Romans 12:15: states, “Rejoice with those who rejoice. "Weep with those who weep.” The church of Jesus Christ is in need of wounded healers. Like our Lord, who was a Man of Sorrows and well acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3), wept when He saw others weeping over His dead friend, Lazarus (John 11:28-35). We, too, must suffer trials of all kinds so that we can comfort others with the comfort we have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-8). Some Christians try to offer comfort to those who are in sorrow, but their comforts sound harsh, as Paul said; If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1,(NASB). They are simply incapable of saying, doing or showing true sympathy; much like an elephant trying to pick up a pin.
If you rejoice with those who weep, quote platitudes and sing them songs of victory you are in violation of the norm of Scripture. The writer of Proverbs said, "Like one who takes away a garment on cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart."(Proverbs 25:20).
I am from Michigan and the temperature in the winter can drop to twenty degrees below zero(Fahrenheit) in a hurry. You must dress for the weather. If someone took my heavy winter coat away from me and robbed me of my ear muffs, I would feel very violated and very distressed. So, please if I am sad, don't sing to me. If I am joyful, let us sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs together. If you don't know what to say then say nothing; just be there. (SB)
Charles Spurgeon on the subject of depression and the need for comforters said,
"I believe that there is such a thing as being so long in the light that you do not believe that others are in the dark. Or, if they are, you judge them to be weak and foolish and you are apt to scold them. Brother, you cannot scold the darkness into light! A little sympathy will do far more than what you are pleased to call faithful upbraiding. That word, “faithful,” sometimes means, “cruel.” None can doubt that some excellent children of God are often in gloom through bodily sickness and weakness. There are forms of sickness which bring no depression with them. You might suffer from them through life and never be saddened. But there are certain forms of disease which touch not only the bone and the flesh, but also the mind. The pain of the mind encroaches upon the spirit and the spirit is darkened with trouble. “Oh, but they ought not to be troubled.” Granted, but they are troubled, and I have noticed this—that your very strong men, yes, and your very strong ministers, too, who can say rather sharp things about the weak—and may be justified in saying them, yet, nevertheless, are not themselves beyond incurring the same rebukes! Great teachers may not make good sufferers. When the hot iron touches them, it is another thing from what it seemed to be. It sounds fine for them to say that we ought not to be cast down, but ask their wives what these strong men are like when their head aches or their heart is out of order!"
Here is another man of God with some great insight into the matter above. John Calvin in his commentary on Romans 12:15, says, “A general truth in the third place is laid down...that the faithful regarding each other with mutual affection, are to consider the condition of others as their own... He first specifies two particular things that they were to rejoice with the joyful, and to weep with the weeping. For such is the nature of true love, that one prefers to weep with his brother, rather than to look at a distance on his grief, and to live in pleasure or ease. What is meant then is...that we, as much as possible, ought to sympathize with one another and that whatever our lot may be; each should transfer to himself the feeling of another, whether of grief in adversity, or of joy in prosperity.
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I am a Christian who has struggled with depression off and on for decades. It seems to run in my family. Through my life I have read many books on depression and overcoming depression. Many of them are mentioned in "Broken Minds." I have bought into one theory of depression after another. I've tried over and over to get my act together and solve my depression but always ended up feeling like I was just going through the motions or whistling in the dark. For years now I have been moving towards the idea that my depression is not the result of something I am or am not doing but just how I am "wired".
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