March 17

Written by Bill Grandi on March 17th, 2022

One word. That’s all it takes is one word and watch the reactions. Eyes glaze over. An eyebrow will be raised.  A hand will go the chin. Or you might even get a sigh, an exhale of air, and a judgmental look.

The word? Depression.

Disclaimer: I have never suffered from depression. I’ve have some down days, as have had all people from time to time. But I’ve never been one who suffers from it days, weeks, months, or even years. My first real exposure to it was in 1974 right after I had graduated from college. I visited a woman named Jane (not her real name) Doe in a psych ward. I could not understand how this woman who laughed a lot and called herself a Christian could be there.

How little I knew. Time. Maturity. Almost 50 years in ministry has shown me Jane is not alone. Some deeply spiritual people have suffered from depression. Some I know. Even pastors! (Charles Spurgeon being one of them). Some have clinical depression (it is in their DNA). Some have seasonal depression (they head south for the winter). Some have it from a past event or action. Some from guilt and shame. Some have it worse, like bi-polar. Medication is often prescribed for depression and should not be seen as a testimony to a lack of faith or a failure in their walk with Christ.

David suffered from depression upon occasion. Please stop right now and read Psalms 42 and 43 and tell me he didn’t. I soon learned depression was no laughing matter and certainly not something upon which to judge another person. I don’t always understand and may not always understand, but I must always have an understanding heart, a soft shoulder and a spirit of empathy.

“Father, teach me to be more caring. Help me not to judge a person’s closeness to you by his mental state. You are the One who knows all. Help me to be more loving.”


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Jane is most certainly not alone… I have walked through that camp a time or two. Even pitched a tent for awhile. I think in some ways, the experience may have numbed me a bit. I understand it, I have been there, but I was able to escape. I need to learn to be more caring as well…Especially for those who have been unable to escape or find themselves simply skirting the perimeter and making frequent visits. I think the understanding heart, soft shoulder and spirit of empathy are key as you state… Not my strongest qualities, but qualities I need to work on to be more like Christ.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      We all have a need to have those qualities in person and not just talk. that is because we all need to be more like Christ. Thanks for your openness Ryan.

  2. We do need to be more understanding and sympathetic with those who experience depression or other forms of mental illness. My son has been diagnosed as bi-polar and takes medication to stabilize his mood swings. Having an illness like that doesn’t make one unlovable or any less of a Christian.
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I totally agree with you Martha. And that is one of the points I was trying to make. There are no second class Christians.

  3. Pam Williams says:

    We would never think of condemning someone spiritually for illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, etc. We recognize the need for treatment. But for so long mental illness was portrayed as something either untreatable or something that people should just “buck up” and get over. I am very thankful that we are beginning to realize how misguided those ideas really are.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Hi Pam! It is so good to hear from you again! I agree with you. It is about time the church talks about these things and de-stigmatizes them.