Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Sinful Things to Say or Do to a Suffering Friend #8
"You should know better than that! You are a Minister and a Counselor. What is wrong with you?" This was the reply I received from a friend with whom I dared ask for prayer for my depression. I was not suicidal before that comment but after I was tempted to end it all!
It can be risky to share your weaknesses and failures with people. It is especially risky to share with those who have all the answers for the suffering. And, depression is suffering. My particular depressive episode was brought on by the loss of a job that was very important to me. Too important it turned out. My identity was so caught up in the position and ministry that losing it caused me to get depressed.
That was not, however, the only reason I was so down. The reactions of friends made the journey a lot more difficult. When I attempted to reach out to them and exposed my weaknesses and failures I was hurt. I often received uncaring jibes and callous put downs like the one above.
Deep down I knew that my depressive reaction was wrong. I did not need answers or lectures.I did need people to listen and let me discover what He wanted me to learn. Few people listened and gave me cheap, cliche ridden advice that I already knew. It hurt me, infuriated me and caused me to clam up. That is what sin usually leads to and that is what happened.
Since then I have written many books and monographs, developed several video teachings and taught classes on building healthy relationships.
Look up Sweeten Life on You Tube or Vimeo. Google them to find us.
I just got off the telephone with my friend from Moscow, Russia who has persevered since 1991 to develop a sister organization in the former USSR. Great things are happening there.Please pray for them as they fight against the spiritual forces of wickedness.