a serious accident, also a punishment for sin, or any other bad thing for that matter? You see the dangers when people don't have compassion for others, or at least make statements that in the final analysis do not hold water and are brutally judgemental? Aren't we Christians supposed to be caring and understanding? I try to be. Many really evil people seem to float through life untroubled by what they do or the many sins they commit, whereas often people who are already suffering in some way succumb to stress, depression, bi-polar or whatever. Please don't make rash statements about something you haven't experienced or by adding insult to injury!

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Rick Dalbey

April 12, 2013  7:16pm

Thanks Laura for shedding light. Clinical depression is a physical ailment treated by medication. Rick Warren's son had a supportive environment, loving parents, good Bible teaching, good financial care and friends. What he had was more than a bad mood, he had a shortage of neurotransmitters similar to a person with Parkinson's having an inability to produce dopamine. As with any chronic illness such as diabetes, there are usually good medical treatments that may continue for life for some. Jesus healed the sick, they weren't just counseled out of a psychosomatic mood disorder. I would urge the best medical care and I would also urge the laying on of hands as James 5 describes. Jesus still heals today.

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LAURA C STEEL

April 12, 2013  5:29pm

Such a fuss. When someone has a chronic treatable illness such as diabetes or glaucoma, they don't get bombarded with spiritual advice and hand-wringing over the state of the Church. Depression the illness needs to be separated from depression the mood. There are treatments for the illness. There are also various ways of dealing with the mood. I was diagnosed with the illness 20 years ago and have been successfully treated. I don't feel like being the poster child for troubles in the Church or society. It's an illness, not a metaphor.

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Rick Dalbey

April 10, 2013  1:24pm

Grady, then maybe you misunderstand me. I believe in medical science, it is a gift from God. It's possible for God to heal a broken bone in answer to prayer (actually happened to me at 13) but it's also possible for God to heal through an orthopedist setting the bone skillfully which has happened numerous times to me as well. In either case, Praise God. I am thankful God is healing you through medication. Praise the lord. However, don't use the defense that God did not heal Paul because first of all, Paul was not sick. Read the chapter and he tells you exactly what the thorn in the flesh that was buffeting his body was. Then consult your concordance for thorn in the flesh and you will find many examples listed in the old testament. The answer is quite simple and obvious. Secondly, if God doesn't want to heal you, then I would certainly get off your medication and stop thwarting His will (of course I believe God wants you well). Thirdly, don't declare the Bible can't be trusted.

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NORMAN STOLPE

April 10, 2013  1:01pm

For those who do not find clinical depression in Scripture (whether to discount someone else's struggle or seeking something they can relate to in their struggle), I suggest reading Psalm 88 which ends with "darkness is my closest friend" (v. 18 NIV). It is an eloquent expression of the experience of depression. We've got to stop blaming people with mental health issues. The discussion raised by this article is important.

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Grady Walton

April 10, 2013  12:32pm

Rick, perhaps I should have provided more details. Spanning decades, I have been prayed over more times than I can recall. Youu may sincerely think it helpful to suggest the solution is persistence and more faith. It is not helpful. In fact, it hurts because I know my faith is strong. Also, there have been some powerful men and women of faith who have prayed for me. I know the passages you cite in Scripture quite well. They just haven't always been my experience. I think we as Christians need to come to grips with the reality that life doesn't always work out the way we see it in Scripture. Sometimes questions go unanswered and sometimes the answer to prayer is no. Paul had a thorn in the flesh that God refused to remove. Fortunately, medicine has enabled me to manage my condition and remain productive.

