Handling Depression Biblically – Part 1 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 1 - Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.”Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Previously we covered how to handle anger in God honoring ways. You can click the link to read those posts.

Today we’ll begin talking about depression and how to handle it biblically. In future posts, we’ll also cover:

Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 1

 

No one is immune to feelings of depression. Pastors and many great men and women of God have struggled with depression and discouragement. So can housewives, executives, doctors, lawyers, salesmen, writers and Bible teachers.

For some it’s a mild feeling of sadness for others it can feel debilitating.

People in the Bible suffered from what many would call depression today, including Elijah, David, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Cain.

 

What Is Depression?

 

Before we talk more about depression, we need to define it. Most of us probably believe we know what it is, but we may find that there’s a wide range of definitions.

 

The Medical Definition

 

The medical world would define depression based on the DSM-5, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

According to the DSM-5 a person is depressed if, “Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure (excluding symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition).

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation.)
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Notice that the criteria are based on thinking and behavior, not changes in the body, and that the descriptions are subjective not objective.

According to Web MD,

There is no blood test, X-ray, or other laboratory test that can be used to diagnose major depression. However, your doctor may run blood tests to help detect any other medical problems that have symptoms similar to those of depression.

[Diagnosis is] based on self-described thinking and feelings and/or the observations of others.

I don’t note those facts to make light of the reality and intensity of the feelings, only so we can talk about depression in biblical terms.

Clinical depression means that a physician has used his clinical skills based on the complaints of the patient and his own observation.

The most common medical explanation for depression is chemical imbalance. Through the years different chemicals have been mentioned. The one considered the primary culprit has changed numerous times over the last 30 years or so. But while this is widely accepted, even medical journals say it’s a theory and not a fact.

According to Web MD some common triggers or causes of major depression include:  Continue reading

“The Trouble with America” June 4

 

The Trouble with AmericaWhat or who is really to blame for the trouble in America? Is it Democrats? Is it Republicans? Is it because of our stand on one issue or another? Is it our form of government? Is it taxes? Is it the rich or the poor? Or does the answer lie some place else? And what is our responsibility as Christians in today’s moral, spiritual, political climate?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 17 & 18
Psalm 69.29-36
Proverbs 17.27-28
John 13.21-38

 

The Trouble with America

 

1 Kings 17 & 18:

The Trouble with Israel

 

Solomon has died and the kingdom has been divided under his son, starting a procession of kings that would repeatedly lead to God’s judgment and, eventually, their captivity.

Today’s reading focuses on the northern part of the divided kingdom. You remember in chapter 16.30-33:

“… Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him … he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal … Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

Wow, what an indictment! Some of those other guys were pretty wicked, but God says Ahab was the worst!

And in chapter 17 God announced His judgment through the Prophet Elijah.

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17.1).

James 5.17 tells us that when Elijah prayed under God’s direction, it didn’t rain for three and a half years. But rather than looking to themselves, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, blamed Elijah.

When Elijah showed up, Ahab called him the “troubler of Israel.” Elijah answered in 18.18:

“I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.”

 

The Trouble with America

 

The Trouble with America

 

It made me think about what goes on in politics today in our nation. Everyone wants to say, “The trouble with America is this policy or that one. Everyone points the finger at someone or something else. The Democrats point to the Republicans; the Republicans to the Democrats; the poor to the rich, and on it goes.  Continue reading