Evil has completely saturated the world of human beings. We are being drenched with a thousand variations of sin and rebellion. In olden times, an enemy would surround a city, and essentially let the inhabitants starve until they would surrender. I wonder at times, if this tactic is not working in us today, on some kind of level.
Clinical depression takes on many forms. It is very much like being surrounded and being brought to our knees. For those of us who go through this mental meat grinder, we find it can completely destroy us. When depression assaults us; it leaves us mute and deaf to God’s love and amazing grace.
There seems to be three distinct varieties of depression.
I’ve thought about this for some time now, and I’m coming to the point where I want to share.
1) There is a depression that comes from guilt.
There’s a corrosive place that eats us up, it’s where we sin, and continue to sin. We fully understand our guilt and our sin. Sin, will always will stain us. Banks will often place “dye packets” into stacks of money. A robber grabs the money, only to find that something explodes on him. He then, is marked indelibly. There isn’t anything he can do; he has been stained. The following verses explain this dynamic.
“When I kept things to myself,
I felt weak deep inside me.
I moaned all day long.
4 Day and night you punished me.
My strength was gone as in the summer heat.
5 Then I confessed my sins to you
and didn’t hide my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my sins to the Lord,”
and you forgave my guilt. “
Psalm 32, NCV
2) There is a depression that is organic.
It simply resides in us as if it were eye color, or a talent to play music. This type of depression is hard wired in us. It is just a natural inclination, or propensity toward melancholy. We typically gravitate toward a negative outlook. We are not ‘a cheery lot.’ The glass is always half empty, and that is our certain perspective.
Some have diabetes, and others are deaf. We have been saddled with certain issues. We did nothing to warrant such challenges. They are just the part and parcel of the human condition. We need to see our depression as sort of diabetes of the emotional world. Very often we will need to take meds to restore our sense of balance and wholeness. Sometimes all we need is to rest, as fatigue can become a serious issue.
3) There is a depression that is reactionary.
We find ourselves responding to trials and difficulties, and they just overwhelm us. Persecution and attacks slam into us, and our reaction is to hide, or shut down. Paul had to endure major attacks. This ‘depression’ is found in situations and issues. It can come about by Satan or ungodly authorities.
We will respond to the death of someone close, loss of a job, bankruptcy or whatever–you can fill in the blank:_________________________. But we must remember, if there is a way in, there must be a way out. If we can only put some trust in God, we can believe he will lead us out. Eccl. 3:1-8 describes “seasons” that every person goes through. Perhaps, this is just a time?
“So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.17 We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Cor. 4:16, 18, NCV
As we look at ourselves, we can determine which of the three kinds of depression that we’re facing. It seems we can have all three working in our lives. But it’s very helpful to find our particular variety, or our certain inclination. Seldom will we identify with just one ‘type’, as all three can be working at once. Understanding the three will hopefully give us a definite advantage.
We can ask ourselves: Is this depression coming from sin or guilt? Is this something organic or ‘hardwired’ in me? Could it be that I’m reacting to the evil that is coming at me so fast? Distinguishing between these three can be very useful, and direct us as we build our discipleship.