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Tom Nash

April 10, 2013  3:28am

This article, written four years ago, is more relevant than ever. Not that I want to criticize the church (of which I belong), but we do seem to be as ill-equipped as ever at dealing with the problem of depression. Perhaps one solution would be for seminaries and Bible colleges to require pastoral trainees to seriously study psychological counseling, depression, mental illness, etc. I'd just like to mention the isolation that depressed people can experience. They can feel more stressed and alone in a church/group/social setting than when they are at home by themselves. So, a depressed person might appreciate an invitation to fellowship over coffee/tea/meal in a one-on-one setting. Group situations may be overwhelming. A listening ear is a good thing. And, yes, prayer is powerful. Though the battle never ends, I have experienced times of peace when claiming by faith the following verses: Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Romans 8:6 and Matthew 6:33-34.

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Rick Dalbey

April 09, 2013  7:10pm

Grady, by the same token, what are you supposed to do when a drug given for depression fails to cure it? Give up on modern medicine? Saying, they prayed for me once is like saying I tried medicine once. You try again with Wellbutrin instead of Zoloft. God is not an automatic system or methodology. You are dealing with a Person and He requires faith. The disciples asked, why could we not cure the man’s son? Jesus explained that they (the minister, not the son, the victim or father) had a shortage of faith. James says of those praying for healing “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The Bible encourages us to ask and keep on asking. We don’t give up on medicine and we don’t give up on God. Nor do we conclude, maybe God wants me to be sick...God wants me manic-depressive or schizophrenic. Ask, seek and knock. Plus, use common sense, God is the author of medicine as well.

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Grady Walton

April 09, 2013  3:30pm

What are you supposed to do when you have been prayed over while receiving the laying on of hands, but you do not receive healing from depression? For those who don't have this affliction it is tempting to suggest quick and simple fixes. Grace goes much further at helping those with depression. For example, some people think that going out and doing things with groups of people is the cure for episodes of depression. That doesn't work for everyone. In fact, it can make it worse. Grace, as in not pushing what works for you onto the depressed person, is like a healing wind in the mind.

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Rick Dalbey

April 08, 2013  1:56pm

Mark, I can't imagine anyone getting any more love and support from a church or family than Rick Warren's son. This is a misunderstanding about depression. Depression is related to a shortage of neurotransmitters and can be complicated by demonic oppression. It requires healing and deliverance, not just a more loving environment. Jesus healed by laying hands on the sick and commanding the illness or demon to go. Peter and John said silver and gold have we none but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. Paul laid hands on the sick for healing and Jesus said that these signs would follow them that believe. I am for healing by medical science but we do the gospel a grave disservice if we fail to lay hands on the sick and command healing. Read James 5, there is no time limit on when Jesus would stop healing, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

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Stephen Grcevich, MD

April 08, 2013  1:51pm

I'm a physician (child and adolescent psychiatry) involved with research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications given to kids and teens, including antidepressants. I'm also chairman of a ministry organization that offers free resources to churches so they may serve families of kids with disabilities. From where I sit, there are three concrete steps churches can take to help families affected by depression: Give those with depression permission to talk about it. Matthew Stanford notes "Society still places a stigma on mental illness, but Christians make it worse by “over-spiritualizing” depression and other disorders; dismissing them as a lack of faith or a sign of weakness." Consider offering faith-based support groups. Mental Health Grace Alliance has an excellent model for such groups. Provide them with tangible help. Excellent short term counseling. Assistance in accessing mental health care. Free respite care for parents struggling with depression

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mark Myers

April 08, 2013  12:54pm

Sure this is a good article...but it is just the article i would expect from someone in the authors position...it succinctly outlines the issue and problem and points to Christ as the answer...but frankly the article is very weak on how the local church can go about dealing with the problem. More to the point...there are lots of support groups out there and the local church needs to use them as resources...but I think the bigger issue is; "how does the local church educate and train its membership to actually and practically love each other?" We have new generations coming into the church with very little skill at loving each other...so it only seems right that those with depression would find little or no help in their local congregation. We have another epidemic that is running concurrently with the Depression epidemic and that is the Lack of Ability By Christians to Love One Another effectively. What will we do about that? We have to build that resource in order to minister.

