Our attitude is important as it is through our Christian brothers and sisters that we see God at work.
We have a responsibility to treat each other as precious people created in the image of God, people who are highly esteemed by our Creator.
Poor esteem is so common and particularly common to depression. We can help change this poor esteem by looking at a person through the ‘eyes’ of God. If we see someone this way, as having immense value, we will treat them accordingly. This will certainly help change a poor self-esteem. So often we judge a person according to their possessions but that is wrong, because possessions don’t determine a person’s value. Seeing every person as being dearly loved by God will change how you relate to that person. In the eyes of God the beggar on the street corner has as much worth as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company!
No matter what faith group you belong to we have a responsibility to affirm each others self-image as being a person of tremendous value. That will certainly help those in your spiritual family who are struggling with depression.
Believe what the Bible says about how much God loves you.
You are very precious to Him and you’re the apple of His eye. This is unconditional love, not determined by what you have done or not done.
The Bible also says that we are double-minded, we hear how much God loves us but behave as if all our negative thoughts are the truth. Our behavior always matches what we believe! Each time your self-talk tells you you’re worthless, respond by telling this inner voice that it’s a lie, you are highly loved by God. This will go a long way in slowing down the spiral into depression.
My personal experience I remember very clearly being in the pit of depression, feeling very sorry for myself. You know the feeling, head under the duvet, hoping the world will go away. All those negative predictable depressive thoughts were swirling through my mind. At that point, Scripture came into my mind of how we sin when we place our thoughts in higher regard than the Word of God.
Choosing to hang onto those thoughts was making me ill!
I felt such inner sadness and immediately said sorry to God because I realized what I was doing. Immediately there was a turnabout in my depression. I jumped out of bed with a new spring in my step.
Our self-image changes when we truly believe what God says about us. Behavior matches our self-esteem, so change what you believe about yourself and the behavior will follow on accordingly.
Defending our self-esteem. Often our negative reactions are an attempt to defend our self-esteem. As your identity becomes more and more grounded in Christ, the need to defend your self-esteem will decrease. Remember my Christian brothers and sisters, we are a new creation in Christ, the old has gone and the new has come.
We need to believe it when the Word of God, the Bible, says that all our needs are met in Christ Jesus. To believe in your security and significance in Christ, that is, that your needs are met in him, will enable you to deal with insecurities in your everyday life.
Helping our Christian Brothers & Sisters
- DO NOT make comments like: ‘You wouldn’t be depressed if you read your Bible more’, or ‘you’ve got too little faith’ or ‘Christians don’t suffer from depression’. Maybe that’s the biggest lie of all! Depression is part of living in this world. We need to accept and love each other without putting each other on a guilt trip. The person feels bad enough already, why make them feel even worse?
- DO NOT try to fix-up your friend. Resist that urge! If you haven’t been asked for advice, don’t give it! And don’t throw Scripture verses at your friend without being asked. By giving advice and solutions you might make yourself feel helpful but it really doesn’t help. So often we can’t wait for the opportunity to tell a depressed person what to do. This means that we’re really not listening at all. Don’t be afraid of silences, feeling the need to fill them up. ‘Silence is a gift of your presence’.Proverbs 17:13 says “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”
- DO tread carefully and try and walk in the other person’s shoes. Rather believe that God loves your friend far more than you are ever able to and that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth will guide the person into a fullness of life! Your role is to love them unconditionally. Keep in touch and take your friend out for coffee, for a fun outing.
- DO EMPATHIZE Empathy consists of using words that put a name to the feelings that are being expressed. A girl might express some anger or other emotion while telling you that her boyfriend broke up with her. Look to the feelings behind the words which is very often a fear of rejection. Rejection is our most common fear. It’s easy to talk about behavior, not so easy to talk about the emotion. When the emotion is heard we feel deeply heard, and we journey towards recovery. Don’t tell people not to feel in a certain way. Feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are and can be acknowledged.
- MIRACULOUS HEALING I personally have never seen a miraculous healing from depression or anxiety with no effort on the part of the affected person. I have however seen huge healing when the person learns to change the way they think, lining up their thoughts with the mind of Christ. That is when you will have the Peace that is promised by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Just love your friend, believing that God is at work in their life.
GOD IS LOVE.
God, our creator knows all about depression. After all God made us and knows everything about us! It doesn’t come as a surprise to God. We need to walk alongside those in our Spiritual Family who are battling with depression and show them the love.
Please look at my article on Spiritual Aspects for more input on Bible verses related to thoughts.