Individualism is the tendency for isolation (including detachment from the life-giving Word of Christ), and isolationism marks the one with depression. Here, a kind of individualism and preoccupation with the self is practically inevitable within the sufferer. However, individualism also strikes the Christian who reasons that engagement should be avoided. “It is just too much work to extend myself this way,” so the sinful flesh says, and in this way, we permit our individualism to join the bandwagon of the end-times sign: “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Depression and Distortion
Relativism is also an inherent problem with depression. Again, in the effort to desperately cope with the onslaught of something that is beyond the control of the one with depression, distorted perceptions become the norm. Inherently, therefore, depression produces a kind of relativism. But relativism also confronts the Christian who could engage with the Gospel. “Yes, God calls us to love our neighbor and to share the life-giving Gospel of Christ, but perhaps depression is somehow the exception to the rule. Maybe the chemical imbalance will render the Gospel ineffective, and maybe the loving thing to do is to honor the person who is trying to avoid overstimulation.” This is when the Christian gives in to relativism. We can never predict when the Holy Spirit will choose to work through the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation. We should not be the ones to limit His work. Stick with what is true, trust in God, and treat the person with depression as a real person for whom the real Savior came.
Depression, of course, is also a breeding ground for skepticism. Tremendous self-blame and shame fill the mind and soul of the person living with depression. In such a condition, it is easy to feel skeptical toward any potential help. This is to be expected. What is less excusable is when the Christian permits skepticism to cut off the life-giving Gospel. “Can people entrenched in depression really be receptive to the Gospel? Did God really say, ‘all nations’ [all people] should hear it?” When these thoughts come, the sinful flesh must be crucified, the world’s influence must be rejected, and Satan must be resisted so that he would flee from us (James 4:7).
Post adapted from Faith That Engages the Culture, copyright © 2021 Alfonso Espinosa. Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Learn how to engage with those suffering from depression, along with other important cultural and societal issues, in Faith that Engages the Culture.