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Rick Dalbey

April 08, 2013  12:33pm

My daughter was healed of manic depression when Charismatic/pentecostal Christians laid hands on her and prayed for her a little over a year ago. She was on heavy doses of antipsychotic medication as she had been for several years and saw a psychiatrist once or twice a month. It has been over a year now and she has had no relapse. A pastor friend suffered from depression for over 20 years and was always on medication. Again, people laid hands on him and prayed for him earlier this year and he was healed. In this case, a tormenting evil spirit was addressed and commanded to go. His wife and children are amazed. My friend is back! I believe in medical science, I understand a shortage of neurotransmitters causes emotional decline and I would encourage people to see a doctor. But see the great Physician as well and ask for prayer from some miracle believing saints who have a track record of success in healing and deliverance.

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Samuel Mahaffy

April 08, 2013  12:19pm

The instituted church must do some deep soul-searching as to how well equiped it is to provide support and help for young people suffering from depression. It must do even deeper soul-searching as to how it might contribute to depression by failing to openly accept and affirm the image of God in every young person, even when they are acting outside of the norms of our creeds and doctrines. Does the church accept young people --just as they are--with all their doubts and questions and confusions? Or does it replace unconditional love with moral judgement?

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Hale

March 14, 2009  12:57pm

Great article, thank-you! When someone (Christian or Non-Christian) sees depression in another person or in themselves I think they rarely look first to their church or Pastor for the answer. If Pastors are looking for a conference that deals specifically with this issue they should think about the Redeemer Conference for Pastors on May 4-5 in Minnesota feature Ed Welch and RW Glenn. For more information visit our blog site at www.redeemerconference.com , our church site at www.redeemerbiblechurch.com or our media ministry at www.solidfoodmedia.com . Blessings, Hale Jay, Redeemer Bible Church

Rev. Shirley

March 13, 2009  11:12am

My vocation as a Congregational Health Chaplain is to develop faith-based health support groups in congregations; to support and educate those with similar health challenges, whether Diabetes or Depression. While most churches continue to avoid the subject and depression is still a stigma in ethnic communities, many churches in our faith-health network has managed to organize depression support groups to embrace those battling deprssion and educate and support their families. One has to persist in 'creating the culture' in the church and community to help those with any chronic illness.

Mario

March 11, 2009  12:31pm

Good Article. I myself have begun to suffer from severe depression since entering this new year. This seemed to me like a timely article. Maybe there are many many other Christians out there right now who are going through the same thing. God Bless You All -Mario

S

March 10, 2009  11:17pm

This is a very insightful article, thank you. However my comment is addressed to Ted. To suggest, as he does, that depression is "mainly the result of sin" is at best misguided and naive, at worse dangerous and false. I am a Christian who has suffered with depression for most of my life. Am I a sinner? Yes. Is everyone who is depressed a sinner? Yes. Is every human a sinner? Yes. This begs the question, why isn't everyone depressed? Or, why do many godly Christians suffer from depression? Why do objectively evil people often live free of any pangs of conscience? The entire book of Job debunks the theory that personal suffering is always the result of personal sin. Depression is the result of "sin" in the sense that in a fallen and Satan-ruled world, people suffer ill results. I'd venture to guarantee that anyone suggesting that depression is the consequence of sin in one's life has never suffered from depression. It's a simplistic answer that insults the sufferer and ignores reality.

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NS

March 09, 2009  3:16pm

This article took a fairly balanced approach to depression in considering both biological and larger social influences, a focus often missing from Christians. The two or three posts above, however, that claim that depression is punishment/evidence of sin, are opinions sprung from utter ignorance on the subject, and which are easily disputed with a little reasoning. No person is without sin in their lives, including Christians, and where does it say in the Bible that Christians are punished in this lifetime for a sin they committed? Furthermore, if depression is demonic possession, how then is it possible for it to be alleviated through medication? Depression is an effect of the Fall, no doubt, but so is every medical ailment. I don't know what church you attend, but if it teaches that hard times of any kind are direct punishment for previous actions, or indicative of the absence of the Holy Spirit, you need to find a new church that teaches a proper view of grace.

