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I Love You Even When I Don’t Like You

When my husband eats chips, you likely can hear it in the outback of Australia. We live in Nebraska. And I have that fun condition called misophonia. The sound of chip-chewing is my worst enemy.

Sharing the Gospel with Someone Battling Depression

This post is adapted from Faith That Engages the Culture by Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa

Sin, the world, and the devil throw many curve balls when it comes to trying to get a grip on a basic and right view about depression. Two basic problems arise:

  1. Depression is just fashionable, and it’s getting easier for people in the culture to isolate themselves anyway. For this reason, just live and let live. Here, the Christian is tempted to pretend nothing is really wrong and that there really isn’t a good time to engage people who are depressed. Here the Gospel is indefinitely put off.
  2. Depression is an ultimate scarlet letter and a frightening monster. The intricacies are so beyond us that one will feel instantaneously overwhelmed if engagement is permitted. The culture says, “Off limits!” and the demeanor of the depressed person says, “Stay away!” Here the Gospel is flippantly cut off.

These cultural inferences, however, are deceptions. There is nothing normal about the disorder of depression. While we should accept its reality and show compassion, we should resist the temptation to pretend that either nothing should be done, or that nothing can be done to help. Christ our Lord came for the sick, which includes all people. He did not hold back. He didn’t allow us to drown in sin, nor did He [stay at a safe distance from lepers].

Isolation Is Not the Answer

If you recall, we have been warning about the big three problems perpetuated in the culture: (1) individualism; (2) relativism; and (3) skepticism. We must be mindful that as Christians these things try to invade our minds and hearts toward those with depression. That is, these problems occur as a two-way street in relationship not only within people who are depressed, but also in the Christian suddenly tempted to avoid all engagement. 

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

Reach out and engage

The Foundation of Our Hope

Why the Book of Malachi for this time? Malachi offers a peek into the souls and moods of Israelite men and women. In fact, Malachi’s words are perfectly timed to provide encouragement at a time when God’s people doubted His love for them. The Israelites were centered on their lamentable plight and denied owning up to any displeasing conduct. Hope is a fitting finale to a very trying season in 2020. Many people are troubled, some dealing with loss and grief, and all of us could use a bit of hope. There is a better day coming. And that better day is not based on the outcome of the election, the return of income, or even better health.

How We Steward Our Bodies Helps Us Serve Christ and Others

Many people make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, either mentally or physically. Whether your goal is to eat more vegetables or to start going to therapy, the goal of your resolution is likely to be a better version of yourself.

Being healthy encompasses more than just having low cholesterol or reaching a certain number on the scale.

February 2021 Everyday Faith Calendar

There are plenty of times while raising a child that, as the parent, you have control over the choices being made. One area where this does not apply is the day that your child is old enough to drop their nap. As their body grows, your child naturally reaches a point where the only time he or she needs sleep is during the nighttime hours.

Longing for Community? Find It Here

This post is excerpted from Connected to Christ: Overcoming Isolation through Community by Brian Davies. Read below to see how you can find community in Christ’s Church.

Living a Life of Reconciliation

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4:1–2a)

We know fighting and quarreling all too well. In reading this passage from James, we recognize that conflict caused by sin isn’t a new problem. Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit brought quarreling and conflict into the human family and put humanity at conflict with all of creation. We can say confidently: Wherever two or more sinners are gathered, conflict will occur. So how are we to deal with conflict?

Our Callings through God’s Plan for Us

As a college senior, I feel an incredible amount of pressure to have my life figured out and to be living out what I was born to do. This is most likely the case for any college student or young adult who may be preparing to face the real world. Society leads us to believe that our lives must be perfect and full of purpose in order to have meaning. I blame social media for this, as that is the main platform people of my generation use to share their so-called perfect lives. Obsessing over what other people are doing in life leads to comparison, which can lead to believing that everyone else has their purpose in life figured out.

God Is Never Distant

The pastor steps up to the pulpit. He lays before him the outline of his sermon. There are some correction marks throughout the pages, but he is ready to preach. He lifts up his head, peers out into the sanctuary space, and notices a striking difference. This year, the pews are empty. His audience cannot be seen behind his smartphone as he broadcasts his sermon on social media. This year is different; from the pulpit, he feels alone.

January 2021 Everyday Faith Calendar

In our house, we have two little people, and they seem to be constantly going through growth spurts. Lately, my four-year-old has started using his growing as an opportunity to always have an “out” when he doesn’t want to do something. When it’s time to clean up toys or help with a small task, he likes to respond: “I am too tired to do that.” And sometimes he probably is actually tired, but we have started to talk through the difference between being tired and just not wanting to help out, even if they go hand in hand. When he declares he is too tired to do something, we have started asking him about the root of that statement. “Are you really too tired, or is helping your sister just something you don’t want to do right now?”

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