Here are 2 case scenarios for you to think through. These are real people, genuine Christians who struggle with depression. They’re not people from Crossing Church. They’re people a friend of mine met up with to counsel. Consider in your small groups how you would seek to minister to them.
The first person is one where you could see one obvious reason for his depression. He had a series of jobs. All pretty high end jobs. Very well paid. And then he started his own business. He poured every last cent of the family’s entire life savings into this business. He knew there would be risk but felt that’s what they needed to do for the future. But the business failed and they lost everything. He tried a few years to make it work but failed. Eventually he got another job. But hasn’t gone well and there is danger of losing it.
This is a man whose reason for depression is simple: “No money, no life savings. I’m at the end of my road. I’ve failed. I try every morning to get up to make it work. But it’s not working. I failed in life. I failed my family.”
When he first came to see my friend, it wasn’t for the business failure. It was for sexual sin i.e. porn addiction. So there are certainly compounding factors. Part of his experience of depression is also his guilt of looking for comfort in my suffering in the wrong places of self-medicating and ways that are wrong and destructive.
How and where would you go with a person when the cause for depression seems so obvious?
There is a young man in his mid 20s. His parents migrated to US from China when he was young. He went to a prestigious university in US. He experienced what’s typical for an Asian American. Achieved the kind of things the parents hoped for him.Did pretty well academically. Top in class. Got a good job in the finance sector. Had a pretty good experience of Christian fellowship at college.
Left college and moved to Philadelphia to work. And his life was just bleak.In his sharing he says: ‘I feel disconnected with God. He feels distant to me. I feel isolated from friends after the move. Tried to engage in the new church but struggled to connect with people. I have a high-paying job and I work lots of hours. But what’s all these worth? I see numbers growing in these accounts I work for. Is this what I’ll do for the rest of my life. Is this what I got to show for myself.’
He wasn’t getting getting exercise, wasn’t having fun, wasn’t doing much on the weekend. He just stayed in his home.Every piece of his life just look grey: ‘Day after day. Year after year. Is this what I’ve to look forward to for the rest of my life? What’s the point in all this?’
He was suicidal when he first met my friend. Where would you go with this person?