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Stan

March 09, 2009  11:43am

To Nancy, Consider working with both a counsellor and physician in deciding whether to go off your medication. God has put some wise friends and health care workers in my life. I have been off and on under supervision and currently I need to stay on. God is in my life through the spirit, friends, health care workers and the medication. You may be closer to God with or without medication; just make sure you are under counsel and that you are not trying to rid yourself of medication because of pride.

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Christina

March 08, 2009  9:58pm

As a Christian counselor I can appreciate this article as well as all the comments written by those who read it. I believe all of the people who made comments have brought some truth to help all of us as the body of Christ to heal through sharing and to try to better understand this issue as we try to "carry eachothers burdens". I believe that all healing can only come through our Lord Jesus Christ and we are to be his hands and feet and those who are called to be counselors are only the instruments to be the voice of the Holy Spirit. But we must remember that God gave us the gift of science- science and God should work together. It is when we choose to separate the two that we skew the truth of the knowledge of science and we become God, thinking we have all the answers; hence we have counselors who mislead many into thinking psychology, medication etc... is the answer. Sin and suffering are very real and the further we fall away from God the more we will suffer... faith heals!!

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Ted

March 08, 2009  8:09pm

This article is depressing! Seriously, the reason so many people are depressed is mainly due to sin. Most people I have encountered who suffer from depression need to confess their sinfulnees before the Lord. Only the great physician can heal the wounds today that need healing - all too often many so called Christians seek therapy and counseling and simply really need healing from Jesus Christ. Calling all Catholics - if you haven't been to confession in years chances are you are in a state of mortal sin and don't even know how badly blinded you are to the sin in your own life. It is time to return to the great sacrament of confession. Go to the priest and he will be very kind and gentle - Give Jesus Christ a chance to heal you so you will be able to throw away those prescriptions. God Bless.

Healed by Christ

March 08, 2009  3:13pm

I suffered from major clinical depression and was hospitalized for several months due to the devastating effects this real illness had on me and I can speak from my standpoint and that is that I KNOW FOR A FACT that God loved me to wellness and it was a deacon from my (Catholic) Church who came to see me (and other Catholics in the hospital who desired the Eucharist and a friend who would listen) who reminded me that Jesus loved me, regardless of how worthless, guilty, alone (my family didn't care at all about me), or in pain I was emotionally. God loved me the way I was. The Depression left me and I regained my life! That was after suffering three solid years of MAJOR debilitating depression that left me despondent and literally mentally ill in the worst way. So I refuse to hear "therapists" dismiss God and His healing ability while they use their tiresome psychobabble that never works and just keeps a patient in the perpetual "client" mode, dependent and hopeless. God heals.

Kathleen

March 08, 2009  2:58pm

For Heather: It is about loving and obeying Jesus (1Sa 16:14,15) The LORD's spirit left Saul, and an evil spirit sent by the LORD tormented him. His servants said to him, "We know that an evil spirit sent by God is tormenting you. (1Sa 16:23) From then on, whenever the evil spirit sent by God came on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. The evil spirit would leave, and Saul would feel better and be all right again. (Mat 4:24) The news about him spread through the whole country of Syria, so that people brought to him all those who were sick, suffering from all kinds of diseases and disorders: people with demons, and epileptics, and paralytics---and Jesus healed them all. (Mat 10:1) Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness. (Luk 6:18) they had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those who were troubled by evil spirits also came and were healed

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Craig

March 07, 2009  10:04pm

While working as an intake counselor in the largest crisis psychiatric/addiction unit in a major city, I diagnosed and treated hundreds of cases of depression. I'm also a former evangelical minister and professing Christian of 20 years. In identifying/diagnosing depression, professionals look at data related to family history, current life patterns, social support (including spiritual), thought processes, presenting mood and affect, major life stressors, health and substance abuse history, and recent life changes. Genetic make-up and social environment both contribute highly. Can the church be part of that solution? Of course. The church can support those who are depressed and help them get help. As individuals, we can represent Christ as the good doctors, counselors, ministers, friends that depressed people need and support responsible medical help that saves those who truly need it. In the meantime, I wonder if the church would do better by focusing on doing church better.

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heather

March 07, 2009  8:03pm

Hi, I am sorry, but I think if is pure VANITY that the Church thinks it can HEAL every problem that a believer or non-believer has. We don't try and mend broken arms, or cure diabtes - why do we think we can heal Depression? That is why God gave people the ability and knowledge to be Doctors - it may be "secular" but they can only do what they do because God has given them the gifts. And I reject the comment by one person that depression etc are spirits or demons. Sorry but there is no biblical basis for believing that. Sure, some people are healed, but they are in the minority.

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Gary H

March 07, 2009  6:27pm

As a pastoral counselor we treat many people who are experiencing depression. I even experienced this battle of depression myself. I have found complete healing and victory without the use of drugs. Jesus was indeed sufficient. What I find dumbfounding about this Christian article is that it completely leaves out the realm and role of the Holy Spirit and the demonic in the lives of people. It presents a purely secular worldview. We have discovered incredible success overcoming depression by dealing with the reality of the demonic and their exploitation of sin, brokenness and woundedness in the lives of wounded people. In fact there are demons with functional names like depression, hopelessness, despair, suicide, hatred, anger and isolation, amongst others. They feed on such conditions of the afflicted and make matters worse. Through inner healing and deliverance we have seen literally hundreds set free from depression. Read "Deep Wounds Deep Healing"by Charles Kraft to see how.

Chantél F.

March 07, 2009  5:27pm

Nancy, I will keep you in my prayers:) "By His stripes you are healed." I feel that this article was very well addressed and made points that most overlook, that as Christians we also get depressed and sometimes feel ashamed of this and desire to earnestly seek help that is not medication. One point that I wish to bring up that I feel is left out of pulpits across the nation is that we do have an enemy! Some pastors want to tickle our ears with what we want to hear, but the reality is we need to be fed the truth and not the "sweets" that we desire. That doesn't mean that depression is our fault, but Jesus knew from the beginning of time that he would die for our sins and for us. He showed human emotion because He was the God/man. He wasn't displaying the emotions that He did at the last supper and in the garden, until the devil started whispering in His ear. Our enemy roams like a lion to destroy us. We fight not by might or power, but by the Spirit of God with God's Word and truth. :)

susan

March 07, 2009  12:09pm

In the midst of my darkness and depression, I have found I am closer to God than ever. I learn to accept myself and others more than when I am not "down". In the year after divorce, I took an antidepressant but the wise Dr. said that you must DO the things that also help, by continuing to be active at the church, go out once a week with others, exercise, and DO missions work...even if it is intercessory prayer or joining a more intimate group to share with. Pills alone may work for some people, but I will not let that be the way for me to "feel" better. I also look at Jesus' life, and his sweating drops of blood in prayer to the Father, and his anger over what sin and death has done (in the time of the raising of Lazarus). We live in a world that is devastating but we have to realize WHO we are and that we are to live lives of service and sacrifice as Jesus came and lived. We are to continue to live His life, the Life is His and we have Him in us. Change expectations and embrace.

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Dr. Gary Sweeten

March 07, 2009  9:06am

Good article but will not do much to stop the rising tide of mood disorders. Frankly, most Pastors are not at all interested in helping members with any sort of problem, including depression and anxiety. Pastors are trained to talk not act. Preach not practice. Advise not listen and connect. Many churches have become as artificial and bureaucratic as a clinic where pills are distributed. I have trained Lay Helpers for thirty years and the number of Pastors interested in having a growth/ healing church today are fewer than in the Seventies. To be missional we must be helpful, caring and healing. So few churches are any of that and talking about being missional will not channge it. I have a counseling clinic and we pray fervently for healing churches. They are few and far between.

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Nancy

March 07, 2009  8:11am

The use of antidepressants have worked the same way on me as they have worked on Joel Scandrett. However; I believe I have become antidepressant dependant and am afraid to come off of them. I can't seem to let God into my life even though I want Him there. I do blame the pills. HELP

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Pauline

March 07, 2009  4:38am

King David fell into a pit because he had sinned against God. "When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin,when it is full-grown,gives birth to death"(James 1:15) If you take king David as an example, this implies that sinning causes depression.,which is true,but very hard to accept for those -and many of them are churchgoers!- who believe that sin brings life! Christ came for those who are sick, but some just don't want to leave the large road that leads into perdition.

Chaplain Leo Mora, U. S. Army

March 07, 2009  4:37am

An excellent start on an issue the Church has long misunderstood, primarily because we naively believe this is an issue best dealt with outside of our respective callings. Yet, this is an issue folks bring with them to our churches and chapels. The truncated nature of the article concerns me in that the message conveyed may leave church leaders to incorrectly reaffirm that Biblical sermons and prayer are alternative panaceas only. (Whatever happened to the notion that all truth is God's truth?) As Dr. Blazer has asserted, human make up is much more complex than many of the simplistic approches we as Christian leaders tend to prescribe for our congregants. It's time the Church understand this problem in more depth and understanding on what David, Paul, or even Jesus, who experienced anguish (despair) in Gethsamane (Luke 22:44). The Church needs Christ-centered pastoral counselors who understand and integrate approaches to the mysteries of spirit and soul (1st Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12).

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Claire

March 07, 2009  1:29am

I could have been depressed because I too first considered whether I wanted to read six pages, but when I saw Skips remark, it totally broke me up. I had a good laugh and forgot for a while, how sad that some folks suffer from depression. So often there is some kind of imbalance, and people don't think this should happen because they are Christian, and the trick sometimes is to just keep looking for something outside ourselves to help. Sometimes just weeping for the plight of someone else can suddenly give us a thankful heart and our spirits rise, not that I'm trivializing the problem as we recently had a family member make an unreversable decision, that broke all our hearts and I'm sure that was the last thing he wanted..None of us knew why? I say keep searching there is a good answer. Whatsoever things are of good report.....etc.

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Jim

March 06, 2009  9:08pm

I am a Christian who has had several bouts with depression and has been on antidepressant medication for 15 years and fully expect to remain so for the rest of my life. My breakdown occurred 15 years ago and, looking back while in therapy, I realized it had been coming for some time. I just didn't understand what was happening within me along the way. I believe many of us, including myself, have the seeds of depression within our genetics and they are waiting to spring into full bloom when enough adverse events come together either singly or in a pile-up over time. It wasn't one single event that drove me over the edge, rather it was a lifetime of events triggered by one seemingly innocuous event. Then came the long climb out. Could all of this have been prevented? I still don't know.

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HveHope

March 06, 2009  8:31pm

I was researching 'suffering' and came across the "Suffering Christians Blog." (address: http://sufferingchristians.blogspot.com/ ). The site's author writes: "This blog is intended for born again Christians who are suffering from chronic illnesses or conditions, temporary circumstances or those who are interested in the subject of suffering in general. Most posts will be somewhat short in length, many containing quotes from Scripture, Bible based books and devotionals and occasionally a personal writing. I hope people will find comfort and encouragement here. My 'favorite' blog to date, however, is "I Trust When Dark My Road': toddpeperkorn@mac.com

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Dr. James Willingham

March 06, 2009  7:49pm

This is a worthwhile article. Depression on the part of individuals and society as a whole will become an unbearable problem, if the economic situation continues to worsen. One of the really big problems facing our nation is the lack of jobs. In 1990-91 I wrote an evaluation of some materials for a county Vocational Director concerning the future and jobs. At that time I concluded that there would be no jobs in the future for our children due to automation, computerization, and robotics. At that time one fast food establishment automated a 24 hr-7 day a week operation in NY which employed 400 people. They cut their work force from 400 to 20 Only two of the 20 made good money. 18 were clean-up crew. More could be said, but just look at the auto assembly lines. When they show the lines where robotic arm do the work, there is not a single living human in the picture while the arms are going full speed. If automation, computerization, robotics increase, humans will not be needed.

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heather

March 06, 2009  7:24pm

I have had depression on and off for many years. I was angry with God that he didn't help me deal with it, or if he did, it just came back. It was only when I went to the secular world that I could receive real help that made any difference. IE drugs, counselling, therapy - I went on a week long spiritual (not Christian) retreat that rid me of the last of my depression. I was still mad at God that I had to go to the "world" when He told me He was my healer. I do not think the Church is capable of dealing with depression quite frankly - anymore than it could deal with a broken arm or diabetes: it is unrealistic to think Church people can help with something as soul destroying as depression. Sure, some people do have miraculous stories of being healed, but they are in the minority. The Church as a body can love people, accept them, listen, but they cannot heal depression.

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Scott

March 06, 2009  6:28pm

Good article, thanks. I often tell my friends the world needs missionaries that are pastors but it needs people trained in counseling more, especially today. Homes are falling apart, kids are being raised in families with big problems. We know that. What are we going to do about it. My home church has two pastors with psychology degrees. That's a step in the right direction. I wish you hadn't used the word nuanced - it's overused and when it is used, it's usually by people on the left. The left is the most un-nuanced group of people, look at the universities and the pressure to conform. The non-conformists of the 60's are now in charge and their rule has brought about less freedom to express an opinion.

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Jeanette

March 06, 2009  5:59pm

The writer really does not know what depression feels like emotionally or spiritually. In my own experience with decades of depression, and that of relatives and friends, I'd say that depression is largely due to INTERPERSONAL experience. Feeling abused and worthless begins with what your parents tell you about yourself, and many parents who go thru the motions at church on Sundays have no clue that your earthly parents are to be the first reflection of The loving Heavenly Father that we have. Deeply hidden, infested, hemorrhaging wounds of verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse BY OTHERS is at the core of many people's depression. And then there's nothing worse than grinning goody-two-shoes at church sugar-coating a victim's situation with platitudes. I was finally blessed to find counseling with a skilled Christian therapist (PhD psychologist) who told me early on, "All our problems are spiritual problems. Your Heavenly Father loves you and Jesus will absorb this pain." He has.

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Matt

March 06, 2009  5:59pm

My wife and I have a ministry to addicts and former addicts at our church. Depression is something we often see and deal with, however the church as a whole does not usually treat "depressed" people. Although the Word gives many promises and encouragements, depression is still a rampant problem in the church, because it's rampant in our society. What saddens me most is that many churches don't know how to or choose not to deal with it because "Christian's aren't supposed to be depressed".While I agree with Ruth's comment above I have to say that just a sermon on it isn't enough. What is needed is getting to the root of the problem, which is going to take intensive group or one on one counseling. Christian Counseling outside of the church is growing and very effective. I would like to see more dedicated christian counselors on staff at churchs. People who have been trained in the methods, not just pastors, because many pastors just aren't good counselors.

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Basil

March 06, 2009  5:28pm

Sadly when I struggled with depression in my twenties the church had no idea what to do. Once it was found out that I was hospitalized as a result of a suicide attempt alienation was inevitable. One of the ways that many churches deal with this issue is to avoid it as much as possible and to marginalize the depressed. Education is important and much of the church is sorely wanting in this area.

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Ruth

March 06, 2009  5:28pm

This is one of the best written and detailed articles on the subject. Every real pastor should read and then respond with exciting sermons on a formula as given by God for change of the tormented soul.

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Peter

March 06, 2009  4:08pm

This is one of the very reasons why I find Ecclesiastes so wonderfully pastoral.

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Skip

March 06, 2009  3:58pm

When I saw that this article was six pages long it depressed me.

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